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  • Writer's pictureDella Pierson


When I first began an active lifestyle, it started with a 5k, I caught the running bug and moved up to the half marathon, and the next year, I ran a full marathon. Then along came triathlon and every year I kicked it up a notch to the 70.3 distance. Last year I did a century ride on my bike. This year’s challenge was to go back to the 5K, but with a mermainian twist!

Mirror Lake, August 20, 2021. I swam 5 dang kilometers! 3.2 miles! 5655 yds! It took me 2 ½ hours, not fast but comfortable cause that’s how this mermaid rolls.

Now, why did I do this? Good question. I signed up to swim this distance in an organized event and the course was ¾ of a mile short. Fuuuuck! Anyone who knows me knows that I just couldn’t live with that unfinished business.

So, there I was on a beautiful morning in the Adirondacks ready to make it happen for real and sincerely hoping the bottle of wine I drank the night before as my hydration wasn’t going to bite me in the ass. There is a great system of buoys and underwater cables in the lake that make for straight swimming instead of a 5k of zig zagging. With that, and Dan and Brian as my kayakers, I was set. Their job was to yell at, distract or beat any random paddle boarders, kayakers or fish that got in my way.

The water was perfect. I mean, mermaid perfect!! I felt relaxed and strong. You think of a lot of things when you’re in the water that long. I thought a lot about food and how I was going to replenish the 10,000 calories I was burning. Turns out it was only 880 calories. So much for 2 orders of fries. I also thought about the Johnson and Johnson lie that their baby shampoo is no tears. I put too much in my goggles and didn't rinse well enough and ended up with a bloodshot pirate eye for 3 days which was intensely magnified because I had to wear my coke bottle bottom glasses! For a full half mile, I felt like there was a slippery piece of seaweed on my face which was weird because there wasn’t any seaweed. Yup, turns out it was my own snot. That led to other thoughts about water cleanliness...Yucko! OK Pierson, you’ve swam at Jamesville beach, head down, new thoughts. Hmmm, no fish, so that’s another plus over Jamesville beach. Oh, yay, my watch vibrated, (it does that every 500 yds) how many times had it done that so far? 100? 200? I lost track after the first few. Dammit, why do I have to be such a stubborn jerk and get myself into these things? Oh yeah, the glory, bragging rights and the mimosa at the end.

1000 yds to go, straight down the middle of the lake. I’m jacked up on my caffeinated blocks and ready to be done.

500 yds, more seaweed on my face….nope.

I was finally at the beach and staggered out. My people were there to celebrate with me. As we toasted with mimosas, that was when I found out there really was some excitement out there. Unbeknownst to me, I almost had a head on collision with another swimmer. Dan was banging his paddle on the kayak and finally the other swimmer looked up and avoided me. Well, you know, I was probably too wrapped up in my important thoughts of glory, mimosas and snotweed to hear the commotion.

So, there you have it, my big accomplishment of 2021. What’s in store for next year? I’m sure I’ll come up with something I’ll love to hate….until it’s done.

Mermaid out.


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