For 118 days in 1997, Bethesda author Nick Irons swam more than 1,550 miles of the Mississippi River: He wanted to raise money for and awareness about a cure for multiple sclerosis, the disease his father—also of Bethesda—lives with. In this inspirational book, Irons shares lessons learned during his swim as well as advice.
Irons made me feel as if I were accompanying him on his journey: “The wind howled. Four-foot waves pounded from all sides. My arms burned and my shoulders ached. I gasped to get a full breath of air. Barges the size of three city blocks towered over me, their giant wakes screaming my way. What had I gotten myself into?”
He also shares his secrets for success, such as having a plan, having self-confidence, and—as shown in this passage—learning to have fun:
“It didn’t take long for the excitement of the kickoff to fade into the reality of endless lonely hours of repetition. Sheer boredom overwhelmed me. . . . And then one day, quite by accident, I started replaying Seinfeld episodes in my head. . . . I laughed, sometimes inhaling a gulp of the gooey stuff I was swimming in. After this breakthrough, the once-dreaded swimming sets went a lot faster. I was laughing, having fun, and crossing off the miles.”
Don’t expect eloquent writing to be your motivation for reading; it’s Irons’s passion that’s irresistible.