The City of Big Shoulders


City of Big Shoulders

Hog Butcher for the World

Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat.

Player with Railraods and the Nation’s freight Handler;

Stormy, Husky, Brawling,

-Carl Sandberg

So Big shoulders, it’s where it all began again for me in 2013, my first swim event since my late teens, my first event after 10 years of swimming retirement. I didn’t know where that swim would lead as I stood on the beach that morning, having only jumped in the lake 3 times prior to that event. Family members had asked “why the hell would I want to swim in Lake Michigan”, I didn’t have great answers other than someone convinced me I should, and it had given me an opportunity to raise some money for dog rescue.

I owe Chicago a lot, I came here for a summer at 19 on the toss of a coin, I met my wife, I got married here in 2006, I moved here in 2008. I am heading in to my 12th Chicago winter. I learnt to love open water here, I learned to appreciate the living, breathing, creature that lake Michigan is, I learned to respect the lake, I have learnt to play with the lake, and I have learnt when I should just leave her alone.

She gives me solitude and peace when I need it and other times she knocks me around and reminds me of my insignificance in the world. So why oh why would I just as happily not swim Big Shoulders tomorrow.

I think there are a few things going on in my head.

  1. This season has not been what I wanted or planned for, so I just want it over
  2. I want to focus on next year and after tomorrow it feels like this year is done, at least from a swim view.
  3. I know a lot of swimmers at tomorrows event, I like a lot of swimmers at tomorrows event, I don’t really want to swim with a 1000 people and the chaos that ensues. It turns out I have learned to enjoy the smaller numbered events.
  4. I have been really enjoying my small pod swims, when I want, where I want for how long I want i.e. not getting out of bed at 5.30am to go swim
  5. Motivation to get out bed at 5.30am to swim a 5km is not overwhelming in the way it was 6 years ago.
  6. I am paying for a swim, in a lake I swim in 7 months a year, in which I regularly exceed this distance.
  7. I have swum this event, more than any other event


 And it’s a big BUT

Its big shoulders, its basically my home town swim. This city and lake have given me a lot, its looking like big waves which could make it a fun morning, it looks like it might be chillyish low 60s and there is a beach hazard warning in effect until morning time so water should be a nice churn color and feeling. There will also be a lot of friends here for this swim

So maybe that will bring some morning excitement

Yours- a somewhat adequate swimmer

One thought on “The City of Big Shoulders

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