28 September 2013

Australia to Greece: from the Pacific to the Ionian

Australia to Greece: from the Pacific to the Ionian

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Rebecca on the right and the green team (A.k.a The Royal Marines!)

In the depths of the Antipodean winter of 2012, I was working outside in the mud, rain and wind, dreaming of a holiday in the sun. And of swimming in warm, clear water. Somewhere. Anywhere.

In my dotage I have come to learn something useful. It is this: if you want to do something, it won’t happen by merely talking about it and wishing for it. To make things happen requires an action towards the goal.

So if I was going to have a holiday, then I needed to commit to it. The question was – what holiday? Somehow in my internet travels I came across a company offering swim holidays. And a light pinged on deep in the chilled recesses of my mid-winter brain.

Trawling through cyberspace I found The Big Blue Swim based out of Greece. Greek islands! Greek food! I’d been there in my youth and worked in a café on Corfu. But this was swimming 25 kilometres around or between or along 12 Ionian islands in 6 days. Could I do it? There was one way to find out. I booked a place.

Then in December 2012 disaster struck. A kick from a young horse at work shattered my pelvis. I wondered at the time if I’d be able to walk or run or swim again. And in the early stages of rehab the advice from the physio was to get in the pool but not to kick!!!** When I went to the pool three weeks after the surgeons bolted me back together again, the thing I most felt like doing was stretching out and kicking. So I did. And instead of spending my time in the therapeutic pool, I started doing laps from day one. My relief was immense. I could at least swim even if I wasn’t very fit and still walked with a bit of a limp.

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When I finally arrived in Greece in September 2013 my pelvis had healed. But I was worried that at 58 I’d not only be the oldest but also, the slowest. I knew I was underdone because the longest I’d actually swum in a pool at one stretch was 50 minutes or (at my speed) less than 3kms. I’d done no open water swimming since it was the Australian winter (yes winters get below zero where I live) and I was a fair distance from the coast. Plus I was a sook, I guess.

Consequently, it was a relief when just before I left for Greece, the organisers reassured me that it was going to be very relaxed and I could use fins if I wanted to. Phew! I figured I could probably manage 5kms - slowly - with fins on.

Through the week our group of twelve swimmers built up slowly, starting with a 1.6km swim which I knew could do. The turquoise water was warm and mostly calm. There were plenty of stops along the way to check out the gorgeous scenery and catch juice bottles tossed to swimmers from our support boats. The swim distances increased daily, so by Friday when the ‘big’ heroic 5km swim was scheduled, I figured that if I just plodded, I could get there. And it worked! In fact better than that. I discovered that on a longer swim its possible to get into a good rhythm so I reckon that I swam faster splits on the 5km swim than I’d done all week. And I didn’t need to use fins once in the whole six days to keep up with my group. Yay!

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What did I enjoy the most from my Greek swim holiday? Three things. The sense of achievement from swimming 5kms in one swim. Huge! Feeling I’d earned the yummy Greek taverna food we had on a different island every lunchtime and back at base on Lefkada in the evening. And thirdly making new friends in a group of like-minded people from around the world.

Rebecca Jacaranda Scott “www.gobarefoot.com.au”:http://www.gobarefoot.com.au Victoria,Australia
Biz FB Page: Hoof Trim Network

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