For the last four weeks rain or shine, long or short, energetic or dragging my butt, cold or not, with friends or solo - I’ve been training to swim 1.6 km this Saturday, July 18 from Tunstall Bay to Bowen Bay in lieu of the SwimBowen event that is cancelled due to COVID-19.
You would think I would know this about myself by now, but the training has blossomed into so much more than a singular goal on a specific day. The rhythm of the reach, pull, roll and exhale has slowly strengthened with every workout. What tired me four weeks ago is now relatively effortless. The pure and straightforward benefit of physical improvement is beyond encouraging especially now with the rest of COVID life feeling difficult and fraught with uncertainty. Any self-propelled, positive change in my world is like gold. And I am banking it in the ocean. I’m also basking in the mental sunshine of swimming with friends; the camaraderie, laughing, encouragement, joy, the shared frustration of squishing into wet suits, more laughing, story-telling post swims
and generally connecting over so much more than merely a swim. That’s happiness on a whole other level that is deeply restorative well after I am dried off and away from the beach. Like working my body, I am lifted with friendship for days afterward. Lastly, the ocean holds a place in my heart that is forever there, at once calming and energizing and always welcoming. However I feel before my swim, I always feel better once I step out of the sea. And those are odds I can count on when the rest of the world feels less reliable.
Thank you SwimBowen for helping me find traction, for bringing me back to the salty goodness that is part of this west coast girl’s DNA. The gift that just keeps giving.
On June 18 at 5:15 p.m., Dr Leah Cline, Dr Sue Schloegl, and a new friend and distance swimmer Leslie and I will swim from Tunstall Bay to Bowen Bay in honour of the SwimBowen’s 2020 “non -event.” Are you missing SwimBowen? Want to get involved? You can join the fun and sponsor our swim with a donation to the SwimBowen Society (swimbowen.com). Or do your own personal swim, hike or bike ride and have friends and family sponsor you. Spread the word! Proceeds support Bowen Island residents enduring the hard work of cancer treatment. It will take more than a global pandemic to dampen SwimBowen’s spirits.