I had barely finished toweling off the cold bay water after my swim from Alcatraz to shore when the first person asked “So, what’s next?” It kind of irritated me.

I wanted to simply enjoy the moment, revel in the fact that I’d just jumped off a ferry near The Rock and swam all the way to shore.Why were people asking, “What’s the next challenge?”

Before the swim, I told myself that if I jumped off the ferry and managed to swim a few strokes, that would equal success. Yes, in this instance, I set a pretty low bar. Of all the challenges I’ve taken on – a marathon, a triathlon, other races – this felt the scariest. I didn’t want to muck my head up any more with pesky expectations of finishing.

A few strokes in, I flung my hands in the air and cheered, “Success!” Then I kept moving…and in my head, I kept singing “Just keep swimming.” Yes, music from “Finding Nemo” (and a song from the musical “Barnum”) kept me moving. When I wasn’t singing, I was thinking, “I’m actually doing this…I’m doing something I’ve always dreamed of doing…Ugh, it’s choppy…I’m not moving…Just keep swimming…Wow! How many people get to see the skyline from this perspective?” It felt for a while as if I weren’t moving, then before I knew it I was halfway there. Somewhere along the way, I lost my friend Cheryl, but I knew the kayakers would keep her safe, so I just kept swimming. The kayakers, by the way, were overwhelmingly nice, wonderful, supportive people. They cheered, they said kind things, they put me back on course when I’d veered left, they offered to let me rest, they helped me to feel safe in what is a generally thought to be an insane endeavor.

Anyway, I blather. I finished. I was happy. I am happy. I drank beer and ate hot dogs with my cheering family and friends. They made the day exceptional; having them there made the celebration that much more special.

I don’t know what’s next. When I asked my friend Patty, “Sheesh! Why do people keep asking me that?” She said simply, “Because that’s who you are. You’ve always got something you’re working on.” When you put it like that, it’s not so pressure-filled.

Hmm…I’ve still got weight to lose. And I’ve always wanted to write a book.

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