Fitness Blog


Life Lessons from the Save the Bay Swim!

To give this perspective, I swim about 3 miles a year (including these 2), so this was like a non-runner casually going out for their annual half marathon.

And just to complicate things, we set up the LbF inflatable arch at the finish area beforehand. This year we got delayed due to weather, so it went from sit around and wait (and watch lightning illuminate the pre-dawn sky), to hurry up, set up the arch, drop off the kayak, and catch (or in our case – miss) the shuttle to the start area. Time got crunched and I’m pretty sure I was the last swimmer in the water; I didn’t even have time to breathe, believe and go…I just went.


Anyway, the swim started smoothly but within 5 minutes I couldn’t breathe. This often happens. I start off cool calm and collected, then my heart rate increases and before you know it, I’m struggling for air every other stroke instead of every three like I prefer. After a while of laboring for air, I looked back and realized I wasn’t nearly as far from the start as I’d hoped, and the finish was literally nowhere in sight (seriously I couldn’t see the LbF arch). None of these realizations were good for my technique. Ha!

The Start

I have experienced this before, so I accepted it as part of the routine and worked on relaxing into a manageable breathing pattern and pace. It wasn’t comfortable or fun, but I was patient and focused on staying on top of the water and on course to Jamestown.

Finding a Rhythm

I eventually found my rhythm and it was amazing! There’s nothing as awesome as being connected to your breath during an open water swim. I run trails and do pretty epic hikes. I’ve felt the runner’s high and second wind, but finding the open water swim groove is the best! Add in the unique opportunity this event provides plus the beautiful bridge above, and you have a truly special RI experience!


So, after another rough start, I got to enjoy a solid 1.5 miles out of that 2 mile swim! Even when we hit the current at Taylor Point, and I was essentially on a swim treadmill for 10-15 minutes, I leaned into the difficulty and enjoyed literally pulling through it.


It was a welcome reminder that I’ll share with y’all – when life gets uncomfortable and you can’t breathe, be patient and keep going! Usually relaxing and focusing on your breath is the answer, but sometimes you have to accept discomfort and lean into it!

Much love,