Adventure Swimmer

Living Life at Water Level


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Tahoe Double Memories

I am back.  I took a little time off from blogging.  It is tough to maintain a regular blog with everything else I have going in life.  I am going to try an be more regular and more frequent.  To get me back going I have decided to post a few excerpts from my  Tahoe Double Crossing (wetsuit) back in 2010.  I am fortunate to have a crew that supports me through these adventures.  During my swims I have a live portal that people can follow along.  It has evolved over the years to where we currently have GPS, video, and text updates that occur fairly frequently.  Below are a few of my favorite posts made by my crew.  I hope you enjoy.

This first post was done by my wife before my Tahoe Double Swim.

Hi everyone, My name is Terry….I’m Jamie’s wife. I’ve never blogged before so this is a first for me, but I wanted to share some of my thoughts on this journey that he (and we) have embarked on that is ultimately leading us to the Tahoe Double at the end of the summer. I’ve been asked many times “how does he do it?” or “how do the two of you fit his training schedule into your lives?”, or “is your husband completely crazy?” so I thought I would try and answer some of those questions! First of all, in many ways I have no idea how he does some of the things he does, but I do know there is a drive that comes from within him that enables him to complete most anything he has ever started. He’s not necessarily always the fastest (except when it comes to swimming, and then he often is), but I have learned in the 10 years we’ve been together that he has the ability to keep enduring even in the face of great physical pain (I can’t even begin to imagine walking, much less running with the blisters he had on his feet during the Ultraman and the Virginia Triple Triathlon). I think pushing himself to his limits physically is like meditation is to some – it grounds him and lifts him up all at the same time. As far as how we fit his training schedule into our lives….because he is such a morning person, he’s often beginning his day 2 or 3 hours before my daughter and I have even gotten out of bed. It’s not unusual for him to start training as early as 4am, and be home again before noon. In the years before our daughter was born, we often tied his workouts into overnight getaways for the two of us – he would ride his bike and I would drive and meet him at various places along the coast, both north and south. And even when his workouts have meant less time with me, or with our family over the years, the upside of getting to travel all over the world for his races has by far outweighed any of the downsides of less time with him on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Lastly, as for whether or not he is crazy….I suppose that is subjective depending on what you define as “crazy.” I can honestly say as his wife that there have been times in our relationship where my first reaction has been “oh my God – he has got to be kidding!” or “if this is what he wants to do now, what’s going to be around the next corner?” What I’ve realized after coming around to accepting that each new goal he’s set for himself happens at the time it is meant to in his life, is that he truly does know his own limits….when it’s the right time to keep pushing, and when it’s the right time to pull back. I also know that pushing himself to those limits is what makes him grow as a person, and gives him a happiness and fulfillment that I would never want to take away from him. And in so many ways my life has been enriched in the process as I’ve gotten to share in some of his greatest struggles along the way, but also the joys of incredible personal accomplishment at the end! My dad shared an article with us recently about long distance runners, and one of the men who was featured sums up so well how I think of Jamie and this great passion he is pursuing…. “it’s a way of celebrating life instead of just letting it pass you by.” He is most certainly not one to let life pass him by, and I look forward to being by his side in this endeavor to love, support and encourage him, and I know that we as a family together will embrace this challenge and conquer what lies ahead. I am very proud of him and can’t wait to see him emerge from the waters of Lake Tahoe victorious in his goal. Lastly, I want to just say thank you to all those who are involved in this journey for their amazing and continued support….it means more than we could ever say to both Jamie and our family! With thanks and gratitude, Terry

These next post were four of my favorites posted to the live portal during my Tahoe Double Swim

“Jamie can see the green roof of the Hyatt, and is pulling from somewhere deep inside to keep swimming on. The latest REWARD for him out here on the water has been the arrival of his wife Terry Patrick and Hadley Patrick his daughter.

He is still in pain and his stomach is giving him trouble… the spirit on the boat, family, friends and everyone following has been amazing truly Jamie – EVERYONE IS CHEERING FOR YOU….

Jamie is giving it what he’s got and then some… GO JAIME… GO JAMIE.. GO!!!”

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“Jamie is in his deep zone you can see it and feel it from all around him. His stomach continues to be a struggle and feedings have dramatically decreased since Greg completed his part in this last night… up until Camp Richardson he was eating regularly every 20 minutes. Since approx. 4am he has had little food. Before 4am last night he was averaging 350-360 cals an hour now he is averaging maybe 150 cals an hour. His most recent feeding happening as I type was an attempt to give him mellon, however the mellow is floating in the water. Jamie is struggling with swelling all over his body. In his face, neck, hands an tongue. The swelling is from his wetsuit a natural suction cup one hour shy of 24 hours into this. We have medical assistance on call. He is breathing well, talking well, full of love sweat and tears. We are approx. two hours out and infamous Karen Rogers open water swimmer, resident of Tahoe and personal friend to Jamie is here onboard and ready to swim with him. Jamie still wants to power through this on his own. We are amazingly proud of him and keeping safety as the number one priority.”

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“We are less than ten miles to the finish, 19.5 hours into this, with 6,000 calories consumed so far, food and feedings are going fantastic, water temperature has not been an issue mostly due to his amazing SailFish wetsuit. Jamie quotes from the water “in a world of hurt right now” and another Jamie quote from this journey.. “guys just stand back and let me have a moment to cry” In one of my first talks with Jamie leading up to this event he explained one of the ways he works through his emotion and mental anxiety leading up to and during the swim is through tears.”

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“To say the very least it was an EPIC ending as Jamie swam into 100+ fans waiting to welcome him. As he emerged from the water to a crawling stand coaches and crew helped him out to hug his wife and daughter. Media crews and the white finish line were crossed making Jamie the first man to do a double crossing wetsuit swim of Lake Tahoe. Medical assistance was there waiting and after a quick review Jamie was well enough to stick with the crowd and acknowledged he would admit himself later in the evening as needed. Jamie sat with his family, friends and fans and soaked up the rewards of his accomplishment. The evening continued at Jakes with a congratulatory celebration of achievement. For the moment Jamie Patrick has lived his dream. 

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Thanks for following along.  Love and Peace to all.


13 Comments

Confused

First – I want to thank everyone for following my new blog. I am in awe that close to 2000 people are follow it.

I have decided to write a quick blog about something that has been bothering me.  For those not in the swimming world I hope you can relate this to others things in your life.

To be honest – I am shocked that I am writing this.  I have been waiting for a few months to see if anyone else would bring this issue up and to my surprise – very little.

Please understand that what is bothering me is not the fact that this was done but that fact that the marathon swimming community choses to selectively identify what is allowed and not allowed.

In the past I have been criticized for the use of the words marathon swim for swims that I did wearing a wetsuit.  I accepted this, understood it and now am a huge proponent of protecting the purity of it.  With that being said I will continue to do swims both by marathon swimming standards and by what I call adventure swims (wetsuit assisted) but I will call it what is it. I am proud of both.

There has been so much discussion on the definition of marathon swimming.  Arguments between associations and amongst people.  To be honest it has gotten a bit nasty at times.

For all those who do not know what marathon swimming is, I will try to explain it plain and simple.  It is the act of swimming great distances in the oceans, lakes and rivers.  It is done with NO outside assistance of any kind.  It is done wearing a porous swim suit, a pair of goggles and a cap.  The swimmer is on their own and must complete the swim under their own power.

There is much more to marathon swimming and different associations have their own rules (which I agree with) however the one thing that I believe all in the community can agree upon.  Marathon swimming is done with on your own with NO outside artificial assistance that aids the swimmers progress. PERIOD!  This is the basis for what marathon swimming is.

Here is where I am having trouble.  Maybe trouble is not the right word.  Lets say confused.  Why is the marathon community selective when it comes to what they consider right and wrong?  Throughout the open water season it is almost daily that I read about other marathon swimmers question the legitimacy of other swims.  Sometimes it is a bit silly sometime not. I ask you this….If the basic rule in marathon swimming is NO outside assistance, then why do those in the marathon swimming community consider swimming in the wake of a boat ok?  To be frank it seems to me to provide more speed than if a swimmer was in a wetsuit. I find it shocking and a bit hypocritical that people are tip toeing around this.  I find it hypocritical that they choose to go after someone who wears the wrong type of cap, but let this slide. If a wetsuit is considered outside assistance, why is being pushed through the water by a large object with a motor on it not.  I am just asking why.

The only argument that I have heard, which surprised me was “if you can why not”  To me this goes against the basic principle of marathon swimming.  Just because you can, does not mean you should.

Again, I am questioning why those that continue to criticize others for other infractions, do not stand up and cry foul here.  Drafting off the bow wake is considered by most assisted forward motion and is not pure swimming where the swimmer is on his/her own. Just like when I do a swim in my wetsuit.  It provides outside assistance and is not considered a marathon swim. I am not sure why the hard-liners are not saying anything.  They are even praising it. I was under the impression that a support boat is there for support and safety, not to increase the swimmers speed.  FINA, which is the governing body of swimming clearly states that drafting off any support boat is cause for disqualification RULE OW6.  I know that FINA does not govern marathon swims, but they have this rule in place because it provides an unfair advantage.  Marathon swimming does not allow drafting of any kind off a support swimmer, why in the world is drafting off a support boat any different?  I assume most think it is worse.

I bring all this up to try and get some clarity from those that believe that this is part of one of the last pure forms of athleticism, not criticize those that utilize this technique.  I bring it up to ask why do those selectively choose what is assistance and what is not.

In addition, this brings up the safety issue.  Do we really want swimmers tucking into the slip stream of a boat?  Things can go wrong quickly. Marathon swimming already has its inherent dangers.  Allowing this adds so much more.

My Mom always always use to tell me – just because you can does not mean you should.  Just because it does not officially state no drafting off the wake off a support boat in the official Marathon Swimming Rule Book – oh yeah there is none..does not make it correct.  Marathon swimming, I have been taught, is one person braving the elements on their own.  Have I been taught wrong?  If so then I have totally misunderstood what people are trying to show the world.

Many of these critics are first to criticize someone for putting on a wetsuit mid swim because they were getting stung by jelly fish but still wanted to finish the swim.  The critics cry foul at a swimmer who has just swam 14 hours and gets a hug from a loved one before they completely exit the water.  But say yippee when someone swims fast in the wake of a boat.  I am sooooooo confused.

A recent post on The Marathon Swimmers Forum describes things that are are not allowed in marathon swimming.  Here is an exerpt from the post.

B) Universally disallowed by sanctioning marathon organizations. (Note: some organizations will allow swimmers to use select items in an “assisted” or special category.)

1) Drafting
2) Fins
3) Booties
4) Headphones
5) Gloves
6) Paddles
7) Shark cages
8) Netting
9) Wetsuits
10) Face Guards
11) More than two caps
12) Physical contact (i.e., assistance in and out of water)
13) Rest on support vehicle or kayak
14) Performance enhancing drugsI

Did I just read this correctly?  #1 Drafting.  Again I am confused.  If the above statement is agreed upon by the marathon community then why are people not standing up.  Many may be asking why is this guy Jamie Patrick, the guy that calls himself the adventure swimmer, who sometimes wears a wetsuit concerned with this?  The answer is simple – I am utterly confused.  I have been through a great deal of criticism how I did swims in the past and I am trying to understand the double standard.  I agree that some of my swims are not marathon swims because of one simple standard that I thought everyone followed – No outside assistance.

You can read the entire post HERE.

I should also say that I have received a number of emails from big time marathon swimmers also questioning why those that are vocal are not vocal abut this?

Selectively choosing what is assistance and what is not is beyond confusing. I am confused and I can tell you that those outside the community are even more.

Here is my point.  If the community wants to stay true to what they believe then they need to stick to it. If you choose not to then not stop analyzing every last detail of someone else’s swim.  Please – also understand that I believe that people should do things the way they choose.

Some may be asking again – Why is Jamie Patrick writing this and why does it concern him.  To be honest, I am hurt.  I am hurt because for 3 years was the center of criticism.  Today I have embraced it, accepted it, learned from it and have moved on.  However, when something like this comes up it brings everything back to the for front for me.  To be honest I cringe every time I hear people attack others in this community.  I feel for them and hope they do not feel the pain I felt for so many years while doing the thing I love so much.  Then to see something like this not be brought up and discussed, makes me question why.  Why just select me.  Little old me.  I will move on, but in my opinion this great community needs to define what a marathon is.  It needs to be simple.  It needs to be broad.  If you think about it marathon swimming is simple.  A simple Mission Statement that gives the basics.  Do not argue about all the details.  Just something that outlines the basics.  And then stick by it for EVERYONE.  I can almost guarantee that drafting off a bow wake will not be included in the mission statement.

This post means nothing if the marathon community believes surf swimming on the boats bow wake is part of marathon swimming because then there is no double standard that I have described above. I guess I am just feeling sorry for myself.  If this is the case then I have totally misunderstood what marathon swimming is. I was under the impression that the spirit of marathon swimming was one man/woman living life at water level, braving the elements on their own.

Definitely not dazed, but extremely confused.

Jamie

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Fear – The Ultimate Motivator

Looking at my past and contemplating my future, I have come to this conclusion:  FEAR has been and will continue to be my ultimate motivator.  Fear is a strange thing.  We are not born with fear – it is something that we learn through experiences, generally those that have not been good.  We do not become scared of the dark until some life event triggers an uncomfortable experience.  Our brain then stores this experience and remembers it for the next time we are facing a similar situation.

Failure is also a huge part of fear.  We have all failed.  I certainly have – many times.  I used to take these failures and try my hardest not to put myself into situations that could possibly cause me to fail once again.  I would steer clear of situations out of fear of failing. It was a simple concept and I lived by it.  However, there was a turning point in my life where I took fear by the horns, respected it and began to use it to my advantage.  It was the hardest time in my life.  I can honestly say that it was the worst and best thing that has ever happened to me.

These life changing events occurred when I was 28 years old.  To make a very long story short, my wife of two years left me.  It was a complete and total shock.  I had never felt so much fear.  Fear of being alone.  Fear of the stigma of being divorced.  And ultimately, the feeling of failure.

This fear haunted me for months.  I was alone.  Nothing anyone could say to me could erase this fear.  I struggled like I had never struggled before.  I lost weight, did not sleep and stopped training.  Before she left I was training for my first Ironman.  When she left I stopped training completely.  I mourned day in and day out.  How was I to move on?

Two days before the Ironman that I had signed up for was to start, I woke up in the morning and decided I was not going to live like this anymore.  I decided that I was going to do this Ironman.  I had not trained in over three months.  Not once.  But I packed my gear and drove north to Napa Valley to the Vineman Ironman Triathlon.  I was alone, no family or support.  It was just me, my swimsuit, my bike and my running shoes.

I could go on and on about the race day as it is a great story in itself, but I will shorten it.  Standing on the beach getting ready for my wave I began to cry.  I began to question myself. What was I doing?  Fear riddled my body.  I was not physically or mentally ready for this undertaking, but there was no turning back.  I did not want to fail.  I feared this the most as I entered the water.

The gun went off and there I was, in a place that I would have feared even if I was prepared.  The swim hurt not just a little, but more than anything I had experienced in a swim before.  I exited the water close to the front of my wave, but had paid a huge price. (what price?)

The 112 mile bike ride was incredible.  Not because I was going fast but because life began to become clear.  Mile after painful mile the fear of failing became motivation to finish.  I asked myself “How am I able to do this?”  I was not in that great of shape before I stopped training and I was definitely not in great shape now.  I finished the bike with my head held high.  Close to the back of the pack, I did not care.  I was living again.  No one knew that I was doing this.  It was just me but that was how it was supposed to be.  Fighting through demons and changing my life one mile at a time.

Well – that did not last long.  To this day I have never been a good runner.  I have done many ultra runs throughout the years, but they certainly weren’t fast.  I could run long but never very fast.  I have run back-to-back days of 40 miles each day.  I have run 78 miles after 336 miles on the bike, but I would never call myself a runner.

Running out of the transition area, my body froze.  My quads burned and my lower back seized up.  I was now walking and fear once again came rushing to the front of my brain.  For the next two plus hours I walked and jogged a little.  I would jog until it hurt and then I would cry and walk some more.

The run course was two loops of 13.1 miles.  At mile 11, I was done.  I convinced myself that it was not to be.  I was going to call it a day after the first loop.  Slowly walking to the turnaround, I approached a race official and with my head hanging I told her that I was done.  This sweet volunteer put her hand on my shoulder and looked me in the eye and asked “Are you sure?”  I nodded and unpinned my race number.  I handed it to her and began walking back to where my bike was.  I wanted to cry but I couldn’t.  My fear became a reality.  I had failed.  I was in shock.

For the next five minutes I tried to make sense of it all.  As I began to again walk toward the transition to get my bike, I heard a roar behind me.  The first female was completing her race.  I turned to see the woman in all her glory raise her hands and cross the finish line.

At that moment I knew I was not done.  As quick as I could waddle I headed towards the lady that took my race number.  Without a word she handed me back my number.  We said nothing as I turned to head back out on the course. The look she gave me said a thousand words.

Still feeling low, I pushed forward.  After about ten minutes I began to jog.  Well – I will call it a jog.  To be honest the reality was I was shuffling my feet a bit faster than if I was walking.  But to me, at that moment it felt like I was running a seven minute mile.  I would shuffle for a few minutes and then walk for a few minutes.

With five miles to go I began to cry again.  Not because of the fear of failure but because I knew I could do this.  I knew my life had changed. The next five miles took me close to an hour and fifteen minutes.  As I approached the finish with my shoulders back and my head held higher than ever, I crossed the finish line like thousands before me – with my hands in the air.

The lady that I had turned in my race number to more than three hours ago was there to greet me when I crossed the finish line.  She approached me, looked me straight in the the eye and said only one thing to me…….”You are an Ironman”

There was no one there to hug.  No one to celebrate with and that is exactly how it was supposed to be.  I faced my fears of so many things that day.  For 13 hours and 4 minutes I experienced so many things in my head.  The celebration was a party of one.  I sat on a curb, alone and exhausted but more alive than ever.  That day I became an Ironman, but in reality it was so much more. I knew that I was going to be ok.

I learned that I can face my fears.  I learned that fear, when harnessed, can lead to amazing things.

My life has never been the same.  Today I have completed fifteen Ironman’s, two Ultraman World Championships, a Triple Ironman, more than ten, 10+ mile marathon swims, and most recently, 25 hour and 31 hour adventure swims (both wetsuit assisted).  Each one of these adventures have started with a fear, and with each one I have grown mentally, physically and spiritually.

Today I create adventures that at the beginning are incredibly fearful to me.  I thrive on this.  If they do not have that element I can’t get excited about it.  I have learned that those things that seem so unattainable become the launching pad for the next goal once they have been completed.

I truly believe that we all can do things that seem unattainable.  They do not have to be 30 hour swims or triple Ironman’s, but I believe that all of us have within us the ability to do amazing things.  It is all about taking that first step.  I have heard many times “there is no way I could do that.”  The truth is if I can do the things I do, you too can accomplish the things that you think are out of reach.  You just have to BELIEVE.  It is about trying.  Nothing more.  As scary as things may seem and as impossible as they appear, you will find that your fear can and will lead you to great things.  With all that being said, it is also about being smart.  Facing fear head on must be done smartly.  Sometimes the ultimate result is not the planned one.  The finish line is not always the line on the road or the beach on the other side.  Pushing yourself is part of the journey, but the journey is much more than a destination.  You have succeeded simply by trying.

I choose to use fear as my motivator.  Go out and do something great.  Face your fears and your life will change forever.

I am honored to be part of a new book called THE FEAR PROJECT written by Jaimal Yogis.  Jaimal is the author of the best selling book THE SALT WATER BUDDHA.  His new book coming out in January is truly a remarkable look at fear in our lives.   He examines fear from many different angles.  You can pre-order it today.

Ultimate peace can result from the ultimate fear..

Love an hugs to all – Jamie Patrick – Adventure Swimmer

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“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt


10 Comments

Lance Then and Now

Before I get into my first post, I want everyone to know that this blog will be about LIFE as it relates to my open water swimming.  It will not just be about my repeat times in the pool or that I have boosted my beta alanine intake for quicker nutritional absorption.  It will encompass a wide range of stories that I hope you find worth reading.  I have lived an amazing life.  I have been through many struggles and many wonderful experiences in my 41 years.  I plan to continue living life to its fullest going forward, and want to share my adventures.  Water has been a vital part of my life.  It has brought me great things and has taught me many lessons.  This blog will share those stories of living life at water level.

Now on to my first post…I hope you enjoy.

I have so many things to say but the words are hard to come by.  Lance Armstrong was and still is a true inspiration to me.  For the past 20 years I have stood virtually shoulder to shoulder with him – proud and defiant that he did not use PED’s.  Today – I am in a different place.  Today I want to give him a hug and ask him why.

Back when I was 16 and 17 years old I spent two weeks each summer at Lance’s house in Plano Texas. The reason I was there was to train and compete with another USS swim team.  At the time I was swimming with Lamorinda Aquatics (LAMO) in Northern California.   Each swimmer from our team was paired up with another swimmer’s family from Plano Aquatics.  I happened to be paired with the Armstrong’s.  At the time it was not big deal.  Lance was not yet the Lance he was to become.  He was not the KING in the cycling world, however, he was already an amazing athlete.  During my time in Plano I was able to train and hang out with him.  At the conclusion of the two weeks, I swam against him in the 500 free during a meet at Plano High School.  He kicked my ass and he was not afraid to tell me.  We were friends by then so it was more poking fun than anything else.  Looking back it’s a great feeling to know that I actually got to compete against one of the greatest athletes of all time.

On a side note, I also had one of my first beers with Lance and it wasn’t a Michelob Ultra (sorry I just had to through that In there – Michelob was one of Lance’s sponsors that just dropped him).

I remember when we met he was wearing a sleeveless, black concert shirt (I believe it was of the band Dokken).  I knew right then and there he was a tough guy.  Nice and inviting, but tough.  I could tell that he was going to challenge me in more ways than just swimming.

Meeting Lance’s mom was very calming.  She was one of the sweetest ladies I had ever met.  She was so inviting and truly wanted to make me feel at home.  At 16 years old, it was hard to be away from my family.  Lance’s mom made me feel part of their family immediately. One of the first things she did was show me Lance’s new bike.  He had just begun competing in triathlons and was surprising some of the top pro triathlete’s by winning some major races.  This was the beginning of Lance’s endurance career and I was there to see the start.  His mom was so proud.  She explained to me in great detail what a triathlon was and how Lance was taking the world by storm. She was not arrogant at all just extremely proud.  Soon after that summer, Lance turned pro at 16.

Lance and I hit it off right away.  Even though we were about the same age, I looked up to him.  He was confident and ready to take on any challenge.  This was evident immediately and I admired that.  He also had a great relationship with his mom.  Something I appreciated because of the great relationship I had and still have with my mom. They had a playful relationship but ultimately he respected her and was there to protect her.

From the moment I arrived at the Armstrong’s, Lance told stories.  I remember one in particular about a neighbor who he would “borrow” a Porsche 914 from.  I remember him telling stories of how he and his friends would tie a rope to the back of a car when the roads were icy and slide on the top of trash cans while being pulled around the neighborhood.  He was smart and witty.  Even then he got the attention of many, including myself.

I lost contact with Lance a few years after these two summers until one day my mom showed me a newspaper article.  The article was about Lance and the Tour de France.  I can honestly say this is when I got the bug.  The bug to go big.  Big to me then was not 30 hours of swimming or a triple Ironman. Going big was trying out something new.  Back then there was no active.com or any other sites to research events.  The way you found out about events was through magazines (the ones printed on paper) or flyers.  Soon after reading the article I was down at the local bike shop, hell bent on buying a bike and I wanted it now.  I had read of a duathlon (run/bike) in Marin County, and it was in 3 days.

Two hours later I had spent $700 on a Cannondale bike and another $200 on “stuff.”  I was broke and had just enough money for the entry fee.  Keep in mind I had never been on a true road bike.  During a practice ride the next day I ended up on the ground because I didn’t know how to clip out of the pedals at the stop sign.  Lying on the ground with my feet still clipped in, I knew that this was what I wanted to do.  It may sound silly, lying on the ground, totally embarrassed, but this was when I fell in love with endurance sports.  You have to remember that this was 1993, almost 20 year ago.  Triathlon was not even close to what it is today.  I wanted to someday be an Ironman.

Back to the duathlon and my new bike.  I showed up on race day to 60 very fit athletes.  The race was a 5k run followed by a 20 mile bike.  To make a long story short I finished dead last.  Not by a little, by more than 10 minutes.  I was hooked.  I had just become a cyclist.  I wanted so badly to tell Lance, but being dead last was not something I wanted to admit to someone who just finished 8th in a stage at the Tour.

From that day forward I road my bike day after day.  I envisioned myself riding with Lance.  I pulled so much inspiration from him.  For the next 4 years I trained and raced non-stop.  I literally did some sort of race every weekend.  I still have the 100′s of t-shirts as wonderful reminders. I was never fast or the best but I truly loved it.

The last communication I had with Lance was after his first Tour.  I have not spoken to him since.  I’ve tried, but when you’re Lance Armstrong you have many gate keepers. Year after year I followed, cheered and told my story of the summers I spent in Plano with the Armstrong’s.   I am proud of the story for many reasons, but most of all because he is the one that I believe has gotten me to where I am today.  Up until recently I have been a soldier of Lance’s.  One of his domestiques.  I never faltered in my support for him.  I would argue with people who claimed he was using PED’s.  I believed in Lance.  He was the good guy.  He was my hero.  “He passed hundreds of tests” I would say.  The talking points flowed easy and came out with confidence.

So here I am today sad that my hero and old friend is in this place.  I wish I could say disappointed, but to be honest I am not.  I am sad for Lance.  I think Lance is hurting.  Hurting like none of us could.  It is a private hurt.  One that is so deep he probably can convince himself he feels no pain.  He has traveled so far down this path that it is almost impossible to change directions.  How many times have we seen athletes, stars and politicians go from high on the mountain to crashing straight down to the bottom.  I have a connection with Lance.  We were not best friends or even good friends over the years, but in my heart he was and still is part of who I am today.  Do I think he used PED’s…………………….?  With a heavy heart I say Yes.  But I have decided to move forward and thank him for inspiring me to get where I am today.  I would not be pushing myself like I do without Lance.  I am fortunate that I had this connection many years ago that helps drive me to be a better person.  Drugs or no drugs, Lance has helped me do some amazing things in my life.  I will continue to remember him as I did so many times over the years – as a hero.

I wish Lance peace in his life.  I am not sure which is going to be harder for him.  Continuing down this road or coming clean.  Both options will be incredibly difficult.  This is his choice and he must live with it. This will be his tallest mountain yet.  He has no team left to pull him to the top.  It must be done alone.  This is something Lance has never experienced.  One pedal stroke at a time he can create a path to peace.  He knows what he must do.  The question is can he?  I believe he can and if he elects to make things right I will be an even bigger fan than I am today.

If I could give Lance one piece of advise.  Start swimming every day.  Clarity and direction can be found in the water.

Love and hugs to all…..


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First Post – The Adventures in the Open Water

I have decided to start a blog.  I first want to be very clear that my writing skills are far from good.  I tend to have some great thoughts in my head but rairly does it come out the way it is portrayed in my brain.  With that being said, I am going to give it a shot.

One of my favorite things in life  is to follow others on their life journeys. From marathon swimmers to first time dads, I love to read, follow and support those reaching for the stars.  My day always starts out reading others blogs and posts.  It inspires me to begin the day reading about what others are doing in the world.

I hope that you too can get something out of my posts even if it is that I am a bad writer…

This blog will be 9o% swimming and 10% other fun stuff.  I will write about my training and preparation for my swims.  I will post videos of my swim adventures as well as discuss topics that I believe are important in this crazy wonderful community.

My ultimate goal is to show what an amazing world it is living at water level.  I will be making a post once a week generally on Monday.  I encourage feedback – good or bad.  I want everyone to understand that what I write is about my ultimate love of open water swimming.

I hope you follow along on as I embark on some amazing adventures in the open water. I am new to Word Press and will dialing in this blog over time so bear with me…Peace

My next post will be on Lance Armstrong.  As some of you know I was friends with him many moons ago.  In light of what has transpired I can tell you that I am sad.  Stay tuned for my thoughts.

Be sure to sign up on the top right corner to receive automatic updates.

Jamie Patrick – Adventure Swimmer

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