It sounds to me like Ross Edgley is nuts. He recently became the first human ever to swim around Great Britain’s 1,791-mile coastline. It took 157 days swimming 12 hours per day. I can find surprisingly little about his feat on the internet, but according to The Week, his tongue was rotting by the end. (Not to mention the 37 jellyfish stings, torn shoulder, and open neck wound from his wetsuit). I’m not sure what a rotting tongue entails…but I cannot really fathom continuing to swim with the pain. After spending an hour or two recently surviving through a period when my body was ready to not move anymore, I just cannot fathom 157 days at sea, swimming half of the daily hours, partly with a freaking rotting tongue!
We all have our own crazy in the things we pursue. While I think Mr. Edgley is nuts, I am inspired by these crazy people who push themselves in crazy ways.
It reminds me what drives me the most in triathlon. When I was 18, I set out to hike from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail. After leaving the trail in Northern California to spend time with family, I returned but never got back in the groove. My new hiking friends were ahead of me, and I pushed myself too hard when back on the trail and fought injuries. Just past the Oregon border (having skipped two small parts of California before getting there, but having hiked about 1,700 miles of the trail), I gave into a feeling of loneliness and I decided to end my trip.
This is still the biggest regret of my life; but it was one that regularly hounded me until I found triathlon. Yes, I still want to return and do the entire trail one year; but finding that kind of time at this stage in my life is difficult. Triathlon, and particularly long-distance triathlon, provides me with a physical challenge that I can fit into the rest of my current life. The race is a huge, miserable, day and something I am so grateful to overcome; but nearly every day, putting in the long training hours gives me a constant challenge as well. I’m not hiking the PCT, or doing some other crazy thing like swimming for 5 months straight, but it’s my own little bit of crazy that fits into my life. It’s the Trilfe, and I’m thankful to have found it.