Tag: open water swimming

Summer Updates

S0 it got to be 103 degrees today. Let’s just say SUMMERRR is here! I have been having a great time.  Summer is always so much more fun for me than Winter.  Just the addition of open water swimming makes my life better.  (Swimming in an indoor pool just isn’t the same). I’ve been able to see all my swim friends that I somehow miss in the winter.

Here are some highlights

I’ve been to plays including Wrinkle in Time at BYU which was mind blowing and Tarzan at Scera which was good.

My BFF Emily and I at Tarzan
My BFF Emily and I at Tarzan
Rachel B and I at Wrinkle in Time.  She's so cool and it was an amazing experience. Like no play I've ever seen
Rachel B and I at Wrinkle in Time. She’s so cool and it was an amazing experience. Like no play I’ve ever seen

I’ve been working really hard at my new job with Poler.

like this photo tons.  Been a happy time in my life.
In my office. I like this photo tons. Been a happy time in my life lately.

I’ve been reading a lot, especially rereading Jane Austen to get ready for book club. Its funny because I talk about them a lot but I haven’t actually read them in a long time.  They are just as brilliant as I remember.

reading

I’ve been swimming up a storm.  I wish I could go everyday but with work and other responsibilities there just isn’t time.  Went last Saturday to Deer Creek and today to Blackridge Pond in Herriman.

The girls ready for a swim.  Love open water women!
The girls ready for a swim. Love open water women!
Happy Rachel swimming at Herriman.
Happy Rachel swimming at Herriman.
I kind of love this photo of me at Deer Creek.  Got curves?
I kind of love this photo of me at Deer Creek. Got curves?

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Scraped my arm and leg tripping at Deer Creek.  First swimming injury
Scraped my arm and leg tripping at Deer Creek. First swimming injury
Despite my scrapes I was happy to be in the water.
Despite my scrapes I was happy to be in the water.

Other fun things…I performed in master class on Wednesday and sang Wishing You Were Somehow Here from Phantom of the Opera.  I’m no opera singer but it was fun to let my diva out.

Speaking of diva’s Drop Dead Diva started on lifetime which made my BFF Emily and I very happy. We had dinner together and a little diva watching party.  It did not disappoint.  Great season opening.  I think made even better by the fact that it almost didn’t happen.

emilyThe meal turned out really good.  It was buccatini (my new favorite pasta) with fresh cherry tomatoes, sausage, parm and fresh herbs from my container gardens which drumroll ARE STILL ALIVE!

Look how big my mint is!
Look how big my mint is!
Look how big my basil has gotten.  I guess I don't kill all living creatures :)
Look how big my basil has gotten. I guess I don’t kill all living creatures 🙂

I also made flank steak for the first time to great success

flank steak
Not bad looking right? Flank steak is my new favorite

I went to a Josh Turner concert with my friends Emilee and Rachel M (I know a lot of Rachel’s and Emily’s!).  He was super entertaining and has the most sexy voice I think I’ve ever heard.  Its low and he has an old fashioned southern drawl.  His band was really good too.  It was a great night.

Hawaii girl reunion Rachel, Rachel and Emilee
Hawaii girl reunion Rachel, Rachel and Emilee
Josh Turner and the crowd
Josh Turner and the crowd

All in all its been a great summer!  Hope you all have a great 4th and enjoy the hot weather as much as I do. 🙂

Anything I Can Do You Can Do Too!

swimming

Today I went visiting teaching and told my girl about my swim.  Her response was ‘Wow!  I could never do that!’.  I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that response in the last 3 years (crazy that I’ve been open water swimming for 3 years btw!).  It can actually be quite discouraging because I want to inspire people to do as I do, not make it seem impossible.

If you haven’t noticed I’m not exactly the typical athlete with a svelte figure.  Every swim I’ve done I’ve weighed between 275 and 310 lbs (yes, I just admitted that to the world. Deal).  I’m a big girl and always have been.  It wasn’t all that long ago that  just the idea of swimming for a mile felt impossible but I had a gentle friend put in my path who never wavered in his support of my seemingly impossible first swim back in 2011, and I did it!

I’ve faced other challenges besides my weight such as a fall down the stairs, chronic pain/fibromyalgia, PCOS, hormone problems, diabetes scare, and more, so training isn’t always easy or even possible.  I’ve faced personal challenges, heartaches and disappointments, which have felt like a fall down the stairs.  I’ve spent a greater part of a year looking, building, buying and moving into a new house.  I have at times dealt with crippling anxiety and even panic attacks that can make goal setting difficult and self acceptance challenging.

I’ve had all the challenges any of you face and yet I’ve completed my swims.

I don’t want to sound like a great hero.  In fact, I am trying to prove the reverse- that there is nothing particularly special about me.  If I can do it, so can you.  Even people with minimal swimming experience have made amazing strides with consistent practice.  I have seen people barely be able to cross the length of a pool, swim a mile in the GSL 6 months later.  I’ve seen people conquer fear of water, waves, being submerged, etc and do great things.

The way I see it you have 2 choices in life.  You can either take chances or watch as other people take them.  Even if its not an open water swim, I am sure there is something that you look at and think ‘I could never do that’.  I guarantee you ‘THAT’ is the thing you ‘NEED’ to do!  There is nothing more satisfying than doing something you never thought you could do.  It could be singing a solo in public, painting with watercolors, running for public office, starting a small business, writing a novel, entering a triathlon, giving blood.  Whatever. Find out what that is and DO IT!

Now you may not succeed.  My friend Goody had a goal to swim the Catalina channel in California.  He was in the water for 16 hours and eventually it had to be called off.  It was devastating but he took it like the trooper he was.  You know what he had to face this year? Cancer. I can only imagine the fighting spirit he developed in that water and setting a bold goal helped him in his victorious battle.  He also became the first Utahn to swim an ice mile in below freezing water.  So, your victory may come in a different way than you had planned but it will come.

Part of the reason I know all of you can do what you dream of doing is because I face the same doubts and fears.  Every time I swim I face anxiety about whether I’ll be able to finish.  Not just before the race but many times while I’m swimming.  I got to the point in the last GSL swim where I could hardly move my right arm.  The current was killing me and I could do about 20 strokes and I’d be pushed inside.  I had seen a woman give up early in the race and I wondered again and again if it was going to be my outcome.  I guess I decided I wasn’t going to let the lake lick me and it didn’t and that is the real victory!

I have a quote on my bookcase by the divine Nora Ephron that says ‘Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim’.  Stop saying ‘I could never do that’.  Stop it!  Think of things you can do and haven’t tried and do them.  Go for it!

I can think of so many times when this advice has benefited my life.  Because of a demon of a choir teacher, I was petrified of singing in public for years.  I even refused to lead the music on my mission because I had been so humiliated as a teen.  That said- I always knew it was something ‘I wish I could do’ but thought I just wasn’t made for singing.

In 2006 I was so miserable with life that I sought fulfillment in anything and signed up for voice lessons.  My first recital my hands were shaking and my skin was pale, but you know what I got through it and 7 years later it turns out that singing in public is actually something I’m quite good at.  I’m not saying I have the greatest voice in the world but the acting and performing is a strength.  That’s the blessing of doing hard things, of pushing yourself. You find out what you are made of and it constantly surprises you!

Last year I had a goal to introduce someone to open water swimming.  I felt it had done me such good and I wanted to share the favor.  Unfortunately I come in contact with relatively few new people so I didn’t know how I would complete this goal (speaking of impossible goals!) but I had faith and even made it a matter of prayer.  Well, in April of that year I discovered #ldsconf on twitter and made a ton of new friends while watching General Conference. One was a girl from Washington State named Abby.

We still have never met but she read about my prep for the GSL swim and my race last  June and one day she asked me if I thought she could be ready for the race on the Columbia River in September.  “Sure!” was my gleeful reply.  I remind you I had never met this person and yet I felt confident she could do it.  Later I remember asking myself ‘You don’t know this person.  What if she has a terrible experience and then blames you?”

Well, fortunately she swam it and had a wonderful swim with a great time.  Life is usually like that.  We need a little encouragement to do hard things and then we pass that gift on to other people.  We are the heroes of each other or we should be.  That’s the great thing about doing hard things is it inevitably puts you in the path of other dreamers, and your life is so much the richer for those relationships.  When I think of the people I have met through just swimming and singing I am blown away.  The decision to try seems self evident for the friendships alone.

Like the poet says:

Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, young or old.
Today might be your last chance to hold tight to the hand of the one you love and show all you feel.
If you are waiting for tomorrow, why not do it today?
Because if tomorrow never comes, you certainly will regret for the rest of your life
Not having spent some extra time for a smile, a conversation, a hug, a kiss,
Because you were too busy to give that person what ended up being their last wish.
Then hug tight today the one you love, your friends, your family, and whisper in their ears how much you love them and want them close to you.
Tomorrow is not promised to anyone so stop saying ‘I can’t’ or ‘I could never’ and go and do it!
There. That’s my pep talk.  Eat your heart out Zig Ziglar. Sure love ya!
DSCF0497
Also some did not get to see my little bit of fame from the TV the other day.  With the music and everything I was quite the culminating hero to the piece. (part 2).  I hope somebody sees it and says ‘wow. She looks like me.  Maybe I could do…’

Goings on

So I’m doing this awesome Wellness challenge started by old friend Heather.  The challenge is based on a point system where you get points for healthy eating, exercise and spiritual reading/goal setting.  I like that it isn’t solely focused on weight because as I well know sometimes the lbs can be out of your control.

“This challenge is based on a daily point system with each of the following categories awarding one point per day. At the end of the 21 days two winners will be chosen: the person who lost the greatest percentage of their total body weight and the person who has the highest total number of points. Be HONEST!!!

1. Drink 48 ounces of water a day.
2. 45 minutes of exercise (doesn’t have to be consecutive)
3. No soda or alcohol
4. No sweets a.k.a. desserts, pastries, candy, etc. (Sugar-free alternatives are okay)
5. No fast food or unhealthy snacks
6. Consume two servings of fruits and veggies each day
7. No eating after 8 p.m.
8. Read 15 minutes of spiritual or motivational text
9. Write in your journal or blog.
10. Make a personal goal everyday (getting 8 hours of sleep, organizing a closet, reading to your kids each night, etc.)

**You get ONE FREE POINT PER AREA, PER WEEK. For example, you can skip exercise for one day a week and still get your point or you can have one whole free day!

Pretty cool hah,
Well, the challenge #9 means I will be blogging a lot in the next 21 days.  Gotta get my points. 🙂

Luckily I have a lot going on.

As I said yesterday I made an offer on a condo but the sellers have been strange in counter offering.   At first they offered too high and included a bizarre contingency that they had to buy a house or the offer was void.  I thought that was crazy.  There is no way I would do something like that.  Forget it.  I could end up without a house.  Then they sent a counter offer that was less without the nuts clause but they took out closing costs so it was basically the same.

The truth is the sellers over-improved their house for the neighborhood and now they are expecting me to pay for it.  They said in their offer that they couldn’t go any lower because they would lose money.  I said I’m sorry but what they have into the house is not my problem.  I am concerned with what the house is worth.  I can’t pay more because they have over-spent.

I’ve gotten a lot of advice and am okay if I lose the house.  I love it but there are other homes, other days.  We will see if the sellers wake up and get it together.  Nerve wracking!

The other craziness in my life is next Saturday is my swim!!!  My practice 5k seems like decades ago.  I can’t even believe it. Lately I’ve felt weak in the water.  I felt really strong after my Great Salt Lake swim but lately I’ve been dragging.  I can’t explain it but its been very frustrating and makes me nervous for next week.  I wish I had time to do a practice 5k next week to feel more confident but there is just no time.

I’ve been trying to change my breathing so I’m taking shorter breaths but in the meantime it leaves me feeling weak.  Just frustrating and nerve wracking.

I wish it was this weekend, and I could just be done. 2 weeks before any goal is done is the worst.  It just about makes me crazy.

https://smilingldsgirl.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/when-goals-make-you-nuts/

 

At least I have end of the month next week so I should be kept hopping and hopefully the week will zoom by and I will be a finisher at a 5k swim!

So, that’s my rambling post for the day.  Let me just end by saying what a crazy Olympics this has been.  Great job Gabby Douglas, Rebecca Soni, Tyler Clary, Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps.  Wow!!! Its interesting because in Beijing Lochte and Phelps won everything but in London a lot of different swimmers have made gold.  It’s like they all just met together and said ‘let’s give everyone a gold’.  Pretty fun to watch.

I was watching Phelps race today on BBC and with about 15 meters left the coverage stopped! Talk about leaving me hanging! So I’m watching it now.  He did it!  Hurray! What an amazing accomplishment.  3 time gold medal winner in 200 IM.  So great!

They are all so amazing and inspire me to be awesome in my little effort next Saturday.

Let’s do it!

Ok.  So that’s my ramblings for the day.  More to come tomorrow.

 

 

First Open Water Swim

So I am pumped! The beginning of the open water swim season has started. As many of you know I am training for the Great Salt Lake Open Water Swim.  It will be the first of 3 open water swimming races this year- Great Salt Lake, Deer Creek and Slam the Dam.  Naturally I will be swimming in the open water much more than 3 times, every week if I can.

My goal this year is to introduce someone new to the sport.  I know it sounds scary but its really exhilarating.   You also have never met nicer people of all ages, shapes and sizes.  Can’t swim very well? I’ve seen people make incredible strides in a matter of weeks.

Anyway, today my friends and I went out to the Great Salt Lake and swam through the marina and around the buoys several times.  I started to get water in my goggles (a bad thing in the GSL) so I had to go in but I was tired so its just as well.  I’d say I was in the water 45 minutes or so.

Before swimming in the GSL

I was really worried about the water temperature and how my muscles would react.  Fortunately this has been a warm winter and the water is already 70 degrees!  It felt cold at first but its amazing how quickly you adjust and it was fine.  The greater challenge was the wind and the choppiness in the water.  That’s the hardest part of open water swimming but its also part of the excitement when you finish.

There is an optical illusion that happens every time I swim in the open water.  Whatever you are sighting seems so far off, until you are practically on top of it.  It feels like you aren’t making progress and so when you arrive its twice as thrilling! You did what momentarily you felt you could not do.  Its great!

Seriously friends come out with me sometime.  If you do I will buy you dinner!  I think you will enjoy it as much as I do and if not you got a free dinner. 🙂 .  Other lakes are opening now as well as the GSL such as Bountiful Lake and Blackridge.  Hurray!

http://www.utahopenwater.com/

To read about my other open water swims:

https://smilingldsgirl.wordpress.com/2011/08/15/open-water-swim/

https://smilingldsgirl.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/slam-the-dam/

Life at the Gym

PROGRESS AND GOALS

So just got back from a tough workout with Coach Dave- 1500 yards in 300 intervals each time going faster. My best time was 7 min 14 sec which I feel really good about.   I’m going to keep training and working hard for the Great Salt Lake Swim that which is coming up on June 9th.  Its a 1 mile swim but the water will be pretty cold so it will be a challenge.

I have also signed up for the 5K at the Deer Creek Open Water Swim!  This is the longest I have ever attempted but I have close to 6 months to prepare and I know I can do it.  I figure most of my friends did the 5k last year and I can hold my own with most of them.  My Dad might be able to come and be my paddler which would be a great experience together.  Its so motivating to have a race to look forward to.  Thanks in advance to all who are working to make both races happen.  They need volunteers for simple tasks if anyone is available June 9 or August 11th let me know.  Can’t wait!

I also am determined to get below 250 if it kills me.  Ok maybe not kill me but you get the idea.  I’ve worked so hard and last week I had a weight gain.  Was totally bummed out but I’m using it as a catalyst to try even harder.  I decided to sign up for a fresh meal delivery service here in Salt Lake that will help me get a better idea of portion controls and limit my diet with greater ease (with my new freezer this is even easier).  Its not something I would want to do forever but I think to help me get ready for the race it will be worth trying out.  Plus, the company does not have auto-renewal so to try it out for 2 weeks can’t hurt.

I’m also continuing with the bountiful baskets and between my freezer, portion controlled meals and lots of fresh produce I figure I will be doing all I can to eat right.

I know its weird but I love post work out photos. Its like a way of saying to myself- yes I did that! Don't you love the goggle eyes and swim cap line!

Sometimes in my quest for greater success I can forget how far I’ve come.  Take a look at these 2 photos one is from 2010 and one taken today.

2010 with my awesome trainer Michele. She has been with me through literally thick and thin! Weighed around 305 lbs
Michele and I today. Weigh around 260

I admit in 2010 I had hoped for a more dramatic before and after but I can tell a difference.  I certainly can feel the difference. It feels good to be able to say I tried as hard as I could to take care of my body and despite what felt like the gates of Hell opening up after me last year I am still pushing forward.

NEVER JUDGE

I also had a good experience today at the gym.  There is a lady who is in my ward who also goes to my gym.  She seemed sweet but on the surface not someone I would have a ton in common with (wears a ton of make up, dresses in designer clothes etc).

I was just in a good mood and went up to her and said ‘we should work out together sometime.  I’m sure you’re way ahead of me but it might be fun.  I’m kind of a lone warrior here.”  She said she would love that and asked if I did other things besides swimming.  I said ‘I’m not the most coordinated person in the world (huge understatement) but I will give most anything a try. I like kickboxing, yoga, spinning, working out on the machines. “

She seemed really happy that I talked to her and afterwards texted me saying “Can’t wait to work out with you :)”.   Just goes to show you shouldn’t judge by appearances. You lose out on a lot of friends that way.

She also said ‘you always seem really positive at the gym.  I think it would be great to work out together.’ This made me happy that people are watching me and maybe even a little inspired despite all my moaning and groaning!

BIKE

I’m also thinking about buying a bike.  The idea is to find a bike that I can tottle around Draper on turning everyday experiences into an active experience.  I need a bike with a seat that is large and frame that’s easy to mount.  Most bikes I don’t feel balanced enough on or that it can support me but this one looks very interesting.  Its called a Trek Navigator 2.0 and has 21 gears, low frame, big seat, front shocks and the local bike shop price is actually lower than I’ve found online.

So far the reviews I’ve read online are really good.  Thoughts?

SPRING WALK

One last thing.  Yesterday I was without a car because I have a company car and on occasion the company needs to use it!  My friend Jill was super duper nice to let me use her car so I could make my voice lesson (which was awesome.  I’m learning Defying Gravity and it is so thrilling! I’ve come so far and feel the song encapsulates the last  couple years of my life. ) .  Anyway, after dropping her car off I got to walk home in the beautiful Spring weather.  Everything is lush and smells delicious.

I snapped this quick pick with my camera phone (all of these photos were taken with my camera phone.  Not bad hah!). I’m so grateful to live in such a beautiful place and that God gives me glimpses of His grandeur on occasion.

Sometimes I forget how beautiful Utah is and how stunning the mountains are. Often I have to look up and remember that they are there and it takes my breath away. I'm so lucky to live here and I never want to move.

Christmas Swimfest 2011

So today might just be the perfect day! You know when you occasionally have those days that are pure fun and stress free? Aren’t those the best?

As any blog reader knows I have become an active participant in Open Water Swimming and Utah Masters Swimming.  In a year full of trials this has been the greatest of blessings.  It has given me goals, a sense of accomplishment, made exercising fun and provided me with a whole community of friends and support.

Its really hard to imagine that I swam in open water on August 5th at the Deer Creek Clinic for the first time. After that fateful swim I said:

“I did it! I did it! I did it! I swam in open water for a mile and held my own with people who had all done it before without a wetsuit. This is the best day of my life!”

And what a crazy, wonderful 5 months of swimming it has been since that first swim!  What a crazy year it has been! With so many challenges, which this blog has dutifully chronicled, I am so grateful to have rediscovered swimming, and that wouldn’t have been possible without the encouragement and nudging of good friends (I swear Jim Hubbard got about 30 emails from me before Deer Creek I was so nervous but I made it through and then did Slam the Dam, then Masters Swimming.  What great experiences!).

Swimming has really been an unmitigated good in my life, and how often can you say that?

Every year I do some kind of Christmas party (usually to show off my tree, which I love).  This year I decided to do something different and give back to the swimming community that has so kindly nurtured me.  So I came up with the idea of a Christmas Swimfest. (For me half the fun of a party is in the planning of it and this one was no exception).  I found Christmas swim caps (they have tons to chose from on Swimoutlet.com.  I had enough people, 12, that I was able to get the group rate.) This is the one I chose:

Then to finish the plans I rented 2 lanes at the Gene Fullmer pool in West Jordan (something I’m glad I did because it was super crowded and only $15 a lane, so no biggee). I figured this was a good central location for everyone and it was close to the Golden Corral where we went for a brunch afterwords.  My friend Erin agreed to plan the workout, which was super nice given she had gotten like no sleep this week working on her papers for her PHD.  Thanks Erin!  (I was worried she might start sleep swimming but it was fine 🙂 ).

Aside from a mistake I made with the restaurant directions everything went great.  We had a wonderful time and a good workout too! 10 swimmers came, we swam sets, did relays (my favorite. I love racing and I’m very competitive!) and we even went down the large slide at the center.  It was really a lot of fun. Thanks to everyone who came and for all the support this year.  Merry Christmas!

(ps.  There are already talks of more Swimfests.  It should be a great 2012!).

Slam the Dam

Today I am writing to you as a very tired, worn out swimmer!  As any reader of this blog knows I have been preparing for weeks to swim my second open water swim in Las Vegas called Slam the Dam.  It is held at Lake Meade near Las Vegas and this is the second year of the competition.  My first swim was at the much smaller Deer Creek Open Water Swim and I’m glad I got to ‘test out the waters’ in a smaller environment.

This swim was different in many ways.  To begin with I had sacrificed more of my time and money to get there.  For Deer Creek I had trained for about a month hard core and it was a 30 minute drive from my house.  For Slam the Dam I have trained for 2 months, taken time off work and spent considerable money on fees, bus tickets and other expenses.  Let’s just say there was a lot more than an afternoon of swimming invested in Saturday’s swim.

The weekend started on Friday when I caught the greyhound bus to Vegas (I decided to take the bus because I don’t like long drives by myself and I’m glad I did.  It was nice to rest and not drive- especially on the way home).

The ride took around 7 1/2  hours but eventually I made it to Vegas and met up with my Aunt Rose and Uncle Bruce.  They were nice enough to have me at their home for the weekend, take me to my race, and even stayed to watch me compete.  I really appreciate their hospitality and support (and all the good food!  There is always a feast when Rose cooks!)

My friend Josh and I before the race. Both him and his wife Sabrina were very encouraging and stayed to watch me compete.

Once I was settled I met up with some of my Utah Open Water friends for a pre-race dinner.  I became more acquainted with some people and made several new friends.  I can’t say enough good things about the people I have met through open water.  They have been so welcoming and friendly.  It is such a blessing in my life. (We should have taken a photo of us at dinner.  I always forget to do that at dinner gatherings!)

Fully loaded with Italian carbs (and a sleeping pill) I slept well the night of the race despite my stomach balling up with nerves.  I couldn’t help but feel anxious- a new lake, new course, new distance…with all I had invested the idea of failure was daunting and hard to ignore.

Finally the morning of the race came.  I was a little worried they might cancel the race because of lightning but thankfully the clouds abated and the race went forward.  My 1.2 mile swim was the last event of the morning and since they ran about 30 minutes behind I had plenty of time to stretch and prepare myself mentally.

this is me before the race

Eventually my race was called and we went off in 2 batches.  I had signed up for the race before I became a USMS Member, so I was in the second group.  It was kind of funny because they didn’t give any lead up such as ‘on your marks’ or ‘1,2,3’.  It was just a horn and go!

my racing group. You can see me in the middle with the purple swim suit.

Off we went!  The water was warm, around 80 degrees, but because of the wind and storminess it was very choppy.  I think you can kind of tell that from the above photo.  I had never swam in choppy water before and it was an entirely different beast.  As cold as Deer Creek was, it was not nearly as difficult as the water at Lake Meade.

The course was set up with a finish line path with green buoys and then four orange buoys to mark out to the half way point of the race.  Once past the fourth buoy the racers did a loop and headed the opposite direction back to the green finish line.

the 1.2 mile course

The choppy water meant the first half swimmers had to fight the current and it was very frustrating.  At times I felt like I was on s swimming treadmill and couldn’t make any progress.  It is a strange thing swimming in the open water because even in the best of circumstances it feels like you will never reach the target.  Even when you are yards away it feels much further.  (Kind of a cruel optical illusion if you ask me!).

When I rounded the 1/2 way and was heading towards the third buoy I honestly wondered if I could do it.  I kept swallowing water and the ending seemed so far off.  My lungs were burning and my entire body ached.

Without sounding cheesy it was actually a spiritual moment for me.  I stopped and said a little prayer.  “Heavenly Father, I have worked so hard.  I have sacrificed so much to be here.  Please help me finish the race.”.  Then I rested, treading water, for 30 seconds to catch my breath and refocus.  I knew I could do it.  I had to do it.  Heavenly Father helped Peter walk on water.  Surely He could help me finish my race.

this is my favorite painting and I really felt like He was there for me in the choppy water. Ok maybe it wasn't quite that choppy but it felt as insurmountable to me.

Plowing ahead into the whirlwind of water I pushed forward reaching one buoy, and then another, till finally the green finish line was within my view.  I stopped for another second to take it in and went as quickly as I could until a man said ‘You are done.  Congratulations!”  I think I about hugged him and it took me several minutes to get out of the water.  I was also trying to figure out my time, which turned out to be 1 hour 14 minutes- slower than I wanted, but considering the choppy water, I was satisfied.  I had done my best.

You can see the moment in this clip

When I think back to the race it is hard to not contemplate my life.  There are sacrifices and tests and the water is often choppy, but when we need Him the Lord is always there, and with His help we can finish the race.

I, like Paul, can say  “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7)

On that note here, I am with my ‘finisher medal’ and the Elvis impersonator (only in Vegas.  They called him the ‘El-fish’!).

me and the el-fish!

I would like to say thank you to everyone who helped me cross that line.  To my family and friends for all their support and love. To Bruce and Rose and all the volunteers at Slam the Dam for taking time out of their busy lives to make my dreams come true.  To everyone at Utah Open Water especially Erin, Kate, and Josh.  The lessons, pep talks and encouragement did more than you know.  Thank you for welcoming me into your group and helping me feel like I’m part of a swimming family.  Thanks to my trainers Michele and Dave for pushing and praising me in just the right balance.

Thanks mostly to my Heavenly Father for never leaving me alone, especially when the waters are rough and the course feels impossible.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Now on to the next goal!  No more open water swims until June but there are  masters meets and a myriad of other challenges and opportunities.

My medals for finishing both races. Never was a medal more prized than these! I'm trying to think of a creative way to display them like a shadowbox or something. Any ideas?