“A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success” – Elbert Hubbard

Marnaton Formentera Smilers

There were still about five or six kilometers to arrive into the finish line, or at least that’s what my watch said. Disoriented by the question, I regained my focus and resumed my strokes. I noticed that the seabed´s seagrass cluster I had used as a reference before the interruption was now much farther away. I was exhausted. – «Wanna give up?» – Those words kept echoing in my head, my helplessness, my desire to give up. And I kept swallowing water. The currents against me and waves of around a meter high didn’t help. I decided to count my strokes as I used to do in my early open-water races, trying to concentrate on technique and navigate the challenges that Mother Nature had decided to put in my path.

Once I reached a thousand, I stopped and looked around. I couldn’t see anyone through the waves. I confirmed that the course and direction seemed correct and continued with the count.

Another thousand. I had covered almost nine kilometers. It was the longest distance I had swum (the maximum in my pool training had been eight kilometers). Suddenly, my body filled with indescribable energy, and instead of strokes, I began counting key moments from my training: early mornings and cold days. But above all, those days where I beat my personal records, where, after completing my duties, the taste of the rest of the day was unmatched. And suddenly, I passed a group of about eight to ten swimmers anchored next to a boat to drink water and take a gel. I decided to stop and ask, «How much is left?» – «About two and a half. You’ve got this.» – While helping two participants get on the boat after easing their suffering.

Those last forty minutes were a bunch of feelings of emotions and suffering. My right shoulder was cracking with every stroke, but I tried to counteracted it with positive thoughts. I looked up to orient myself and saw the finish line for the first time. I had to stop to make sure it wasn’t a mirage. After confirming so, I took a deep breath once more, submerged, and made each stroke remembering my beoved ones until suddenly, a wave propelled me to the shore, and I felt the sand on solid ground for the first time in hours. The sensation that ran through my body was one of the most beautiful things I have ever felt in life. I had achieved it.

All-in-all, crossing the finish line of a sports´ challenge is one of the most beautiful feelings In life because, above all, it teaches you the things that truly matter in life and, beyond everything, makes you understand that if you want something, you will achieve it with hard work and a lot of effort.

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