About a year ago, I swam across the Chesapeake Bay. On Sunday, as a couple hundred people made the same 4.4-mile journey as part of the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim, I swam back and forth across the shoreline at Sandy Point State Park, where the race starts, as a routine open-water swimming workout.
It was my second real swim workout in months. I thought it would hurt as much as or more than my first real swim workout in months, as my triceps and lats and other swimming muscles sprang back to life after a long winter hibernation. Instead, it was like the Bay lent me some special strength, and I easily slipped into the rhythm that carried me through the race last year.
This is one of my favorite parts of distance racing of any sort—the way the race course remains infused with special meaning, even once the aid stations are packed up and the mile markers gone. City streets seem friendlier after you’ve run a marathon across them. In the same way, jumping into the Bay for a swim yesterday felt like greeting an old friend, and reminded me of why I like open-water swimming to begin with. It left me motivated to swim again, even if that means some laps in the pool to help prepare for more open-water fun.
Are there streets, parks or bodies of water that hold special meaning for you because you’ve raced there?