i guess i could be crazy

October 1, 2008

I have asserted, rather strenuously, that I am not crazy. I may have exaggerated a bit. That is to say, I may, in fact, be crazy.

About 10 years ago (an arbitrary number meaning “I don’t remember exactly when,” kind of like Hrair) I entered a couple of triathlons. I don’t know why, maybe for the same reason I ran a couple of marathons, just to see if I could, which, I guess, is kind of like “because it’s there.”

The thing is, I ride pretty well, I don’t run very well, and I don’t really swim at all.

I mean, I can swim. I swim from the end of the diving board to the side. I swim from the bottom of the cliff, back to shore. I swim from the end of the boat out to the rope handle. I can tread water for a very long time.

But I don’t really SWIM. Oh, I can put my face in the water and do a sort of freestyle crawl, but what I can’t do is put my face in and out of the water WHILE I swim. I put my face in, swim a few strokes, and then stop and get the water off my face, and then go again. Because I DON’T LIKE WATER ON MY FACE.

For the tri’s I’ve done, I have simply done the elementary back stroke. I’m typically one of the last five or ten “swimmers” out of the water, and I spend my bike and run trying to get back to middle of the pack.

So when I told Kim I wanted to do an Ironman (you know, because it’s there), she said “only if you learn to swim.” An astute reader might wonder at this point why Kim gets veto power, or why she gets to put conditions on my Ironman participation.

I’ve wondered the same thing myself. I guess there’s always been a lottery.


I agreed to learn to swim, to guarantee being able to get out of the water ahead of the 2 hour 20 minute cut off. I got myself a private teacher, and met her every morning for a week at the local swimming pool.

After a week of watching me flail around in the water, where I would put my face in the water and try to implement the stroke suggestions she gave, and then, when I had to breathe, practically leap out of the water, frantically brushing the drops of moisture off my face, she just shook her head sadly.

“You know, your face isn’t actually IN the water–you just have water ON your face.”

“I feel like I’m drowning.”

At the end of the week, we agreed to part ways. “You don’t need a swim coach” she said. “You need a psychiatrist.”

Still no Ironman. But one of these days I’m going to swim 2.4 miles in under 2:20 using the elementary back stroke. With no water on my face. Because I can live with crazy.


20 Responses to “i guess i could be crazy”

  1. chtrich Says:

    Exact same reason I don’t try a triathlon…..I’m not a swimmer. Although I also want to do one becuase it’s there.

  2. bikemike Says:

    wipe water off face…dude, i laughed so hard, i peed my pants. now everyone at the shop is laughing at me.
    ahh…the circle of life.

  3. theincrediblewoody Says:

    For me it’s the eyes. I can’t stand water in my eyes!! So if I swim, it is definitely with goggles.

  4. dug Says:

    can i just say how hard it would be to live with you if you “prepared” for an ironman and came out of the water at 2:21:00 and you didn’t get to do the part you like, the bike. that’s why i have veto power.


  5. KanyonKris Says:

    Backstroking an Ironman fits, since you have no problem riding a single-speed with a basket wearing plaid shorts for Leadville. You do things your way, so why should suddenly become a conformist for an Ironman?

  6. VH1 Says:

    You are wierd!

  7. steve Says:

    Finally, you have come around to being comfortable with yourself!! We all knew you were crazy, just waiting for you to realize it and come to grips with it. NOW you can actually enjoy life and quit being miserable all the time. soooo, I can suggest a psychiatrist I know who is very good with irrational fears….

  8. tonks Says:

    Out of morbid curiosity, how do you wash your hair without getting water on your face, and does that make you freak out as badly as putting your face in the water while swimming?

  9. dug Says:

    tonks, i can’t explain it. i can stand in the shower with my face in the stream for hours on end.

    but for some reason, trying to swim, when i pull my face out to breathe, it’s like i’m being waterboarded.

    i told you–crazy.

  10. Jenn Says:

    Hey there Dug. I feel like I know you:) I managed to find my way here from Elden’s page and I have to say every day I look forward to seeing if you’ve posted. From hilarious stories about movie quotes and in-laws to tales of that horible bathroom, you never fail to make me laugh. Thanks for that!

  11. Rob Says:

    Did the instructor blow on your face just before dunking your head under?

  12. Rick S. Says:

    Dug- how long can you hold your breath? It’s only 2 hours.

  13. Bob Says:

    I, too, want to complete an Ironman, but I have a different problem — a bad knee. I can do the 2.4-mile swim in a little over an hour, and I can do the 112-mile bike ride in 6 or 7 hours, but how long would it take me to walk 26 miles? Six hours? Still, it’s worth trying. Let’s put together a tentative plan at Fall Moab. Then we can create a Powerpoint presentation, complete with goals and objectives, for the wives.

  14. bikemike Says:

    Elden should do a longer version of his triathalon next year…how long can you eat meat cooked on a grill?

  15. KanyonKris Says:

    Big difference between water on your face when in the shower verses swimming: most people aren’t breathing hard in the shower. I feel twinges of dug’s fear when I swim, but just block it out. It’s not fun to be swimming and breathing hard and suck in some water. I’m lucky I had swimming lessons and some races when I was a kid so I adapted to the discomfort while I was young and adaptable.

    I did a short Tri this year and swam forward crawl at first, until I got tired, then backstroked the rest of the way. I swam backstroke in races as a kid so I’m pretty fast. And way less splashed water in the face and into the air holes.

  16. Fish Says:

    Bob – I’m embarking on IMZ in November. I suck at the swim AND the run. If I can finish it, anyone can.

    Dug – if I can finish, that’s the best argument to Kim that you can do it without worries.

  17. Jenn Says:

    Thanks for wandering past my page. Hopefully you didn’t have to whistle as you went past:) I see we sorta kinda totally disagree on politics, but, eh, no one’s perfect! (Though we totally agree on Sundance and toilet plungers, that’s got to count for something!) I’m actually rather frustrated with this election and so I’m kinda keeping my personal opinions to myself (hense the guest post by Dad). I’m waiting for the real dialogue to start: “Your candidate wears glasses!” “Yeah, well yours has big ears!”. You know, more adult then the stuff so far:)

  18. dug Says:

    jenn, the real dialog HAS started.

    “i can see russia from my house!”

  19. bikemike Says:

    Dug, you think you’re crazy, brother, we’re going to SEE the definition of crazy at the debates tonight.

  20. forgingahead Says:

    Hi Dug, I found you from Elden’s blog and was reading through your october entries when I got to this one. I seriously laughed out loud! Did you really try swim lessons? That is just too funny – well a little sad too cause I love swimming – but mostly funny. I did my very first tri this summer and I’m hooked.

    So as I’m reading your posts I’m thinking – wow, guy sounds pretty liberal and *normal* – how does he live there?

    I live in SF where I often feel like the conservative one in the crowd – just wondering how you manage the opposite.

    Great blog too!

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