:: eye of the storm ::

About Me

A 27-year-old PA student who wants to visit all seven continents, write a book, work at a pediatric clinic in Africa, and basically meet as many of the world's challenges as possible.

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Life List

(already accomplished)

Become a PA

Visit all 7 continents

Take a SwimTrek trip

Bike through Western Europe

Raft the Grand Canyon

Improve my Spanish proficiency

Go on safari in Africa

Trace my roots at Ellis Island

Vacation in Hawaii

Work on a hospital ship in a Third World country

Celebrate New Year's in Times Square

Visit all 50 states (29 to go: AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NM, ND, OK, OR, RI, SD, TX, UT, VT, WA, WV, WI, WY)

See the ruins at Pompeii

Swim in Capri's Blue Grotto

Tour Mt. Vesuvius

Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain

Tour the Colosseum

Visit the D-Day beaches

See the Mona Lisa

Visit the palace at Versailles

See the Acropolis and Parthenon

See the Egyptian pyramids

Hike the Inca Trail

Walk El Camino Santiago

Take an Alaskan cruise

View the Taj Mahal at sunrise

Hike Table Mountain in South Africa

Climb through the Amazon canopy

Walk at least part of the Great Wall of China

Get laser hair removal

Learn to surf, ski, and snowboard

Learn to drive a stick-shift

Learn to play the piano

Go on a tropical cruise

Ride horseback on the beach

Ride in a hot air balloon

Get tickets to the Olympics

Go to adult Space Camp

Witness a shuttle launch from up close

Build a full-sized snowman

Sew a quilt out of my old race T-shirts

Update and continue my Life Scrapbook

Become the oldest person to ever do the River Run

Live to be a happy, healthy 100 years old - at least!

(unlikely dreams)

zondag 22 mei 2005

Well, I suppose everyone's wondering how the swim went, but guess what: it didn't!

Yeah, that's right; the weather didn't want to cooperate. I booked a $60 (scary) hotel room, drove 4 1/2 hours to Charleston ($25 gas both ways), drove around to find the company headquarters so I could pick up my race packet (T-shirt, swim cap, number (299), and lots of little free things), had dinner at Moe's, took a bath, read my new book cover to cover, set the alarm for 5:30, got up on time, got dressed, got packed, drove to the Charleston Harbor Hilton, parked, rode the shuttle to the race site...

And then we all stepped off the bus in our T-shirts and flip-flops, got blasted by a 45-degree wind chill, froze in our tracks, and looked at each other like, "No WAY."

The river was slate-gray with whitecaps as far as the eye could see. The current was also moving pretty swiftly (2 mph), which could have helped us if not for the fact that it was flowing somewhat diagonally into shore rather than straight downstream. Then there was the aforementioned wind, making things even colder and more hairy.

So... we sat. And shivered. And wrapped our towels around us. And waited until the 8:00 start time. I made friends with a bunch of people, particularly a neonatal nurse, a swimmer my age, a middle-aged triathlete who kept saying defiantly, "I don't swim," (it was her weakest leg of the race), and Kathleen Wilson, the only person from South Carolina ever to swim the English Channel. I noticed her because she had my build and haircut, but then I overheard something she was saying about going to Zurich, and we started talking about Europe. Somebody tipped me off later as to who she was, and I did ask her a few questions about how she'd trained, but not half the things I thought of later on that I should have asked. Anyway, she was excited that I was going swim Key West; we sat together on the bus going back and she told me she'd look up the results and see how I did. (No pressure, huh?... LOL!)

But anyway, at 8:00 they decided to put off the race for an hour - the maximum time they could delay it, due to the change in tides afterward. They knew it was supposed to clear up later in the day, but they didn't know if it would be soon enough. So, for a total of 2 1/2 hours, we sat, shivered, wandered around, chatted with random people, made predictions, and hoped.

All for nothing, as it turned out, because they canceled the race. The Coast Guard and the kayak escorts had been out on the water all morning, testing the conditions, and they were getting tossed around pretty good. They said with the waves, there was no way the swimmers would be able to see where we were going (like that 'bowl' of water I talked about in St. Augustine), and they also didn't feel a hundred percent confident in their ability to corral 350 swimmers of various abilities in conditions like that. So we climbed, grumbling, back onto the buses and went back over to the Hilton, a little further up the river, for our 'after-party'.

At 10:00, as we walked up to the outdoor bar where the food was, we all noticed how calm the water seemed...

And as we stood in line, the sun came out.


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