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Oct 10, 2017 12:29PM ● Published by Jan Guenther

I am hesitant to add the final sentence, “with Love and Gratitude,” to the above title because I risk sounding trite. But I have decided it IS important, and without it, I would never be satisfied. Let me explain.  

Many of us yearn for more experiences than our daily life provides. For me, I look ahead a year or so and decide what cool trip I can undertake that will expand my world. Perhaps a new activity, in a new place, that will introduce me to new friends and maybe force me to explore new ways of doing things.

This year I signed up for two SwimRun events, one in Stockholm, Sweden (early June) with my brother and one in the Casco Bay Islands outside Portland Maine (mid-August) with over 5 miles of ocean swimming. Translate: cold water, tides and saltiness.  In both participants must be literally tethered together with a partner. (www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/the-running-blog/2015/nov/12/swimrun-is-this-the-wildest-sporting-event-going)

I recently returned from the Casco Bay SwimRun race. Its finish  marked the end of my out of state, summer 2017 adventures.  However, the beauty of the Casco Bay area, the challenge of swimming between islands and running across islands while clothed in a wetsuit, stuck in wet running shoes and connected to my race partner by a 3 meter long webbing continues to generate a colorful montage of memories.

I mentally rest for a moment here and there, within my busy workday, to relive the enjoyment of these past adventures. Pieces of it include: the difficulty of the swim; the shock of the cold water; the pull of the tides; the scramble to right my body on the shoreline’s slippery rocks; the solitude of the boats moored in the bays.  Much of it was physically tough on me, yet at the end, when served the race dinner of Maine clams and lobster, I felt and still feel, so much more ALIVE than any less physical trip could provide.

But, of course, I am now back in Long Lake and face my largest hurdle ~ the operational challenges of growing a retail store in the midst of the ‘Amazon Uprising.’  Yet instead of feeling frustrated with work life, I have gratitude and excitement for the days ahead.

Why? For me I feel it is so imperative to take the time, be it in church or in one’s own spiritual location, to embrace what we can do to expand our soul. This year it was SwimRuns, last year it was a back country ski trip in the Canadian Rocky’s and the Ironman in Madison, Wi. The year before, an x-c ski tour across Finland captured my emotions. And not to sound too exotic, the three day Arctic Circle Race in Greenland engulfed me with experiences in 2014.

To feel healthy and alive and to complete unique trips, which have been physically and financially earned, give me the confidence and the energy to make my way through less adventurous but just as challenging goals at home.  


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