Saturday, August 6, 2016

'Round Manhattan is on! August 15th, here I come NYC - also, Dad on the Camino


I just finalized the paperwork or rather online forms and payment for my swim.  Thanks to Dave Barra and all the folks who work tirelessly for marathon swimming, I was able to get into the swim and attempt to complete the Triple Crown in fewer than 35 days.  Today's post has two updates.

News of the Day - Dad starts the Camino

My dad just pushed off for his solo journey on the Camino de Santiago (32 days of trekking 800+ km or roughly 500 miles).  I was busy trying to help him prepare for the adventure over the past few days - along with preparing for my swim.  He just set off this morning (7:45 local time) on Leg 1 from his hotel in St. Jean Pied de Port (France) and plans to stop 24km later in Roncesvalles.  A 24km hike is pretty amazing for an 80 year old pancreatic cancer survivor.  What is more amazing is that he is doing it with no guide and plans to really work hard to hike the entire trail.  We chatted earlier this week about the challenge and he had some realistic and some not-so-realistic ideas about the journey.  As far are realistic is concerned, he knew it would be a challenge.  Unrealistic?  He had no idea how much of a challenge until he started doing some calculations.  On Day 1, he told me he would average an 6% grade uphill.  I doubted it but then checked the maps of the Camino and confirmed his estimates.  Day 1 is a beast!  Here is the profile:
If you can see the tiny font on the Y-axis, you'll notice he begins at about 250m above sea level and rises to almost 1500m for roughly a 1.2km increase over 20km or a 6% grade uphill.  Put into normal terms, a 6% grade is the maximum grade for a US interstate highway.  So, he'll be walking up a highway that is ascending into a mountainous area.  He doesn't get much rest today and he is walking up a rather large hill with about 10lbs of water, food, and clothing on his back.  I would say that is a huge effort.  Oh, the unrealistic part?  He thought he could average 3-4 miles per hour (5-6.5 km/h) walking today.  I coached him to take his time.  The Camino is long.  My dad completed many marathons in his life and had a ton of adventure so he understood my suggestions and took them to heart.  This journey is a marathon and he ought to treat it as such - go out easy and finish your first.  Oh, the even more amazing part...he just had a round of chemotherapy before he left and I am sure he is a little weak from it all.  I intend to post updates over the next month because his adventure is my adventure too.  I hope you find these updates interesting and engaging.  He'll be doing some purposeful walking, reflecting on his life, and sending me updates - some I intend to share with you.  Thanks for following.

My swim is on!

Yes, the 20 Bridges swim is all paid up and I am chomping at the bit.  Also, I am assembling my crew for the swim.  Details were a little sketchy at first but I knew the NYOW folks would pull all the information together and keep us informed as needed.  My crew is changing because some folks cannot get off work.  I completely understand.  So far, the definite crew members are Kat (of course, we are going to complete this Triple Crown together) and my long-time dear friend or rather brother from a different mother - Brendan Cooperkawa (known to my son as "The Coopstah"...pronounced with the strongest Boston accent).  We head up to NYC on the evening of the 13th after I enjoy a beer or two at a friends annual summer party.  No, I'm not driving - taking Amtrak and enjoying a 4 hour nap.  Should be a blast!  

Below is a map of the swim - courtesy of the Tracks Database (developed by Evan Morrison and hosted by  The track is Paul Newsome's swim on June 8th, 2013 in an amazing time of 7:02.  My plan?  Finish.

I'll post more details as they come.  For now, expect a flurry of information about the swim and updates about my Dad's adventures in France and Spain.  

Thanks for following.

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