When I woke up early this morning at 6am to by blaring alarm it was dark, a little overcast and my sheets of sleepiness were relentless with letting me untangle from my dreams. The alarm went off a second time. Snooze… And then a third. I took a moment and then sprung out of bed like a cat. Yes, this was the day.
After successfully burning a piece of toast and quickly throwing everything into my bag and then myself out the door, I finally made it onto my impatient bike. As I rode down my street it seemed the popcorn clouds were clearing, the orange sun slowly peeking through their curtains on the horizon. With every pedal I was becoming more and more alert. But the butterflies in my stomach were also beginning to flutter a little more insistently.
As I approached the beach I was taken aback. There were volley ballers, runners, boot campers, yogis and dog walkers. Everyone enjoying the delicious morning. My tempo increased, my destination in site. As I arrived I was feeling rather awkward. I didn’t know anyone and I seemed alone in a jumble of pink lollypop swimming caps.
A couple of minutes later however, I was approached by many people. They were all so friendly and excited. The butterflies started to disappear a little. Well, that was until I looked out at the huge sets rolling in off the shore and crumbling into the sandbanks.
However with not much more time to think, with the tide I was quickly swept into the ocean amongst the happy crowd. Let me re: phrase that. Cold Ocean. Cold ocean with sea creatures and just me and the elements. Cold ocean where I could not see the bottom. But I was off and paddling.
The first leg on the way to Shelly Beach I was looking directly into the sun. In fact to be honest, I had no idea where the hell I was going – Could have been New Zealand. I couldn’t decide how to breathe, every 2 or every 3? I needed a rhythm. The other thing I had to get used to was how deep the marvelous ocean actually was. Where did I look? There was no black line like back in the pool! Slowly it came and I became a part of the living organ of what we call the ocean.
Not that I’m competitive or anything but I developed a strategy of picking the next swimmer and swimming them down. I think I only ran people over a couple of times whilst blinded by the sun! At one point I also almost jumped a mile when I realised that 2 scuba divers were in fact not sharks, when silver bubbles suddenly surrounded me.
And then, it got sneakily shallower and a couple of stingrays and fish later I was there! We all came up for some fresh air and to catch our breath, our chatter bouncing off the sunlit surface. The organiser announced that the beach had been closed for our return. It was at our own risk to swim back in through the breakers. Somehow, call me crazy, but this motivated me. Now I had to do it!!
My rhythm was better this time. I had a better sense of direction, more confidence and purpose. A final destination! As I came past the point the waves were rolling in in perfect mountainous sets, crystal clear aqua giants, daring us to challenge.
And we did challenge. Fighting against their clubs of white as we headed back towards the shore, a thundering behind us - roars of fury. However I managed to escape! Riding a great blue horse of a wave right into the beach, adrenalin spiking. As I clumsily stood up and swayed in the shallows, my whole body was tingling and my lungs were burning. Everything singing from my head to my toes, “THAT WAS AMAZING!”
The rest of my day I have been stress free and inspired. I stepped out of my comfort zone and won. I did something different and I loved it. This had been on my “to do” as a 2013 resolution. Why didn’t I do it earlier?
Everyday I see clients in my clinic who are falling apart due to stress. They always have busy lives and never take time out (even 5 minutes!) or spend all their time looking after other people. Unfortunately they don’t always get to look after themselves and in the end their health suffers. Exercise can be so powerful to generate a healthy mind, positive food choices and life balance. So can reducing your stress and lifting your mood or inspiration in healthy ways rather than turning to food or alcohol.
I encourage you:
Get out there
Swim with your sharks
Beat your giants
Reduce your stress!