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.