Thursday evening I completed my first ever ocean swim. It was short. I was scared…of being swept out to sea, of jellyfish, of sharks…just like Nemo’s dad.
But it turned out to be an exhilarating experience that I can’t wait to repeat.
Of course, I’ve been in the ocean. But I’ve never donned cap and goggles and actually gone swimming. Why? Well, up until 4 years ago I wasn’t a swimmer. And I don’t like salt water. And the ocean is big and scary.
But when the President of your company, with whom you’re in Ft. Lauderdale on business, suggests a run to the ocean and a swim, well, how could you refuse? The 2.5 mile run to the beach gave us a great opportunity to chat and for me to get to know more about the company I joined 3 weeks ago, and of course for me to make a good impression. Turns out James is an avid swimmer and completed Nations triathlon in September. So we also talked triathlon.
When we got to the beach we stashed our run gear under a lifeguard stand (I noticed with some regret it was unmanned) and hopped into the ocean. The cold water felt great after running in the sticky South Florida air. But the waves were kinda big. James deftly dove into a wave while I, well, waited…and waited…and realized I just had to bite the bullet.
Of course what I actually did was swallow a huge mouthful of salt water. But then I start swimming. And I realized how fun it was to be lifted up by the waves. Of course, timing the breathing is essential, but it actually was quite easy. We swam parallel to the shore, and I watched the hotels pass by on one side, the brightly-lit ships on the other. When James got too far ahead of me he’d backstroke to keep an eye on me and let me catch up.
It was hard to swim in a straight line and so I just tried to follow him. I was definitely afraid I’d start swimming out to sea. The water was murky, but at one point I thought I saw a jellyfish, although it could have been a plastic bag… It started getting dark quickly so we decided to call it a day. As we walked back along the beach to our starting point, James pointed out a dead jellyfish on the beach. I said it was a good thing we hadn’t seen that before our swim, because I wouldn’t have gone in the water.
Although I probably would. Because, after all, if the President of your company says swim, you swim, right?