I love swimming.
Well, now I do, but this was not always the case.
In 2010 when I started training for my first triathlon, I could barely swim 3 laps in a pool without stopping and I dreaded these pool sessions. Now in Sept 2012, I am 3 days away from swimming 3 miles across the Hudson river, just north of the Tappan Zee Bridge, with about 120 or so of my closest friends, not to mention an entourage of assorted kayaks, jet skis and larger motor boats of various important agencies. (FYI, 3 miles equals 216 laps in a 25 yard pool, I have done the math!)
Why?! you ask, stupefied as to the reason anyone might want to try this. I get this a lot, along with warnings not to swallow any of the water, or advice on how to decontaminate after.
Why? Because we are taking part in a great annual event, the Hudson River Swim for Life, to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It's an effort to help blood cancer patients and fund important research that we hope will lead to new treatments and finally cures for these and all cancers. (To date, we have raised over $25000 as a team for this cause. My personal goal is to raise $2000 throught this swim.)
Within this group of 120 athletes, I am on a really great team of about 15 swimmers who have trained together since May, the Team In Training Hudson River Swim Team. We have already spent many a Saturday or Sunday morning swimming bright and early along the eastern shore of the Hudson near Sleepy Hollow, often against current, just to make it interesting. Afterwards, many doughnuts are consumed.
As with any group, there are the overachievers, and, well, those who are, shall we say, less so.
I fall within that latter group. We have recently dubbed ourselves Group W. (Just a clarification, this has nothing whatever to do with our 43rd president. For those youngsters who may be reading this, it is a reference to Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant song, in which Group W was an assortment of misfit and nonconformist draftees who were given this inexplicable alphabetical designation by the US Army.)
So Group W has no political agenda, rather, we are simply an unlikely group of athletes of all ages, shapes and sizes, who often confound our ever-patient coaches with stubbornly unique swimming styles.
In addition to swimming and eating, Group W does have one very important common agenda: to do what we can to stop blood cancers from tormenting, then, all too often, stealing beloved friends and family like a thief in the night.
This Saturday, September 15th is the day me and my Group W buddies will take the big plunge in the Hudson to make our difference in the fight against cancer! If you believe that you, too, are Group W material, and would like to become an honorary group member, please help us now by making a donation at: SwimBikeRun4Cure.org
And remember, you need a W to spell Winner!