Swimming the Keys

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There are those runs every so often, when you feel like you can run forever without even a hint of fatigue. Where your mind drifts off into that happy place and your body just relaxes. I’ve gone to that place a few times while running but never when swimming. Its kind of hard to get into a groove when every 18 strokes a huge wall looms and forces you to break stride to turn yourself upside down in some elementary school style pool trick just to put in another 18 strokes and hit the other wall.

It’s been 15 years, 25 yards at a time and no happy place. That is until last week when I took my Christmas gift to the deck. I had my eye on it for over a year when my parents found out and gave me a waterproof case for my iPod, an H2O Audio case for my third generation Nano and the Laird Hamilton earphones to match.

I figured if I was going to meet my goal at Wildflower this year, I needed to put in some major yardage at the Y. So I situated my Nano inside the case, locked it down, slipped the neoprene belt around my waist and fiddled with the earphones for a bit. The first few laps were less than enjoyable trying to get the volume adjusted, the earbuds set just right and the pressure fixed in my ears from the watertight fit. But once I got set up, I was immediately in another world.

The experience of counting my strokes- 1,2,3; 2,2,3; 3,2,3; 4,2,3; Flip- was instantly replaced by the feel of the tepid water gliding across my skin. With Jimmy playing, I could see the sun streaming in from the open roof as if it were shining down from a tropical sky. The water suddenly was the clearest ocean water I had ever seen. I was swimming around some tidal island in the Keys just a few feet from shore. No more stroke counting and flips, just a constant revolution around the island. When I pop my head out of the water for a moment to breathe I catch a glimpse of a Key deer nibbling some grass just below a patch of palm trees moving ever so slightly with the Prevailing Westerlies. I had just slipped into the water from my 22’ Catalina anchored offshore to wake up with the feel of the coolness of the sea and get a little exercise in before lounging the rest of the day away in my topside hammock, writing and enjoying being in one of the coolest places that God has made.