Diana Nyad has devoted her life to breaking records as a competitive, marathon swimmer. Daring and undaunted by age, the 62 year old took on the challenge of swimming from Cuba to Florida, once more this last weekend. This swim has already been successfully achieved – the 103 miles between Florida and Cuba – back in 1997 by a swimmer who stayed within a shark cage. Ms Nyad’s intention was to be the first woman to reach US cage free. Little was made of her age. Everyone seemed concerned with the predators in the water.

She swam with an electric surround field to keep curious sharks away, and did indeed pass sharks, barracudas and 10 pilot whales along the way. In the end it was the venomous Portuguese man-of-war siphonophores that were the real danger.

Man-of-War Beats Diane Nyad

Each tentacle can be as long as 165 feet though the average length tends to be 30′; and each tentacle is venomous, such that it causes HUGE paralyzing pain for humans though, they are rarely deadly when experienced one at a time. To be hit severally causes a build-up of toxins, that can be not only life-threatening but can risk mobility thereafter. Nyad was hit twice, and was advised by her medical team she might not survive a 3rd or 4th attack.

After a brave 49 miles, Ms Nyad left the water with this profound statement –

“But for each of us, isn’t life about determining your own finish line? This journey has always been about reaching your own other shore no matter what it is, and that dream continues.”

Determining YOUR finish line? Crossing YOUR own challenges to reach a new shore…that inspires me. Doesn’t it you?