Nirvana. In a bottle.


During my training regiment leading up to my swim, I diligently completed numerous 6hour swims. At the time, my friend Simon was training for his solo length of Lake Tahoe and we spent many hours swimming side-by-side. I visualized my next 6 hours as exactly that, and completely manageable.

As the curtain of darkness began to lift, a glorious red and orange sunrise glowed invitingly along the horizon. The night had been very rough with winds peaking at 20 knots. 7 – 9 foot swells tossed and turned my body as well as the kayak over the surface of the ocean. On my left, the Outrider boat listed side to side, but continued to plow through the water seemingly unaffected. And time slipped away even more effortlessly - I can’t really account for all those hours. Almost as if I stepped inside a wormhole and was transported through….

Having lost track of time completely during the evening hours, and the dark curtains now lifted, I took a visual inventory of my surroundings. With daylight breaking, I guessed that it was now 5:30am. During my next feeding, I yell this estimated time to the crew, reminding them not to correct me. I later learned that I was within 10 minutes of accuracy. As I swam, I didn’t dare look for land. “Swim until you run out of water,” I reminded myself. I knew I had much further to swim.

I imagined my work colleagues at Adobe getting ready for the day. I imagined my swimming friends, jumping in the San Francisco Bay for their daily morning swim. And as I breathed to my left I took note of happenings on the boat. Everything was routine.

At one point my crew “rewards” me with a treat from my Bag of Tricks, a special bag of junk food goodies from New Zealand, these items could be used to reward me or to motivate me during a tough period. All of a sudden, out comes the drink bottle on a rope, landing a few feet away. Tucked inside are 6 marshmallows! My face lights up and immediately I shove the handful of delicious morsels into my mouth.  Every single part of my body tingles as it comes alive. It is all going to be okay.