If it was an 18-hour swim, it was never 17 hours, 57 minutes. It was 18. Along with the training, the organization of an expedition this size, 45 people out into the wilderness that is the unpredictable and dangerous stretch between Cuba and Florida, is monumental.
It's a notorious stretch of water brimming with sharks, jellyfish, squalls and an unpredictable Gulf Stream. But Diana Nyad found a way. And so can you. You can find a way to do almost anything, if you want it enough. That's what leaders do.
We have a new athletic superstar this Labor Day -- the amazing swimmer Diana Nyad. If you saw her wading haltingly onto the shore of Key West after this historic swim, you had to feel her sheer exhaustion along with the thrill of her incredible feat.
Who did invent all those infomercial products, ranging from hooks that hang elephants to the silly snuggle blanket to the PedEgg? In America, it is still possible to start from nowhere and get somewhere -- whether the nowhere is the shores of Cuba or personal poverty.
A tiny, clear, cube-shaped gelatinous sea creature is armed with one of the deadliest venoms on our planet. Take it from one who knows too well the pain and paralysis of the Box Jellyfish. I have suffered their otherworldly stings three times now, in my attempts to swim from Cuba to Florida.
There is no doubt that I would have been jubilant to touch that Florida shore, to have made history, to at long last lived out the vision I've had in my brain for so very long. Yet I've been living a grand life, driven by this very quest.
If there were ever a moment during the Nyad swim when Diana was grateful to the NRDC and all organizations that support pristine waters, the best one came at 6:30 p.m. today (Monday) when she was visited by dolphins!
This Xtreme Dream of mine, the Cuba Swim, has rendered me awake and alive and alert. And now my time has come. This is it. I will jump from those rocks at Marina Hemingway in Havana and begin this extraordinary journey.
Extreme endurance athletes try to accomplish one monumental climb, run or swim before they tackle The Big One. To that end, I embarked yesterday morning on a 24-hour swim here at my training camp in St. Maarten in the Caribbean.