If you have ever not been able to do something, or threatened by that possibility, because your body doesn’t work – it can make you want to do it all that much more. This is my life with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a life of possibilities. It is one where I believe the possibility that I can’t is as great as the possibility that I can. Therefore, I chose to try.
In 2014 I will put possibilities to the test through three challenges. Each challenge will test both my mental determination and physical abilities in different ways. All of the challenges will test my ability to deal with the unique challenges MS presents along the way.
Challenge 1 – English Channel Relay
Some time between Sunday, July 20 and Saturday, July 26, 2014 I will attempt to swim across the English Channel with 3 friends (Bill, Jim and Karen). The swim will start at Shakespeare Beach, Dover and end at Cap Gris Nez, France. The distance is 32 kilometers as the crow flies however it is likely we will be affected by tides and currents hand have to swim further. The water will be anywhere from 15 to 18 C and the conditions can be rough. We will each swim one hour and then rest for 3 and then repeat until done. The swim is expected to take anywhere from 10 to 16 hours.
My biggest challenge will be managing the cold water – my body’s ability to re-warm and re-cold – and fatigue. In the past I have found cold water swimming exhausting.
Challenge 2 – Na Pali Challenge – Kauai
Outrigger paddling is one of my life’s passions. Because of my extreme heat intolerance it is something I thought would not be possible. I started paddling about 4 years ago and have since found ways to minimize MS flare-ups in the boat.
On Sunday, August 3, 2014 I will join 5 other wahine and 6 kane for a 61 kilometers outrigger canoe race along the Na Pali coast with crew changes of men and women from the water every hour.
My biggest challenges will be making the team and surviving the heat.
Challenge 3 – 70 Kilometer Swim
After this summer’s 34 kilometer swim across Lake Cowichan I wondered if I could do more. I have decided to find out what is possible. From Friday, August 22 to Saturday, August 23, 2014 you will find me, along with my fantastic swim partner Alex Cape, swimming the lake – from end to end – and then back again. The swim is expected to take approximately 24 hours.
Lake Cowichan can be as calm as it can be cruel. On our way down, we hope the winds have subsided limiting our challenge to the dark and cold. On the way back, after 18 hours of swimming, it is likely the wind will kick up and we will battle 3 to 4 foot waves.
My biggest challenge will be the sheer distance and lack of sleep.
I am truly blessed that I am able to explore my possibilities and am looking forward to what lay ahead. I know through circumstance that what’s not possible is as possible as what is possible. The question now: what’s my possible? and what’s yours?