Tag Archive: fundraising


You can read Part 1 of this story before continuing along here….

The TLDR version is:

  • 4 teams
  • 60 swimmers
  • 24 hours
  • Themes, costumes, crafts and colours….

Fast forward to the day before the event. I was riding my bike to work, as usual, via my usual route. Half way to work it started raining, and well, wet road, corner, next thing I knew I was on the ground. Pretty minor. People stopped to help and put me on a chair while I checked out my skinned knee. I felt pretty fine, though, and the bike started. Pretty much a non-event so I hopped back on the bike and headed off.

And then I went to change gears. For those of you who don’t ride, you change gears with your right foot. One click down into first, then 4 clicks up for the next 4 gears. I was fine in first, but when I went to change to second gear, something felt pretty wrong. I realised there was no way I’d be able to park and walk the 5 mins to my office, so when I hit the point I usually turn left into my parking spot, I turned right instead…a road that took me to the back entrance of the Sydney Eye hospital emergency room.

9am on a Friday morning is a pretty good time to go to the emergency room, apparently, they had me straight in, no waiting. Examination and X-rays. I was trying very hard to believe that it wasn’t that bad, that it would pass, that I was just exaggerating things.

Apparently not. The X-rays came back with the bad news. One fractured ankle. Absolutely no swimming for me. This was the point at which I started crying.

20130622-112906.jpgTerrible luck, terrible timing. I posted , quite optimistically at the time, with intentions of liveblogging the Megaswim (spoiler alert – didn’t happen). One of our team captains, Bel, called me about some last minute Megaswim planning while I was still in the emergency room waiting on my moon boot and crutches. We had kept a list of backup swimmers (an essential part of planning an event like that) and she was soon onto the case of finding someone to fill my swimming shifts. Lucky for me, because they soon drugged me up to the eyeballs, wrapped and booted me, gave me prescriptions, a referral to the fracture clinic, crutch-lessons, and instructions to put no weight on my ankle at all, then sent me home. I immediately passed out from the effort of getting there (crutches are a major workout) and the painkillers and wouldn’t have been much good to anyone.

So there’s my tale of woe. Even the best laid plans can be thrown out at the last minute. And this sure threw out my plans.

Luckily, the universe, and that event in particular, did not actually revolve around me and my participation. The Megaswim went ahead as planned…..

Watch this space for part 3.

 

“From little things, big things grow”.

It’s a very Australian lyric, and a very Australian sentiment.

I’m not at all suggesting that what we did compares, but in terms of things I’ve done in my little life, the Megaswim ranks up there as a pretty amazing thing that I’m very, very proud of.

The background…last year, my sister (who swims well but mostly on her own) sent me a link with an idea. A 24 hour pool-swimming relay event and fundraiser for MS.

I tapped into social networking and we soon fielded a team of 15 fellow swimmers and the challenge was on.
By the end of last year’s event, the following statements were all true:

  1. We were all exhausted
  2. We had all had an amazingly excellent and truly fun time.
  3. We all knew each other a bit better than we had at the start (well, apart from me and my sister…that’d be a tough call)
  4. We all wanted to do it again next year.
  5. There was a crazy idea floated, that took hold amongst a heady atmosphere of sleep-deprivation, chlorine and nespresso….4SEASons=4 teams.

Fast forward to 2013 and the crazy ideas started to run into a reality. Coaches Zoe and Kingy were on board and Bel May threw her experienced Can Too captain’s hat in the ring so we have 4 team captains for 4 teams. Deep breaths and fingers crossed we’d get enough people to cover the relay for the whole time!

Once again, social media was integral and we signed up the maximum 60 swimmers: 15 per team. My personal (albeit ancient) experience in scheduling was pushed to its limits and we figured out some teams and mini-teams to ensure everyone shared the load, worked around their commitments, and generally got to swim with their good friends and loved ones.

One aspect that’s often overlooked, but is nonetheless a huge part of the Megaswim experience is the highly prestigious “Best Dressed Team” competition. WE organised a craft day prior to the big event to work on decorations and costumes, and discovered some fantastically talented people with skills we never knew about. Big shout-out to Chrissie, who conceived of the costumes, sourced the materials, and pretty much ran the show. My big talent in the area of arts and crafts was bringing my mum along!

The craft day was a big success, complete with catering and post-crafty wines at Gloria’s place!

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We were all completely set for the big event. What could possibly go wrong?

I blame the drugs.

I cannot believe I haven’t posted about the Megaswim here!!!!

In my defense I did break my ankle the day before the event and I was on some pretty heavy-duty painkillers for the duration.

I even actually started writing the review of the event, but for some reason put it in a word document on my work laptop (drugs!). The reason for that escapes me now, but I imagine it had something to do with the drugs. I think somewhere in my head I actually thought I’d written all about it.

I have a low tolerance for these things. Clearly.

So, we can all pretend it’s a week after the megaswim, not months, right? Right? It was too good not to write about!

Watch this space…

So, the other day this happened.

Screen Shot 2013-09-19 at 11.47.06 PMYes, you read that right. Probably the second time as you may have wondered what the hell it was you were looking at.

I’m equal parts petrified and excited (hint: a cr@pload of both) about this. I’ve been contemplating it for quite some time, and decided I needed to get in while the limited entries were open before I could back down or change my mind.

I’m unbelievably amazed by the fact that this is going to happen (and questioning my sanity in entering the non-wesuit category), and then trying to reassure myself with the fact that it’s not actually that cold (around 15 degrees Celsius) or actually that far (2.4km), It’s just the combination of those things that’s kind of freaking me out. And the jetlag. And the sharks (a myth to scare the prisoners, right?). My recent research Google search suggests that there are sharks in the bay, but not man-eating ones, and that there has never been a recorded attack on a person by a shark there. Whew!

So why would i do this to myself?

Well, apart from the California holiday I’m planning for myself after the event is done (assuming I survive!) I’m doing it as my goal swim. This year I’ll be mentoring a new long swim program for that brilliant bunch of crazies, Can Too.

If you happen to be in a position to join me, you can sign up on the Can Too website now.

If you’re not interested in swimming (very hard for me to believe!), you can still get on board and support my fundraising efforts via my Can Too Fundraising Link.

And wish me luck…escaping from Alcatraz!

Well, the good news is that my flu has gone.

The bad news is that I’m a clutz and a possible danger to myself.

So yesterday (the day before the MS Megaswim) this happened:

20130622-112906.jpg

A seemingly minor drop off my bike on a wet road turned out to be a broken ankle. Far out.

It totally sucks and is atrocious timing.

There might be a slight change of focus here for a few weeks, but this weekend I’m choosing to see it is freeing me up to get carried away live blogging the MS Megaswim.

Stick around, join the conversation, and requests will be considered, if you drop them in the comments.

After that, well, swimming as rehab? Dry land training and upper body strength building for swimmers? Guess I’ll have to get a bit creative. Wish me luck (and a speedy recovery).

MegaBowl!

One thing that I really love about ocean swimming, is that a lot of people get into it via charity events. This tends to mean that you get pretty great people, who are kind and selfless and generous with their time and their spirit involved.

This year, 4SEASons is putting in an appearance once again at the MS Megaswim…a 24 hour team relay at Sydney’s Olympic Park. A BIG appearance…4 teams totally 60 people!!!!

This is not just a fun event, but it is also a fundraising event to support sufferers of MS. I’ve been busily organising teams and scheduling and answering questions and communicating, so I was more than happy to leave organising a fundraising event to some of our other capable swimmers/fundraisers, and I’m happy to say they outdid themselves!

On Saturday afternoon, after training, we had the 4SEASons MegaBowl!!! lawn bowls afternoon. It was so much fun, having a BBQ, a bit of lawn bowls, some whale watching off the coast (the view from Clovelly Bowls club is million-dollar, btw), a cake stall and a massive raffle…and hanging out with all of us with our clothes on!

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What fun!

I brought along my Mum and my brother (also in town for my little sister’s engagement party) and we all had a cracker afternoon. My brother even took home the bowls trophy (and we’re not mentioning that most of the teams stopped playing when a bit of rain interrupted play!).

A hugely impressive sum of money has been raised so far…over $13k so far across all 60 of us, and I couldn’t be prouder.

The swim itself is in a couple of weeks, from noon on 22nd June to noon on Sunday 23rd. I’m sure there will be stories and photos galore so tune in after then. In the mean time..if you’d like to support our fundraising efforts, sponsorship is very welcome if you click on over to our team fundraising page….it’s such a great cause to support (and at the right end of the financial year, too).

I wrote a bit of a long post yesterday about the Palmy to Whale, and realised I spent a bit of time comparing it to last year. It did set off a bit of a lightbulb moment for me, that although I didn’t have this blog at the time, I did write about it. I sent out a race report to a bunch of people at work who supported me while I was training and raising money.

With only minor effort, I managed to dig up the report, so thought it might be interesting as a bit of a comparison!

If you’re even slightly interested….here it is (completely unedited apart from the comments with the asterisks and italics):

Hi everyone,

There have been so many generous people who have been supportive of my crazy swimming activities over the past months who have been wanting to know how it all finished up, so I thought I’d put together a little wrap up!

For those of you who might not have seen exactly what has been involved, here’s a little summary….

Since the start to November I’ve been training with Can Too, topping up with my regular squad training, doing a few(!) races to prepare for a goal swim, and even getting out under my own steam on occasion over the holidays. You know I’m a stats girl, so here they are:

  • 10 – Thursday Can Too Pool sessions
  • 9 – Saturday sessions at Bondi with Can Too (that’s 9 Friday nights wine-free!)
  • 8 – Tuesday squad sessions in the pool
  • 5 – Friday squad sessions at Bondi….admittedly a nice way to finish up the working week!
  • 2 – sessions under my own steam

And 6 races (make that 7 by next week), including my amazing goal swim last Sunday at the Macquarie Big Swim – Palm Beach to Whale beach.

And most importantly I’ve raised (to date) $1600 for Cure Cancer Australia to fund research into projects trying to, well, Cure Cancer. (It’s not too late if you still wanted to get in, as I’m participating in another event this Sunday. Click here if you’re keen) *Updated with 2012-13 fundraising page link in case you’re keen*

As for the big swim, for those of you who have been asking, here’s my Race Report!

Let me start by saying I’m not that good a swimmer. I’m actually pretty slow when it comes down to. I have too short a stroke and I may have squandered my 20s and a good chunk of my 30s drinking wine and working too hard and not doing anywhere near enough exercise. The good news is that a year ago a was an atrocious swimmer, and I’ve worked my way to just slow. What I do have going for me, though, is that I’m stubborn (I know, you’re shocked, right?). I keep going no matter what. Even when I’m tired and even when it’s tough.

I also trained through the winter and think I’ve had plenty of practice dealing with some pretty tough conditions.

So believe me when I say that the Palm Beach to Whale Beach was EPIC!!!!!!

I was nervous at the start. Very nervous. There may have been 3 visits to the bathroom in too short a space of time for me to have really drunk that much water!

Me, pre-race. Can’t even manage a smile for the camera!

Me, pre-race. Can’t even manage a smile for the camera!

I did a bit of a warm-up and that helped – getting off the beach, away from the chatter and into the cool, quiet water.

Then lined up and started!

I’m in there somewhere!

I’m in there somewhere!

I battled through some decent waves at the start, and made it to the first can (that’s what we call buoys in my sport) OK. Then I turned and headed towards the headland.

And I swam. And the waves rolled up and down. And I headed along the headland. And the waves rolled up and down some more. And more swimming. And more waves. You can see where I’m going with this, so I’ll give you the cliff notes version.

I swam for a really long time. The headland is quite long, and because of a rip they extended the course for us to come in the other side of Whale beach. In total, the race was about 2.8km long. And like swimming crossed with riding a roller-coaster.

This is what it look like from the air (last year…clearly not my own photo)…..for me it looked crooked a lot, and like bubbles and splashes and fish and other swimmers!

p2w12 course

Finally I reached the second can. Then shortly afterwards the 3rd and 4th…they were all grouped together just to guide you in.

I caught a monster wave. Big enough to loosen my trusty goggles….so rather than lose them I pulled them down around my neck and finished the race bare-eyed.

Eventually, I reached the shore. I could hear the rest of the orange-suited Can Too Crew (and supporters) cheering so rallied for a last dash for glory. And of course got a cramp as a I stood up and landed on my face in the sand. Signature Jacki-move!

Undeterred, I hauled myself up, and actually managed a run up the beach, hands in the air, and with a massive smile on my face! I’d done it!!! 68 minutes it took. Well slow even for the average for my division…but I felt like the biggest winner!

With my team-mate Sally at the finish line! Exhausted but grinning! And looking particularly styling in my orange swimmers and green cap! Hint – ocean swimming is not the sport for you if you want to look glamorous!

With my team-mate Sally at the finish line! Exhausted but grinning! And looking particularly styling in my orange swimmers and green cap! Hint – ocean swimming is not the sport for you if you want to look glamorous!

After a drink and catching my breath, I joined the Can Too tent for a celebratory BBQ. Tired and beyond happy!

So my next challenge is to join my friend and Can Too first-timer recruit (you may remember a girl named Ronene? *Who swam this event this year, instead of taking photos*) for her goal swim – 2km at the *Other event I boycott for reasons* this Sunday. She’s doubly impressive for swimming her goal swim on her (I’m not telling but it’s a significant) birthday!!!

So thanks everyone for the sponsorship and kind words of encouragement! I couldn’t have done it without you!

Well, I guess it had to happen some time. My utterly divine holiday to Western Australia has come to an end and I’m back East with a case of the post-holiday blues.

On Wednesday it was a return to training at ABC pool for Can Too training. It was my last day of holidays. Plus it’s always a concern coming back to training after a break as you don’t really know how much fitness you may or may not have lost until you actually get back into a session and see how it all feels.

I was pretty active this holiday. Both my sister and my sister-in-law who I was staying with are currently training for their own challenges, and with the heat-wave there it just made sense to be in the water as much as possible…particularly when there are options like learning to wake-board and going diving on a Navy Island! Then there was the running around after my gorgeous nieces and nephew…a labour of love no question, but hard work nonetheless. so the upshot is that I did a lot of exercise while i was away. I knew that, but you just never know how that might actually translate to swim-fitness.

Luckily, I found that the answer for me in this particular situation was “Not too badly”. I felt OK in the pool, and did the set feeling like I was challenged, but not that I felt like I might implode.

We did a good solid set, focussing on fast distances, alternating with equal distances of way swimming. This was to do two things; first, it gives you a good sense of the difference between your fast and easy swim pace, and this is key to mastering the art of pacing that I’ve written about here before (maybe quite a lot!). Secondly, we’re getting to the pointy end of the swim program here, where the technique should be improved a lot, where the beach skills are learned and now being practiced and revised, but there’s still work that can be done on general fitness. Interval training is great for this, and the easy sets are great as an active recovery.

So, after the initial (standard) nerves about the first session back after a break, it was nice to be back in the pool after all! Can’t wait for the flurry of activity coming up. Races! Training! Sunshine and beach weather! Let the games begin!

Yup, that's actually me. Upright and everything!

Yup, that’s actually me. Upright and everything!

Well hello there, everyone! A big thanks to Tesse from Can Too who gave this little ole blog a bit of a shout-out today in the Can Talk newsletter, sending a bunch of you here for a bit of a read.

Welcome, welcome, welcome. I’m totally one of you, and I started this whole adventure because I went looking for a place online that catered to me as someone who loves ocean swimming, but is far from a professional, is just looking to challenge themselves, and isn’t out to quit work and train full-time (it’s all about balance, right?)

So settle in, have a look round, and remember I love comments! Questions, requests, constructive criticism…bring it all on!

Lovely to have you all here. Feel free to introduce yourself, have a look around, and I hope you enjoy Not Quite Nemo half as much as I enjoy writing it.

Wow, my friend Flip, who is also a crazy ocean swimmer and mentor to a Can Too pod this year, posted a link to her fundraising page.

It moved me so much and articulated so beautifully exactly how I feel I had to ask her if I could share it. I’ve pasted in the text below, but please go click on this link and sponsor her!!!

Here’s what I believe…

I believe that swimming is hard.

I believe that learning to ignore that voice in your head, that says “you can’t do this” or “I can’t swim that far” is one of the hardest things to do. 

But I believe that swimming with Can Too is all about tackling that voice head on – and using the power of positive thinking and the support of the group to tell that voice where to go.

I believe that nothing compares to swimming in the ocean on a beautiful day with big fun waves and clear visibility.

But I believe you feel more proud of yourself when you take on the ocean on a horrible day, when the waves seem scary and the water looks dark and feels cold.

 I believe that we will find a cure for cancer.

 But I believe that the research funded by Can Too is going to be part of that answer.

 I believe that the genius idea sparked off in a young researcher, the hours of work and late nights spent in a lab and the dedication of a whole team of people working together to solve a common problem and achieve the same goal will be the way that this cure will come about.

If you believe in any of these things, and would like to donate to Cure Cancer Australia, then please click on the donate button to the right – any amount will be so very gratefully received. 

Beautifully said, Flip.

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