Team Member Adds Another Accomplishment to Her List!
Knee problems will keep Amanda out of the New York Marathon this year but those problems have not slowed her down as you can see from the article below. The annual event pits a team of swimmers against the choppy, frigid waters separating San Francisco Bay and Alcatraz Island--a course of a little over one-mile that can prove to be treacherous for even experienced swimmers.
PATHSTAR is a non-profit that, according to its mission statement, is “committed to inspiring and revitalizing sustainable health and well-being practices within Native American communities by providing experiential learning opportunities.” It seeks to initiate change by combating modern foes such as obesity and diabetes with education in nutrition and healthy living, while respecting traditional Native values and culture. Alcatraz Swim Week is a six-day event that combines nutrition education with swim workouts that, day by day, build swimmers’ tolerance and acclimate them to the sixty degree water.
Amanda was recruited by a childhood friend and co-worker who has participated in the swim five previous times; this year made her sixth. Many of the participants have little or no swimming experience and few places to swim. Amanda’s experience was no different. Without regular access to a pool, she relied on biking and running to prepare her legs. After arriving in San Francisco, there were daily swims, culminating in a qualifier in the open waters of the bay on Saturday. Two days later, they swam the full course, which Amanda calls “amazing...We would take ‘beauty stops’ and just look around at the views” from the middle of the bay. She was surrounded on all sides by spectacular sights: San Francisco, the Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Alcatraz.
The experience was transformative for Amanda. She met “really amazing people” who became like “family”. Her favorite experience was learning about gardening: “I planted a small garden while there and brought it back with me.” Already some of the seeds are sprouting. Amanda will nurse the garden indoors through the winter months and then move it outdoors next spring, with plans to build upon it as time goes on.
Amanda hopes to do the swim again and wants to introduce another co-worker to next year’s event. In the meantime, she’ll keep both busy with her work as a guidance counselor at Pine Ridge High School and in shape by coaching both a grades 5-8 cross country team as well as head coach of the high school girls’ basketball team.
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