In Spain I made friends with the sea. Faced with 3 kilometers of salty blue expanse and an island to circumnavigate, I had little choice but to conciliate. Months of ruminations, weeks of mental work and days of close observation of conditions did the job of finding a way forward. At the blast of the starting horn I still had more questions than answers, but the truth lay only forward and the Mediterranean beckoned. “I am the sea, come and see, si!” I strode into her with my mind open.

500 meters or more and we were all still fighting, the muted, slow-motion kickboxing match that is the opener of a mass start triathlon. Limbs everywhere, feet on hands, bodies colliding; I evaded blows to the head and finally found space as we rounded the first corner.
nd then where? Buoys were scarce and swells rising; nothing for it but to follow feet and hope those ahead were sighting true.
Steady across the far side of the rocky island, and a boost of speed as we rounded the far corner and turned, briefly, toward land. Then across the lee and the chop became the challenge. Always on my breathing side, always fighting my rhythm. I took in a mouthful and for a moment wondered if that was it, was I done? How much sea water can one swallow before the effects are insurmountable and the nausea leads to ruin? Apparently more than one, as I continued and suffered no ill effects once the momentary repulsion passed. Long and strong, finish to the wall, recover and catch wide. Snap it through, elbow high, repeat. Find the high spots, sight then, save the back. Press forward, there is no stopping.
I can smell the oil and gas of the jet skis and boats from a great distance. There is no sea life to be seen, and all the better. My focus remains sharp. Find the ways through.
The final turn and the beach is in sight. There are some 90 miles left to go and a sprint would be a detriment, but my excitement warrants it. I’ve done something new, that I doubted and feared. I step out of the sea smiling. My race has been won.

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