If I had to make a list of the biggest influences in my life to date, two things would be at the top of my list.
The first would be my parents.
And the second would be the sport of swimming.
My parents have modeled the importance of hard work, perseverance, loyalty, and the bond of family.
And so has swimming.
When I joined the swim team at ten years old, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
Swimming is one of those sports that you either love, or you hate.
Sometimes it’s both.
But when you fall in love with swimming, you fall for life.
Yes, swimming taught me about hard work.
It taught me to push myself to my physical limits, to the point of puking, and it has taught me to push myself to my emotional limits. To the point of crying.
It has taught me to set goals.
And then crush them.
It has taught me the value of teamwork and sportsmanship and family.
My closest friends from high school were all on the swim team.
My closest friends from college were all on the swim team.
My closest friends now are almost all connected to the swim team.
My babysitters are even alumni of the swim team.
Back when I was in high school, my baby brother was diagnosed with leukemia.
While my parents struggled financially to pay for his treatment, the swim team let me swim for free for a whole season.
When I found out my brother had relapsed for his final time, I was at a swim meet, surrounded by my swim team family.
Every summer from the time I was sixteen until I was in my early thirties was spent working at a country club pool, with my swimmer friends, lifeguarding and coaching the swim team.
The swim team has always been my family.
A couple weeks ago, I was tagged in a Facebook post by my first country club boss, my first swim coaching mentor.
(Because swimming family sticks together, even after twenty or thirty years).
Swim Across America had posted that they had a spot in the Boston Marathon.
They were looking for a volunteer to run in it.
That volunteer would have to raise $5000.
Swim Across America is a non profit organization dedicated to raising money and awareness for cancer research.
I had participated in one of Swim Across America’s first events back in the 80s, not long after cancer had taken my little brother’s life.
It’s a cause that hits close to home.
Plus, two years ago, I ran my first marathon, the New York City Marathon, with Team in Training who raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
I’ve been down this road before. And I caught the marathon bug after that experience.
So I volunteered to run the Boston Marathon.
Unfortunately, I was a little too late. The spot had already been given to someone else.
I guess it wasn’t meant to be.
I was wrong.
Because today I got a Facebook message from the Director of Swim Across America.
And the person who was given the Swim Across America marathon bib had injured himself.
And they gave the spot to me.
On April 20th, I’m running the f%&!ing Boston Marathon!!!
I am all sorts of emotions.
Definitely nervous. But mostly excited.
Again, my swimming family is presenting me with an opportunity of a lifetime.
And I will do my best to make them proud.
Today’s post is sponsored by Olive & Lucy of Oscawana Lake
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