Sunday next week I will be in Spain, swimming my first open water race – and will do so in the “under 50 years of age” category (since the age bracket is the whole decade). It will be my first ocean race, and my first competitive swim in about 25 years. And if that is not enough to make me nervous: We will be getting to Spain with four kids in the car the night before. Urgh. Still am really looking forward to it.
Starting from Garbet Beach in Catalonia, the competition course heads out and around a rocky outcrop and then to the beach of Colera (yep!). The distance is 2.7 km, which is a touch longer than the famous Bondi to Bronte swim and definitely a challenge for me – though I would like to think I am in reasonable shape to safely do this. At the moment I swim a reasonably comfortable 3k in the local 50m pool in well under an hour.
That said: The goal I have set for myself is not to win anything (not that I would, despite the age bracket), but to take things slowly, and swim with as much comfort as possible. I plan on just enjoying the experience(s) and learning as much as I can. The summer in Spain features a whole number of these swims along the coast and I plan to do one each year we are there.
So what is the point of the exercise? Apart from getting an enormous sense of achievement from hopefully finishing the race (or trying to), no doubt, the real point is more practical – and a lot more philosophical and even spiritual. I will get into that in another blog post as domestic duty calls now. Suffice it to say that swimming keeps me healthy, happy and sane; and amongst other things, it has been one of the few real constants in my life. Even when there were whole years in between of not swimming regularly, for whatever reasons: I have always come back to it (missing it unconsciously) and from a very small age I have absolutely loved being in the water. The older I get, the more I appreciate it on a growing number of levels.