4.4-mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge Swim: the contemplation phase

Is there anything more terrifying and thrilling than committing to a new challenge? It’s why we sign up for marathons after tackling halves, or look into triathlons after taking up cycling. New challenges expand our concept of what we can accomplish, and keep us motivated to head out the door to work out when we’d rather curl up under a blanket.

I didn’t exactly commit to a new challenge this week. But I did commit to think about committing to one by registering for a lottery spot for the 4.4-mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge Swim.

This A. Aubrey Bodine photo of the Bay Bridge captures how I feel during peaceful moments of the Bay Bridge Swim.


I’ve done the Chesapeake Bay Bridge 1-Mile Challenge, derisively called the “Baby Bay,” twice, and placed in my age group both times. The distance and course are comfortable, but I can always work on the challenge of defending my “title” (ha!) or besting my previous time. Still, the 4.4-miler, a terrifying journey from one shore to the other, with a terrifying registration cost of $250, has my attention, and I’m at least thinking about committing to it.

Psychologists call this the “contemplation” stage of goal-setting or behavior-changing, and say it’s marked by ambivalence and conflicted emotions (yep), with a stark understanding of what’s at stake (my “fun” budget for the next two months thanks to the $250 registration, my Saturday mornings thanks to long swims). The lottery-selection process might decide for me. Even if I do get picked, I’ve got some time to continue contemplating before I start the next phases of goal-setting: preparation, followed by action.

What’s your style when it comes to registering for races? Do you ponder and contemplate, or just take the plunge and sign up?


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8 responses to “4.4-mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge Swim: the contemplation phase

  1. Liz

    4.4 miles! That scares me (so does the $250!). But you are clearly an awesome swimmer so I hope you get the spot.
    My race sign-up-M.O. is to make a training schedule to see if it’s doable with my schedule and fitness levels and then sign up way in advance.

  2. I will let you know if I submit the ballot as well! 🙂

  3. I have no doubt you’d be up for the challenge.
    But too pricey for my taste.

  4. PS I take the plunge. That’s how I got talked into running my first (and only, so far) 100 Mile race, clearly!

  5. Courtney

    sounds like you are in training to come over here and swim the english channel.

  6. whoa! i didn’t realize swimming was so expensive!! i guess they can charge so much since there aren’t many swimming events like their are road races… $250 is steep.

    i had to laugh at your “committing to commit to thinking about committing”. 🙂 good luck! (i hope you commit to commit to commit!

    • Important distinction: Most open-water swims are closer to the $50 or $60 range. This one’s pricey for a good reason—it takes lots of support boats to ensure it’s safe to swim across a major body of water—but that doesn’t make the $250 hit to my checking account any easier to stomach!

  7. Pingback: Gunning for a BQ « Amy Reinink

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