What I will do for a coffee mug

It is on again. This will be my seventh Cap2K Open Water Swim Race since my first in 2012 (one of the mugs is missing in this pic because it was full of coffee, in my hand, as I took the picture). I did it the first time, if I recall correctly, because I had learned there was a distinct possibility that I had something wrong with my prostate (I didn’t), and somehow, as I was researching the issues, I came across this race here in town, and it all made perfect sense: “I have blood shooting out my ass; I should enter this race.” You need to know me to understand.

That is why I began, but that is not why I continued. Swimming can be very solitary, but within a week of training seriously I realized that it was worth doing because of the people I meet. I have met wonderful people, extraordinary people, and despite the weeks of getting up in the dark, and swimming in the cold, and shoulders hurting so much I was afraid to go to sleep because I would move them in my sleep, I am back for number seven. I am back for these people.

This will be my first year swimming in 60-64 year old category! This is a wonderful thing about age-group racing: you just have to live long enough, and eventually there is no competition. I didn’t even place last year in the 55-59 group, but the same course time in the 60+ group would pretty much have put me in first place. I don’t know why that matters. Again, you would have to know me, to understand why I do not know why that matters.

It is on. I swim a lot. But everything depends on those first 200 yards or so, that group-start out there in the middle of the river, surrounded by dozens of flailing arms and legs in that brown, cold water. If you get through that–if you are able to breath, and find a rhythm, find your stroke–you will make the rest. So tomorrow I am up in the dark and out in the freezing water at Barton Springs the remind my brain of what it must do so that my body can do this one more time.

There is so little time to know people, out there in the middle of the river. You just have to get through the hard part.

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