12.5-MILE SWIM AROUND KEY WEST
Why on Earth Would We Swim 12.5 Miles Around an Island?
Have you ever thought you were capable of something bigger than what you have been doing in your everyday life? Something big that you can look back on and say with pride that you conquered? A project that you aren't quite sure you can accomplish? Do you want to know exactly what you are capable of?
There is no other way than to pick that project that you think may be outside your reach and try to grab it. On June 28, 2014, three type 1 diabetics, Blair Ryan, Renee Moreno and I, along with our crew members, Tony Spineto, Peter Nerothin and Katie Bringe completed the 12.5-mile Swim Around Key West.
But it wasn't all serious competition. We spent the whole next day exploring every facet of the island on cruisers. We snorkeled at the end of White Street Pier. We toasted the sunset in a nightly ritual that brings the whole town to the end of Sunset Pier. We ate amazing burgers at Margaritaville and revelled all weekend in our accomplishments.
THE SEA PEPTIDE SWIMMERS
Blair has had type 1 diabetes since 2000 and is an accomplished collegiate distance runner, triathlete, and cyclist. Thanks to spending her summers in the water as a Ventura County Junior Lifeguard, Blair has great romance and respect for the ocean. Thrilled for this excuse to spend more time in it, she looked forward to the accountability that her Sea Peptide teammates and the 4.2 mile leg brought to her training.
Renee is a San Diego native, diagnosed with Type-1 Diabetes in 1990 at the age of 7. She is no stranger to aquatic adventures as an insatiable sailor (US Sailing Keel Boat Certified and founder of Insulin On Board Sailing), stoked longboarder and 2nd place Women’s World Champion Bodysurfer (Oceanside, 2006). This Swim Around Key West was her first go at long distance swimming and she could not have been more excited to take it on with the support and camaraderie of the ever inspiring diabetic community.
Erin comes from a surfing background, moving through triathlons and on to long-distance swimming. This was her first long-distance race, but her second time to the Keys. She sailed solo 100 miles down the keys on a 22' Catalina and wrote about her adventures in the book, Islands and Insulin. She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in her sophomore year in college.
Peter is a graduate student in adventure education at Prescott College, and founder of Insulindependence, an organization working to reduce the burden of diabetes through physical activity and peer support. Ultimately, the Sea Peptide Swimmers were introduced to each other and to diabetes advocacy through their shared involvement with Insulindependence. An accomplished athlete with type 1 diabetes himself, Peter was thrilled to support the Sea Peptide Swimmers during their swim around Key West.
Tony is an athlete in his own right, an Ironman finisher and competitor in the 2014 Paratriathlon National Championships, Tony went back-stage on this project to crew for the swimmers. He threw out water bottles to swimmers in the water, handed out Gu Energy gels when our blood sugars went low, and kept our spirits high when the water got choopy and the tide would not turn in our direction.
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