Hello friends!

4 days down 3 to go!!! Logging in about 66.3 miles in the Hudson River thus far!

Tomorrow, June 30th is a rest day, but I will be back on Friday for Stage 5! (I am so excited because one of my favorite people/twin, incredibly decorated marathon swimmer, inspiration, and Smithie 2020, Charlotte Samuels will be swimming too)!

There will be a more comprehensive post on the details of each day when I have time after 8 Bridges, but it has been an incredible and transformative experience thus far. The water, scenery, and sheer distance is incredible and majestic. To think we have such a beautiful and swimmable resource so close to home is mind blowing.

The swimmers/kayakers I have met and the event camaraderie is truly remarkable. So many individuals from so many walks of life. Wow. I am taking it all in and loving every minute.

I am so grateful for this experience, the opportunity to swim, Margrethe, the Hudson River, and my supportive family,friends and sponsors. I see all the messages and try my best to respond to all of them because they truly warm my heart.

Mom, Dad, Cam…I couldn’t do this without you. Love you.


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8 bridges

I wanted to make sure you all have the available tracker link so you can see the day-to-day progress as I make my way down the 120 miles of the Hudson River!
You can access the tracker at the link below (it will show all the swimmers in the water at once….about 20 each day). All you have to do is find my name when it loads on Sunday (the first day of swimming): It should be a blank web page before Sunday.
During the swim my dad will be on the water, helping as a volunteer, but not directly next to me in a boat. He will be on a boat overseeing all the swimmers. I have a FABULOUS kayaker Margarethe who will be by my side the whole time. My mom and brother will be following in their car, trying to find some good observatory spots. The tracker is connected to my cell phone, which will be in Margarethe’s possession. So since Margarethe is next to me, it should give my track….however, if Margarethe has to paddle away from me for whatever reason (get more feeds etc), it may show some discrepancies. Also, some people may be racing each stage….since I am doing all 7, I will likely be in the middle to back of the pack. Finishing is the goal!
In the meantime, if you want more information on the swim, the morning start times, which bridges Ill be swimming to and the distances, check out the event website:
I will be keeping my blog up to date: www.theenglishchannelgrind.wordpress.com
I will also be checking email messages periodically if you want to reach me!
Thank you so all the love, support, positivity and prayers. I have a lot of time to reflect doing these long swims, and you all are always in my thoughts. It makes a huge difference. i feel incredibly blessed.

As we round the final 3 days before GO TIME, final preparations have been put in place.

-Checking the weather and water temps for the 7-days of the swim

-Figuring out logistics- where to meet for the start, where to meet for the finish

-Solidifying my week nutritional plan (what works for breakfast, pre swim, post swim, and dinner)

-Solidifying my week during-swim nutritional plan- which alternations of drinks/food to use and when

-Practicing chugging water every 30 minutes to simulate feeds (and making sure I am used to taking in 8 ounces in a short period of time).

-Making sure I packed everything I need, from anti-inflammatory supplements to vaseline, to food I’m familiar with, to swim suits, extra caps, goggles, earplugs etc.

-Having group meetings to make sure everyone is clear what their roles are

-Keeping in touch with my sponsors

-Making sure I am maintaining the 10 lbs I have had to gain for this swim (for insulation as well as a calorie reserve). As well as making sure I stick with the same nutritional plan that I have been for the past month (protein, carbs, healthy fats, no heavy sugars, no alcohol).

-Meeting with my PT Andy Cannon from Northeast Rehab to keep my body loose, rested, and aligned.

-Thanking the many people who have helped me on this journey…and in life!

This week it has been crucial to not try anything new. Sometimes something as silly as using a new shampoo could cause an allergic reaction, which would be incredibly inconvenient. Or even something like deciding to go bowling with friends can cause excess strain from new muscle movement. So needless to say, I’ve been keeping it very low key, very basic.

In addition, I’ve been in contact with the event directors: Rondi Davies and David Barra, who have been so dedicated and helpful answering all my questions. I can’t even imagine putting on an event of this magnitude, but they somehow do, and I can only be amazed at their abilities. They are awesome, I’m so grateful for them.

The mental component is crucial this week. It’s important to keep a positive outlook, remind yourself of what you’ve done to get to this point, and be grateful for such an incredible opportunity to challenge and test myself. When it comes down to it, I have nothing to loose. I have an incredible and historic opportunity in front of me and I’m training because I’ve been given the opportunity, not because I have to do it. You have to enjoy the ride. All the twists and turns. Doing these swims doesn’t make you a “good” or “bad” person, its something I enjoy doing and I’m excited for it!!!! I’ll be bringing some Boston into the Hudson River.

As my Coach Kim Bierwert told me, “swim with the water, relax and have fun”!

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Fads sweep through the “wellness” industry like nobody’s business. If you paid attention to all the spruikers, you’d be drinking your shake while squirting water up your bum, popping some pills, sweating it out in a sauna, wrapping yourself in plastic…oh no wait, plastic’s toxic, let’s try clay instead, juice fasting (or if you’re really hardcore…water fasting!), meditating, practicing mindfulness, acupuncture, chiropractic, detox tea, yoga, pilates, running (it’s good for you), not running (it’s bad for your joints)…you get the gist. The thing is, there’s validity in every single one of these things for someone, at some point in their life but does that mean any one of these things is THE thing? Hell, of course not! For some reason though, the wellness industry turns some people (you know the ones, we all have ‘that friend’ ;-)) into evangelistic fanatics who so strongly believe that their way is the only way that it literally becomes the only thing they talk about!

Me? I’m a bit of a trier. I’ll try pretty much anything! No, I’m not looking for a magic pill or the one thing that will solve all my worldly problems…  it’s more that I’m curious. I have this strange philosophy that I’m not really entitled to an opinion on something unless I’ve tried it. Strange, I know! So, with that in mind, when the latest resurging fad: Sensory Deprivation Floatation Tanks started hitting my Facebook newsfeed with a vengeance, well, I figured I’d give it a try!

If you haven’t heard of Float Tanks, give it a little google time. This is a little excerpt from the website of the float centre that I went to, www.beyondrest.com.au (HIGHLY recommend if you’re in Melbourne or Perth!!)

“The tank was created by neurophysicist Dr John C Lilly 60 year ago when he was doing research on brain waves and altered states of consciousness. The float tanks look like a large, enclosed bathtub. They are usually built from fibreglass and are designed to block out all external distractions, such as sights, sounds, tactile sensations and gravity. The floatation tank contains a super-saturated Epsom salt solution, which is about 25cm deep. This creates an environment similar to that of the Dead Sea, letting you float effortlessly on the surface of the water and enjoy a feeling of weightlessness! Once you are settled, it is almost impossible to tell which parts of your body are in the water and which aren’t. This will trick your brain into thinking that you’re floating in the air. The buoyancy created by the Epsom salt solution effectively removes the effects of gravity on the body. This will make you feel weightless, letting every single muscle in your body fully relax. With earplugs in and (if you choose) the tank’s interior lights switched off, the quietness and darkness will allow your mind to drift into a deep state of relaxation, creating a disconnection from today’s busy environment. Outside distractions such as sight, sound, tactile sensations, and gravity fade away, so you feel like you’re floating in space, losing track of where your body ends and the water begins. Noise from the outside doesn’t get to you. This is achieved by water and air being heated to your body temperature so you cannot distinguish between the air and water thus giving you the floating feeling.

“We had a Zen master who visited my lab once, and he asked to go in the tank for an hour. Most of his life he had meditated every day for four or five hours or more. And he thought the depth of meditation he reached in the tank was on par with a level he reached maybe once a year in his normal meditation environment—which was not exactly the middle of Times Square. He was amazed.” – Peter Suedfeld PHD

The reduced stimulation encountered in the floatation tank refocuses the your attention to internal stimuli. At first this includes the novel sensations of floating effortlessly in darkness and quiet. The sensations of the body become more salient, making the flotation tank a walk-in biofeedback device. This natural biofeedback initiates a self-regulation process that encourages relaxation. This relaxation is augmented by the full body absorption of magnesium that elicits the release of muscle tension. As physical sensations become less noticeable, mental activity can come to the fore. For those not used to being alone with their thoughts this can be difficult. However, even unpleasant thoughts become more pleasant as the body descends into a more deeply relaxed state. Eventually even the parade of thoughts subsides and the mind enters a meditative state. Flotation therapy has been academically studied in the USA and in Sweden with published results showing reduction of both pain and stress. At the moment there have been 80+ studies done on the benefits of floating.”

I booked an introductory special of 3 x 1 hour floats. I chose to do my floats on Friday evenings, at the end of the work week…kind of an extreme wind down theory! It definitely worked. The centre in Prahran is beautifully designed with a sacred geometry theme. I was led to a private room with the tank and a shower etc and left to prepare and enter the tank. Once showered and prepped with earplugs in, I stepped into the tank and pulled the lid closed behind me. The light stays on in the tank for about 5 minutes, giving you time to adjust and settle yourself before you are in complete darkness. Soft, meditative-style music plays, seemingly through the water for the first 10 minutes. So, essentially, it’s in the tank with lights and music, then dark and music, then dark and silence. For the next 45 minutes I was alone with my thoughts and enhanced awareness of my body. Initially, I became very aware of the twitching in my body as it settled into the magnesium saturated water where you float quite saliently, the magnesium making the water almost solid feeling. It seemed to highlight any injuries I was nursing, drawing the mind’s attention to these areas in almost an alerting manner. As my mind quieted and I slipped into a meditative state, I found myself moving through various states. Initially my thoughts were of recent events and challenges, then they deftly moved to specific areas of life. Health. Relationships. Family. Whilst I wasn’t consciously focusing on any particular thing, it was almost like watching a movie moving from one area to the next. At about the 3/4 mark, I felt a rush of endorphins and found myself giggling to myself in the tank. Not at anything in particular either. Weirdo. Before I knew it, the music started back up, signalling the last 10 minutes of tank time, then the lights were on and it was time to get out! Carefully extracting myself from the tank so as not to get any water in my eyes (this is the most crucial part…it stings like a mofo!!), I hopped back in the shower and stood under the warm water in a dazed state of bliss. Once out, I found my way to the designated chill out space where there was warm herbal tea and friendly conversation waiting for me. This was a really important part of the experience…the opportunity to debrief, ask a few questions and just generally sit with your post-float glow for a bit before heading back out into reality was amazing.

I have to say, once home, I was out cold almost as soon as I hit the pillow and had one of the best sleeps of my life! Seriously vivid dreams! I’m naturally an early riser too so to wake up and look at the clock the next day and see 11am was a serious shock! But I felt amazing. I think I had that post-float glow for the next 2 or 3 days :)

Of all the wellness fads I’ve tried, this one is definitely up there as a ‘must do’. My subsequent 2 floats only got better and I’m definitely going back for more! You do need to be prepared to be alone with your own thoughts though and, if you’re someone that doesn’t spend much time with yourself, it can be quite confronting! Lucky I think I’m pretty good company ?

Disclaimer: I am NOT nor have I ever been pregnant. I figured this was an important clarification.

I’ve been asked many times what preparing, training, doing, and recovering from a marathon swim is like? As I began to think about it, my best analogy was a pregnancy…. or what I imagine a pregnancy to be like. I’ve verified my experiences with some of the mothers I babysit for…along with my own mama!

First off, after you begin training for a marathon swim you start to notice bodily changes. Your arms, shoulders, and neck get bigger. The clothing you once wore, doesn’t quite fit as well as it used to. You get pretty tired and generally feel rather uncomfortable from being constantly sore. You get much more hungry than you ever previously were, but when you get the food, you have a hard time finishing it. You start craving food you haven’t craved in a long time. In addition, if you eat at the wrong time (before a long swim) it may only be a meal you rented.

Then the questions begin: You start imagining what you think the swim will be like. What qualities or characteristics will it have? Will you be equipped to handle it? Will you be a “good” marathon swimmer? Did you do enough reading on it? Have you talked to others who have been through it successfully? …You start hearing horror stories of it being done unsuccessfully.

It’s not before long that you start having vivid dreams about experiencing the swim. You’re swimming in the wrong direction and realize it halfway… you’re swimming and your hands keep breaking through ice…. you wake up in mild panic, but relieved that it isn’t real. You use these dreams as ways to improve your training so these situations are not reality.

You start to buy some products that you never thought you’d need, or need quite so much of…. Vaseline, check, body glide anti-chaffing stick, check, ibuprofen, check, muscle therapy gel, check.

Then its time for the “labor.” You show up for your swim and are patted down by officials, asked questions for cognitive baseline data, and given final words of encouragement. You have a select group of people you trust with you to share in the moment. You wouldn’t want just anyone around for this…haha.

You start swimming. You don’t know how long this will take…. you’ve heard dream stories of great currents, which resulted fast swims, but you’ve also heard horror stories of near 24-hour bouts of extreme effort. You try to stay in your own zone being mentally prepared for whatever happens.

Some people get emotional due to exhaustion. Others stay in the consistent mental zone. Either way hallucinations typically happen.

Once you see the finish, your mind narrows and all you want to do is get to the damn end! You’ll do whatever you have to at this point.

On your final strokes you are incredibly happy. As you finish the endorphins are unreal. You can barely hobble, and can’t move your arms.  You try to talk but your words don’t quite make sense.You’re still very swollen and have some battle scars.

Days go by and you reflect on the experience. People reach out to you full of joy, positivity and excitement. Over time the experience becomes a little more warped in your memory.

It’s almost as if you forgot the pains of the labor….

And before you know it, you’re on to your second one!

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I’ve blogged about this a while back.  But apparently I need to write about it again.  Probably because I spent so many years of my life in the dark in regards to HOW powerful language and spoken word can be, especially on a subconscious level.  Come to think of it, I believe the last time I blogged about this topic, I wrote about the word “just”, and how women in particular need to eliminate this word from our vocabulary as much as possible.

In a nutshell, words we often use, we think have a particular meaning.  Then, after a while, they become habitual, and unnecessary.  Without awareness, we continue using words that aren’t even needed, and instead of getting our point across, they actually have an adverse effect.  For example, the word “just” seems harmless, but often it comes across to others that we feel like we have to justify ourselves for thinking or acting a certain way.  In business particularly, women can damage themselves with the overuse of this word.

Lets say you’re in a board meeting.  Conversations are going around what the next best move is for the company.  A couple of guys start chiming in with their opinion and you strongly disagree.

John: “I don’t think management needs to be policing these departments.”

You: “Can I say something, John?”, “I just don’t think these departments have the right leaders to not need policing from management.”

Instead of answering, “John, I don’t think these departments have the right leaders to not need policing from management.”

Can you see how much stronger the second reply is?

Not only are you not asking for permission to speak, you simply state the facts from your point of view without feeling like you need to justify why- In other words, you bloody matter, and your goddamn opinion is valuable, and doesn’t need justifying.

The same can be said for words like “really” and “very”.  Again, women in particular tend to overuse these words to feel like we need to hit home our point, and be heard.  When in actuality, these words take away from the point you are trying to make.

Your daughter: I beat a boy up at school today for calling my friend Sally a fat pig.

You: “I’m very proud of you Jessica Ann!”

Instead of answer, “I’m proud of you Jessica Ann!”

Can you see how very takes away from being proud?

Now, the whole point of this blog was to write about the word “sorry”.  STOP USING IT.  NOW!

When I was running Kamp Konfidence, and talking and texting to teens on a daily basis, I cannot tell you how many times I found myself repeating myself: “STOP FUCKING SAYING YOU’RE SORRY!  YOU DO NOT OWE ME, OR ANYONE ELSE AN APOLOGY!”.  (and yes, dropping f-bombs when talking to my girls, works for us. I apologise in advance for offending any readers, but I’m sure as shit NOT sorry!)

Lets say I sent my mini me, Courtney a couple of text messages.  I don’t hear back from her for 30 minutes.  When usually, as most teenagers do, respond right away because their phone is in their hand.

Me:  Hey shawty!  How was schoo?  Did you smash that math test or what bissssssssssch!?

Court:  Oh heyyyyyyyyy babe!  Sorry for the slow reply, I was in the shower.

Me: What the fuck are you saying sorry for?  I didn’t know you had to be sorry for taking a shower??????

Court: Oh my gosh!  I never even realised that!

Saying or typing “I’m sorry” without even needing to, subconsciously tells ourselves that we are in a constant state of, once again, needing to justify ourselves, explain ourselves, or any other unnecessary bullshit that takes away from our power.  The word “sorry” has become an empty, meaningless word most often used by people who are prone to speak passive-aggressively.

“Oh- I’m SORRY that you feel that way.  and I’m SORRY that you think I was a bitch to you-”

lol- you see where this is going.  Is that person truly sorry?  NO! Of course not.  Instead of taking responsibility and communicating like a win-win assertive person, and responding (not reacting) with “Oh- I apologise you feel that way.  Is there something I did to cause you to feel I was a bitch to you?  Because it certainly wasn’t intentional, and I’d like to resolve it straight away.  I don’t want to fight with you.  We both deserve to be free from guilt and all that other bullshiiiiiiiiiiit!”.


SO!  In conclusion, lets set some things straight:

  1. be mindful/aware when using the words “really” and “very”.  they are not needed most often and actually take away from what you’re aiming to express.
  2. eliminate the words “just” and “sorry” as much as possible.  Instead, if you actually owe an apology for something, say “I apologise”.
  3. pay attention to your self esteem.  when you take time to be aware of your communication style, the words you use, and tell yourself you ARE worthy of great shit, you will attract such.  (and I use the “foul” language from time to time when I write because I want you to know that I am an average woman, with not-so-average strength hahahaha!  I’m not some communications expert with a degree.  I’m simple a woman who wants to empower people to take control of their lives and help them realise that we are ALL worthy)

Namaste Bitchessssssssssssss!

The post STOP SAYING “SORRY” appeared first on Kortney Olson >> Konfidence By Kortney.

h1OPbvE8Is the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim the longest swim in the world? 

Yes, at 120 miles it is the worlds longest marathon swim. (Florida to Cuba was 110 miles)

How is the 8 Bridges 120 miles of the Hudson different then the English Channel swim?

First: the distance. The English Channel was 20-30 miles (as the crow flies 21 miles, but you are swimming in place fighting a current for a period of time). The Hudson is 120 miles. The Hudson River does have a favorable current. But, although it’s a river, it is not entirely downstream. Each day’s marathon swim begins with the ebb tide at one bridge and ends at the next. There is a bit of urgency to make the current so you don’t get pushed the wrong way.

Second:  the body of water. The English Channel was an open body of water; the biggest shipping lane in the world. While swimming in the Channel there were many instances where I didn’t see land anywhere…you felt like you were stranded in the middle of the ocean going 2-3 miles an hour. The Hudson River, while wide, has land on both sides. This land consists of some of the most historic sights in America. In addition, we get to swim by the Statue of Liberty on July 3rd or 4th….dream come true.

Third: specific start and stop dates. Unlike the Channel where I had to wait 12 days for a good time to start, the 8 Bridges Hudson River swim is very specific. It is 7 days (with 2 built in days for potential electrical storms and high wind). On June 26th I start.

Fourth: fellow swimmers! During this swim, there are about 20 swimmers every stage. Not every swimmer is doing all 7 stages (only a few of us crazies) but there will be people in the water around me. We all have our own kayaker, and are all aiming to complete each stage.

Is the Hudson River Clean? 

Part of the mission of the swim is to raise awareness that the Hudson River is clean and enjoyable. The water quality is monitored by Riverkeeper. While I love a challenge, I would never subject myself to something that wasn’t safe for my health or the health of others.

What is one of the biggest challenges of the swim?

Recovery. Unlike other marathon swims where you are done after 20 miles. This swim consists of recovering day after day to complete the 120 miles. Proper recovery means getting the nutritional values you need, stretching, sleep, massage, and mentally being ready for 20 miles of swimming every day for 7 days.

What do you wear?

8 Bridges 120 mile Hudson River Swim follows Marathon Swimming Rules: no wetsuit, no water mp3s, no touching anyone, no getting out,  one swim cap, no flippers etc. It’s purely you and your swimming ability.

Will you have family on the water with you?

For most stages, no. My mum and brother will be trailing in their car, and my dad will be on the “mother boat” which will be around the swimmers but not directly next to me.

What is your training philosophy?

You can’t study like a B student and expect to get A’s. What this means is that you need to align yourself and your training to the specific demands of the swim. For example, rather than train in the pool every day, I do open water swims. I do back to back 2-6 hour swims because my event is a back to back kind of swim. I train with the worlds best kayaker (my brother Cameron) because I will be following a kayaker during my own swim.I watch videos of past individuals competing in the 8 Bridges swim to mentally prepare myself for the sights, logistics and atmosphere I will be in. (WARNING: I did this before my channel swim and the first video I clicked was a very dramatic failed attempt (luckily it didn’t really phase me and I took it as an educational moment)….but just be careful what you click on if you get easily scared).


You now are sponsored…..Are you still going to law school? 

Yes. I have been accepted to law school! While I am blessed with this unique opportunity to be able to follow my childhood dream and go pro in swimming with sponsors, I have professional legal career goals too….my sponsors have made achieving these goals financially doable.


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