Well, what can I say. This whole MS Megaswim adventure certainly didn’t turn out as we’d planned.
It all started with one ambitious friend. Myself and another were first to commit. I’ve already told you about my shoulder injury debacle.
By the actual event, I was the only one out of us three who was actually fit to swim…
Luckily we managed to convince a bunch of people to swim for The Sharkies and our team of 15 or so ended up raising nearly $5000 for MS Australia. It was all good in the end.
Except for the illnesses.
My, my… where do I begin?
About a week out from the event, one of our swimmers fell ill and let us know that we’d need to either find someone to cover his spot or all swim a little longer.
“Michelle and I can just start earlier and do a bit extra,” my midnight shift swimming partner typed, dobbing us in.
I thought about my shoulder. I hoped it wouldn’t come to that.
That was before she was rushed to hospital with appendicitis three days prior to the event.
Suddenly I was facing not only “a bit extra” but three hours in the pool after midnight alone.
We’d already roped in everybody we knew who was remotely into swimming. Friends of friends of friends of friends became Sharkies. Who else could I ask? It would be bad enough for me with my painful arm stroke to even swim the 1.5 hours we’d originally planned… let alone more.
In the end, Mum stepped in. Always keen to help out, and enthusiastic about any kind of crazy adventure, she was way keener that she could have been given the circumstances.
“So, I just realised I think it’s been three years since I was last in a pool and I don’t own bathers or goggles. Can you lend me some?” She asked with a deranged grin.
I knew we were up for a challenge.
“Just take it easy, you don’t want to rupture your shoulder,” Mum warned as I started towards the pool.
“Nah, don’t worry. I’ll probably just do about half a k of freestyle then I’ll switch to breaststroke and see how I go,” I replied.
My strokes were long and slow. I knew I was in for the long haul so the mindset was different to usual. I did my 20 laps. It was barely a warm-up. I kept going. I didn’t end up switching to breaststroke until I’d done 2km of freestyle non-stop. That’s the distance I normally cover in one swim session – I get bored if I try to do any more. But this was only the beginning.
It was somewhere past the 2km mark that I started to get delirious. If I wasn’t face down in water I would’ve laughed at myself.
“92…92…92… counting laps is easy, 92…92… they don’t even need that clipboard for the team beside the pool to keep track…92…92…93…after 93 will be 94…then I’ll be (92..92…) nearly halfway from 90 to 100…when I’m at 94, I mean…not now, I’m still on 92…92…93… then after 94 is 95…96…woops, where was I? No seriously. Was it 94? 90? 92? Total brain melt. Oh, I’m at the wall now. Better make it 93…93…93…”
I likened my change of mindset to something I often get when I’m on a plane.
First comes the incredulity of the situation: “Nine hours is soooo much time to sit on this silly plane. What on Earth can I do to keep occupied until we arrive? This is going to be soooo painful.”
Then comes scrutiny and hope: “Hmm, there are some great movies on this plane. I wonder whether I have enough time to fit all three of these into the nine hours? As well as sleeping and eating and reading my book…”
And finally a new sense of renewed energy is born: “Right, lets get started on this movie so I can finish it before the food arrives.”
Striving for a goal to reach within a time limit can change that time from seeming long and arduous to almost short. And excitingly rushed.
As I arrived at the pool I found out one of the other girls had swum nearly 6km. “That’s insane. I could never do that,” was my first thought. Then, slowly, when I’d covered a bit of distance: “Actually I’m feeling like I can keep swimming, and at this rate, I’ll struggle to match that distance.” Then finally: “Alright, lets see how close we can get to that crazy 6km target then, shall we?”
It worked. Well, nearly. I did 5.9km. I had to adapt my stroke to stop my shoulder from giving in. It was fine. It was a challenge. We felt pretty great afterwards.
Mum covered about a third of the time while I swam for two thirds. The break she was able to give me in the middle of my two sessions was much needed and much appreciated! I have no idea what we would have done if she hadn’t have stepped in.
Unfortunately our spirited leader was also struck down with illness at the last minute and wasn’t able to swim herself – so it was all a bit of a debacle. But we had a bit of fun and raised a stack of money for MS Australia.
My shoulder may have taken a backwards step in its recovery but I can’t exactly complain!
And of course, here’s another huge thanks to all of those who donated to this very worthy cause.
I can’t believe we didn’t even take a great team photo – we were just too busy swimming I guess. The orange blob in the water is me… The arm in the air is my ‘good’ arm.