Proud dad Russ Cape introduced our speaker and his and Genny's daughter Alex Cape. Alex and her friend Susan Simmons did a marathon swim of Lake Cowichan on the August long weekend. Theirs is a flatwater, unassisted long distance swim. Alex is a medic with the Canadian Forces stationed in Esquimalt. She is a music grad. She is a long time member of swim clubs and has been a coach since graduating. She is also active in hockey and slow pitch. Russ thanked supporters from the club who helped Alex and Susan raise over $2,000 for MS and Special Olympics (Special O).
Alex started by thanking people for their support. She and Susan raised over $2,000 for Special O and over $4,000 for MS. Important for both she and Susan is the fact that all of the money they raise stays local. The money for Special O helps train athletes at Crystal Pool. Half the money for MS goes to fitness and half to research.
Alex has been marathon swimming for 7 years with extreme training the last 3. The swim on Lake Cowichan is the same distance as the English Channel. Alex swam 70K last year and 94K this year. She was aiming for 105K this year but weather and conditions of the lake prevented her from reaching that goal. Alex planned to talk about the physical and mental aspects of the marathon as well as the community that supports the effort. Alex said her sister had put together the slides for the presentation. if you want to see some of the photos and learn more, check here.
Alex started by saying she was not comfortable calling herself a marathon swimmer, she's a person who swims marathons but feels like a rookie with has lots to learn. For nourishment during this summer's swim she ate five loaves of bread and two buckets of peanut butter. 
Alex started her long swims in 2013. That year she swam 34K in 11.5 hours. They encountered 3-4 foot waves. She went into that swim "blind and stupid" and learned a lot. The furthest distance she had swam before that was 12 K. In 2014, she swam 70K.
Last year's swim (2014) started on Friday night. Alex swam all night Friday and all day Saturday, finishing Saturday evening. She had an amazing crew that included people on the water and media support. 
The rules for the flatwater distance swim (English Channel) mean no wetsuit, no touching or drafting a boat. At the end of the 2014 swim, Alex was hypothermic and her electrolytes were off. She learned about the physical and mental preparation required and what it's like to swim in darkness.
This year's (2015) longer swim required the erection of a radio tower for communications support. The support team is half military.  Before the race, her nephew helped keep her calm. She and Susan had glow sticks on their backs for the night swimming and the support boats we well lit. Like last year, this year's swim started Friday evening. Alex swam for two days, finishing on Sunday evening, after a 51 hours!
Alex trains at Thetis Lake on a 1.5 K course. She swam 720K in 2013, 1,200K in 2014 and 1,400K this year. 
Susan has MS but Alex doesn't. The mission for their swims is not about dollars but to spread the word that you can still be physically active and part of the community if you have MS or a disability. The two of them created a fitness challenge "What's your 105" to encourage others to set their own fitness goals. This challenge has gone all over North America with people doing push-ups, walking, planting flowers, doing yoga - a wild diversity of activities around the 105 theme. The aim of the challenge is to create a sense of accomplishment and to improve physical and mental well-being.
The marathon swimming has meant that they sacrificed social lives and sleep. They both have full-time jobs and the equivalent time in training. Alex feels like she spends her life in the change room. The effort has had a huge impact, pushing her to mental and physical limits.
Alex shared her appreciation for the commitment of volunteers in support of the swim. There were over 100 volunteers. During the weekend, there were two wedding anniversaries, four birthdays and a friend who would otherwise have been fishing for salmon. The community that has built up around Alex provides meaning about what's important.
But it is important to focus on the accomplishment. Only 12 people have been on the moon. Alex is among 13 people in the world who have swam this distance.
When she got discouraged when the end of the lake didn't seem any closer, she appreciate the darkness, the quiet, the beautiful moon. For encouragement she would focus on completing the next 10 strokes, the next 5 strokes.
Any interest in swimming the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Victoria to Port Angeles like Marilyn Bell?
Marilyn Bell is a hero but Alex swims flat water. Salt water carries different challenges, greater buoyancy but bigger waves.
How did they eat?
Food was passed using a butterfly net. The crew would tell her when to eat and drink. She would tread water to get the food. 
How did she keep her body temperature up?
By keeping moving and keeping feeding times short.
How does she train so she doesn't get injured?
She hopes for the best. She has experienced shoulder and back problems. She does physio and work at the gym.
How does she stay mentally in the game?
Sometimes during periods of despair, she will think of songs, people that are important, others who are an inspiration. She will do visualizations and remind herself she can do it.
How did she recruit the volunteers?
Many are military friends, some from her hockey team and half the swim team. There were three military medics and her brother-in-law is a doctor. They built momentum over time which gathered the team. People were attracted by Alex and Susan's enthusiasm and by radio and media. The recruitment was very grassroots.
Will she do it again?
She's not sure yet, she wants to but is not sure it is something she should do again.
Lauren Moline thanked Alex for her amazing presentation. Harbourside has provided a nutritious lunch for a youth at the Threshold Society in Alex's name.