Today is the day: my first blog post. Not just this blog – any blog. My typical day begins at about 6:30 when my 19-month-old wakes up (sometimes earlier depending on what time my 3-year-old climbs into bed with us – stop judging), then goes nonstop through a full working day at L’Oreal, an hour with the kids before bedtime, dinner with Andrew, an hour of work from home, before collapsing into bed so I can start it all over the next day. Blog posting does not factor in. Nor, you may have noticed, does swimming. But there’s only so long a person can resist the harassment of her BFF (and her BFF’s husband), so here goes.
It’s Mauricio’s fault. He’s the reason I’ve ended up a part of this crazy endeavor. He’s relentless, he’s wily, he’s shameless in his efforts to push this plan through (yes, it’s true he’s promised us Jimmy Choos if we place top 3 in a Marnaton swim). But he touched a nerve in me, and he knows it. Unlike Susan and Emily, I’ve been swimming on and off for the past 20 years, and secretly I have dreamed of doing something like this. Back in the mid-90’s when I first moved to NYC, I swam for my ego. I had graduated from college with a liberal arts degree which meant I knew nothing as far as the corporate world was concerned, so my days were spent in a job that reminded me daily just how irrelevant my Senior Thesis on White Slavery Sensationalism in the Progressive Era had been. Swimming was an outlet, yes, but it was also fodder for my self esteem. I got my ass kicked every day at work; in the pool no one kicked my ass (to be fair, I should admit that the competition was a bit weak – most former college swimmers were, like Em and Sooz, on “hiatus,” so I was crushing the rec swimmers, most of whom were several decades older).
In any case, it kept me in the water. And that’s the first time I heard about the swim around Manhattan. Twenty-eight and a half miles through the brackish waters of the Hudson and East Rivers. Images of dead bodies, floating fish and raw sewage filled my mind. I was hooked.
I tried then to convince Susan to train for it with me. I even sent her a postcard with a picture of Gertrude Ederle (pic below) making the race. Unfortunately, Susan was steadfast in her refusal, and in her odd phobia of cold water. It wasn’t until years later when Mauricio, a former howie-turned-legit swimmer, got this crazy notion in his head, that Susan began to reconsider.
Fast forward to now: Susan and I just did a 10.2km last weekend; a continent away, Mauricio and Em did the same in solidarity. We have a team name, a team blog, and we’re looking for sponsors. And we have a goal that terrifies me as much as it inspires me: The Straits of Gibraltar in 2013. Go Team G!