“What do you think about a Round Trip Angel Island for this year?” I asked my swim coach Kevin.

He told me that was a course for a prone paddle board championship race that he had wanted to do. He told me that it wasn’t too hard for me and that I was (regardless of my self doubt) “fast enough”. I’m always the first to say I’m too slow, and he’s always right there to say there’s no such thing.

I called Alice and talked to her about it. “Yes!” She screamed excitedly. “You’d be great”. Then she started helping me to assemble a crew. Miguel would be my primary kayaker and Kris would be my relief kayaker. Carol would be traveling with me and acting as my observer and Alice is my crew person.

Next I got in touch with Evan. He set me up with Brent as a pilot. When I talked on the phone to Brent he was as excited as Alice. He told me about Angels’ swim, and how impressed he was by her being so tough. I genuinely appreciated hearing the enthusiasm in his voice.

Over the next few months I trained. Sometimes twice a day and almost always 6 days a week. I monitored my resting heart rate, and my recovery was generally more quick than it was for Catalina. My times started to drop too. I was now comfortably holding a 1:35 per 100 yard pace… 1:30 was doable but a push. My longest training swim was from Scripps Pier to Crystal Pier and back to La Jolla (just under 13 miles) in 7 hours. There were currents and the water was brisk. It was by far one of the best swims I’ve ever had.

I’ve had a new challenge these past few months as well. When I was training for Catalina all I had was part time work at the middle school with the sometimes moody, but always funny student I was assigned to. This time though I was at the elementary school and I was taking a 5 unit biology class (working towards an OT program). Being at the elementary school also meant I was sick. All the time. I trained when I was sick, but with less intensity and more intensity when I was well.

The full schedule also meant that I didn’t write or paint and draw as much as I’d hoped. We also bought a house and got a third dog. So there went more time too. There were nights I’d come home from school crying. Feeling defeated by the full laundry basket or the trash bins that needed to be taken down the drive way. My husband, bless his heart, was there to collect the pieces and pick up the slack when I was flailing.

As soon as finals were over I got in touch with Evan again. I assured him that I’m not a fast swimmer (I consider Gracie a fast swimmer and me a glacier pre global warming). He plotted my times and stalked the currents. When I reiterated that I’m not fast he quickly responded with “fast enough!” I thanked him for his help and he told me he wanted me to be successful. I genuinely appreciated this. I’ve only met him 2-3 times but i know he’s a good guy.

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