Approaching this milestone I’ve thought a lot about how I want to commemorate my hundredth day of swimming. I imagined a swimming field trip to somewhere amazing, an extra-long swim that would feel like a big accomplishment, but, mostly, I wanted to celebrate with my Albany Bulb swimming buddies. Coffee, treats, and lots of lovely people, many of whom have likely also swum one hundred times in 2022.
What I didn’t envision for this day was having Covid. When I realized I was becoming symptomatic yesterday afternoon, I wasn’t surprised. Days in the car with first one and then a second daughter with Covid, it was bound to get me. I had already grieved my big ideas for my 100th because even if I had remained asymptomatic, I was still planning to avoid interacting with anyone. But, yesterday I also let go of the idea that I would swim at all. One hundred days of swimming has taught me to be flexible; plans don’t always work out and you have to pivot. If I had to pivot away from a swim, that was okay.
But I’d gone to bed at eight, slept well, and woke up feeling a little achy, but not terribly sick. So, I decided to take a quick dip in the pre-dawn when no one else would be at the Albany Bulb.
The sun was just starting to light up the sky behind the Berkeley and Oakland hills when I arrived. I was the only car in the lot and felt slightly nervous about that fact but mostly relieved. I hurried out of my sweats and into my cap and booties and headed down the empty beach. There was a little breeze, but mostly it was warm, which I was grateful for so early in the morning. I’d forgotten my buoy and no longer have a waterproof phone case or working GoPro (that’s a story for another day), so I waded out into the water, snapped some pictures on my phone, and then returned the phone to my robe, which I left in the sand.
I glided out into the smooth, cool water. Immediately I felt well; the achiness from earlier, disappeared as the water bore my weight, cushioned and caressed my body. Ahead of me, the water turned an ice-blue, metallic color as the sun got higher; behind me, it was black with ribbons of gold. The birds sang their celebration to the new day in loud, clashing tunes. I floated on my side and on my back, paddled and drifted, all the while staying close to the shore. I didn’t stay for long.
As I bobbed along in the water, I reflected on the last hundred days. From the familiar to the spectacular, the water has given me soul-nourishing experiences every single day; it’s given me a new perspective on my body, a deeper appreciation of the place I call home and the places I’ve visited; it’s enriched old friendships and created wonderful new ones; it’s boosted my mental health when I’ve needed it most and given me an extra shot of joy in otherwise happy moments. My gratitude for this daily practice, and to myself for staying committed to it, is overflowing.