Well…let’s all just hope that “hindsight is really 2020”. 2020 a year to remember and to forget! I vividly recall standing in Copley Square ringing in the new year looking at the Prudential lit up with 2020 and thinking of grand dreams and swimming goals. By March 12th life as we knew it suddenly…changed.
The COVID-19 virus, in what would become a global pandemic effected every part of our lives social, recreation, the workplace and the economy. We learned new buzz words such as social distancing, physical distancing and quarantining and adapted to new norms like faces masks, standing 6 feet apart and not hugging or shaking hands. Basically, it shut down many of the things we take for granted on a daily basis. In my case and since this is a swimming blog…pools, swimming with friends and events were kinda off-limits for much of the year or severely altered (Social Distancing). Light blue links embedded to top blogs throughout the year.
I keep score of my swimming activity using the U.S. Masters Swimming fitness log aka Flog. My goal this year was to swim 569 miles which is one million yards. I closed they year with 560,000 yards or 348 miles which is ironically the distance from Bend, Oregon to Seattle, Washington (more on that later). It was over 174 hours of swimming in 149 sessions. For the first time in 9 years I didn’t hit my Flog goal. Also on the calendar were two big open water swims; the Strait of Bonifacio (Sardinia to Corsica) and the Catalina Channel in Los Angeles. I also added only 2 1/4 new pools to my goggle case~the North Boulder Rec Center and just days before the lockdown the Boston Sports Institute in Wellesley (#127 & #128~We ain’t ever getting older…). And course the plunge pool at 955 Pleasant Street in Boulder (#128.25~955 Pleasant Street).
With pools shut down in Massachusetts I had to pivot. So…I walked and walked and walked all over Boston. I got to know the side streets and alleys of Beacon Hill, the Back Bay and the South End. The Esplanade, the Public Garden, the Boston Common and Comm Ave became became my friends. From March through June in the heart of the quarantine I walked 336 miles over 90 hours to keep my sanity (No pool, no problem (ish)).
In late May/early June there were glimmers of swimming hope as Lake Cochituate warmed up. The gang began to assemble at the south end of the lake Pam’s Pond and the northern part which became Ben’s Bayou. Everyone was so happy-yes to swim but more importantly to see and be with each other! We were starved for water and camaraderie. As always we made our own fun with crazy swims around the lake. This year we introduced the Spirit of 1776(0) swim which was 17,760 yards (10 miles) over the 4th of July holiday (The Spirit of 1776(0)).
And then miracles of miracles the Wayland Community Pool opened for Masters swim practices! Of course, there were Covid restrictions as to the number of people in a lane, a weekly Covid questionnaire and how we entered and l left the pool. That was all ok-we were lap swimming again under the watchful eye of swim coach extraordinaire Coach Jen. Besides her awesome workouts she has been able to navigate the ever changing Covid rules and regulations to keep a bunch of neurotic swimmers happy! She is the best!!!
In the midst of all this pandemic stuff we bought a home in Bend, Oregon. I was able to get some swimming in at Juniper Park Pool (home of my first swim team) and at Elk Lake. We moved to Bend in November and I enjoyed about two weeks of swimming before the “freeze” (Freeze). Yup~all swimming pools were closed in Oregon due to a spike in Covid cases. After two weeks certain pools could open again-outdoor pools. Fortunately, the only outdoor pool within 150 miles is our club in Tetherow. While not totally ideal from an intense workout point of view i.e. no pace clock, too shallow and too warm-I will take it! It has been a life saver the last couple months of 2020.
In 2020 there was a global pandemic that altered our world permanently, I had no major swim accomplishments nor did I reach my Flog distance goal. Some may even say the year was a total bust. Well…that was not the case. There was also a lot of good and change that came out of it.
Let me try and identify some highlights. First we had a fun year living in the Back Bay in an apartment with fabulous city views. If there wasn’t a pandemic I would have never got to know the city of Boston in the intimate way I did by walking its historic streets day after day and seeing the seasons change.
After 20 years of living on the East Coast we moved back to the West Coast and bought a beautiful new home in Bend. We are closer to family and hopefully in a place the kids will want to come and visit. So far so good.
Swimming-wise I learned that my yardage and big swim goals are not why I swim. It’s for the shared experiences and the friendships. I always knew that but 2020 put a finer point on it. Swimming kept us all grounded, sane and most importantly appreciating each other and our friendships.
2020 wasn’t a great year by any stretch of the imagination but it wasn’t all bad either. In the end we learned to adapt to radical change and to appreciate relationships and what’s most important in life even more so.
Looking forward to 2021 and all it potentially has to offer. Not sure what the year will hold but swimming wise I know it’s starting off right-with a trip to Maui in eight weeks for some open water swimming! 😉 🤙🏽
Happy New Year!
Thank you Bob for your words and positive spirit. Life is great! Best wishes to all of your family.
XO Sue Chisholm
Thank you Sue you are my most faithful reader! Happy New Year!!!