Swim-Life Balance

Swim at your own risk

The sky is gray, overcast, and waiting any minute to downpour. It’s 6:45 am and I can’t sleep anymore. Returning from Japan has been a tough transition to reality. One of my last long vacations I can expect before the English Channel next year. Being out of the water for two weeks, while refreshing, makes acclimating back to the cold water feel like pins and needles.

I leave for more travel this week — marking the beginning of a crazy academic schedule of west to east coast conferences spread out until October. My training calendar stares me in the face — blank days feel like gaping holes in the wall. How do I maintain my training while traveling? I wish swimming was as easy as grabbing a pair of sneakers and leaving the hotel lobby door. Swimming during travel requires checking: 1) if the hotel has a pool, 2) if said pool is 25-yards or longer, and 3) if not, scouring to find a lap pool within walking distance (and praying that it’s not too hot).

In my auto-pilot drive across the Bay Bridge to Aquatic Park, I reflected on how much of Channel training is spent by myself. And rightfully so, many have instructed to get used to fighting through the mental boredom in your journey towards 21-miles. I also thought about how training is balanced with my life in general (career and personal life — relationships with family, friends, and my partner, buying a house, and sleep!).

Previous swimmers have advised to tell my boss and explain to my partner, close family and friends, what the Channel means in terms of time commitment. I told my boss — that was the easy one. For me, the hardest part is opting to leave my peacefully sleeping husband and warm bed for the cold, isolating waters of the Bay.

Next swim: Bay Bridge to Aquatic Park (2.8 miles). Happy Easter!