Announcing My Professional Debut as an Almost-Swimmer

Dec 30

Announcing My Professional Debut as an Almost-Swimmer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 12/30/2013 Rebecca Kelley Mediocre Industries mediocreathlete@gmail.com Mediocre Athlete Announces Professional Debut as Almost-Swimmer 30-Year Old Female the First to Go Pro in Threatening to Swim Seattle, WA:┬áToday, Rebecca Kelley, a 30-year old mediocre athlete who has somehow managed to complete two Ironman-distance races despite her unwillingness to get out of her warm bed and train most of the time, announced that she will be turning pro in the one discipline she excels at the most: very nearly doing her swim workouts but never actually completing them. After nearly a year and a half of threatening to get back into the pool, Kelley knew she found her calling as a professional almost-swimmer. When asked about the dedication it took to get her to this point, Kelley said, “It wasn’t easy. I can’t tell you how many times I’d fill my swim bag with my swimsuit, goggles, a swim cap, and the tools I’d need to make myself a stronger, more capable swimmer, and set my alarm to ass o’clock in the morning so I could swim, only to crack a bleary eye when my phone lit up at 6 am, mutter “Fuck that,” and shut it off so I could go back to sleep. The process was exhausting but I managed to stick to my routine of almost swimming and execute a 100% failure rate, which is no small feat.” Kelley, who hasn’t swum since her triathlon coach made her participate in the athletes practice swim at Ironman St. Croix 70.3 in May 2013, said she knew she had a solid shot at going pro when she realized how very few of her teammates skipped swim workouts with the enthusiasm and drive that she did. “I’m not a braggart by any means,” she explained, “but when it comes to not swimming, I feel as if I’m in a whole other league than my fellow athletes. I know people who will skip a swim workout here and there, but I literally have a whole pile of workouts I’ve written up and never actually completed. And I signed up for another Ironman and still haven’t gotten back in the pool, which to me shows how seriously I plan on...

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How an American Gladiator Helped My Boyfriend Plan the Best Marriage Proposal Ever

Oct 22

How an American Gladiator Helped My Boyfriend Plan the Best Marriage Proposal Ever

On October 12, after nine supremely awesome years of dating, the BFG surprised me with an epic marriage proposal in New York City that involved the eager participation of a former American Gladiator. No, I’m not kidding. This post has nothing to do with mediocre fitness but the engagement has enough of a backstory that I figured I’d write about it so I can just pass the link along to anyone who squeals and asks how Jason proposed to me. If you’re all about the sports stuff, skip this one. If, however, you’d like to read a somewhat long but amusing, pop-culture-rich tale of how a Mediocre Athlete met a Big Friendly Giant and got engaged to be married nine years later (and how Laser the American Gladiator fits into all of this), then this post, my friend, is right up your alley. The Origin Story On August 6, 2004, I turned 21 years old and rallied some friends to celebrate by bar-hopping through some of the sketchiest watering holes the University District had to offer. One of my friends brought along a guy we had both worked with back when we were poor 18-year olds employed at Best Buy near the mall. His name was Jason, and he started out in the Media department at about the same time I got hired as a cashier. Jason and I had hung out only once before in a group setting so I vaguely knew him but we weren’t exactly friends. However, after a few bars and many horribly mixed birthday drinks, we found ourselves tucked into a corner bonding over a common interest: awesomely bad Jean-Claude Van Damme action movies. We chatted for hours, sharing our favorite gratuitous “Van Damme does the splits” scenes (spoiler alert: all of them) and bonding over our love of film, from guilty pleasures to art-house indies and everything in between. At the end of the night, I whipped out my gray Nokia 3300 series phone and took down his phone number. I texted him during class the following week, and he responded (aww yiss). Over the next five weeks, we racked up obscene cell phone bills, texting back and forth. We went to a...

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Pain in the Ass

Oct 10

Pain in the Ass

I’m currently sitting on a flight from Seattle to New York (well, Newark) feeling fidgety and uncomfortable. No, it’s not because of your standard “sardines packed into a tin” dread of being crammed into a metal bird with a couple hundred of your closest germ-riddled stranger-neighbors. Nor is it because I’m a nervous flier (though I don’t take descents well). My constant shifting and pained expressions have to do with something else, something horribly awful and appropriately Mediocre. Allow me to rewind to yesterday afternoon. I was at Elite Fitness (they must have relaxed their standards as I am elite in nothing but extreme nacho consumption) getting my strength on with one of the trainers. One of the sets he forced me to endure was a circuit duo consisting of a 5×5 set of bench press followed by weighted crunches. I wimpily grunted my way through the bench press (and managed to burst some blood vessels near my armpit during the process — lovely) and made my way onto the floor to hug a weight and knock out some sit-ups. Set #1 was fine, Set #2 okay, Set #3 a bit fatiguing, etc. Towards the end of my mini sufferfest, however, I noticed that my crunches were starting to feel uncomfortable. Not on my abs, mind you, or my back, or even my hands that were sweatily clutching a weight to my chest. Rather, as I progressed through each set, I noticed my ass was becoming less and less tolerant of the constant up-and-down motions to which I was subjecting it. I snuck a couple fidgets and wedgie picks when my trainer wasn’t looking while mentally shaking my fist at what used to be a tried-and-true pair of workout shorts that had never previously given me any issues. By the end of the session I was sweaty and tired and had momentarily forgotten about my butt discomfort. And then I stripped down and got into the locker room showers. Having realized that no, Elite Fitness did not actually replace their water with jalapeno vinegar-soaked knives, I realized that my badonkadonk had somehow accumulated an impressive amount of chafing during my strength workout. Now, I’ve written about chafing before and...

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Grand Theft Auto V Includes a Triathlon Mini-Game

Sep 19

Grand Theft Auto V Includes a Triathlon Mini-Game

Grand Theft Auto V debuted this Tuesday, which was also Jason’s birthday, so to be a good girlfriend, I pre-ordered it for him so he could play this week. The game is much more immersive and expansive than its predecessor. In addition to being able to fondle strippers at the club and visit a medical marijuana dispensary, apparently you can also race in a triathlon: Clearly a triathlete wrote the dialog, because gems like “My watch shocks me if I go off-pace,” “Now this is a mid-life crisis I can enjoy!”, the painful grunts as your player switched from the bike to the run, comments about chafing, and “There’s a lot of middle-class angst down there today!” can only come from someone familiar with the sport. I’ve never heard a five minute triathlon with only eight participants and no official transition area, but this mini-game still made me laugh since it combines two of my favorite hobbies: video games and dumb amounts of multisport...

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I Just Signed Up for My First 50k. I am Not a Smart Person.

Sep 09

I Just Signed Up for My First 50k. I am Not a Smart Person.

Jason the BFG has gotten into trail running this past season. He’s been on a running roll all year, really — last October, he ran a 2:57 at the Portland Marathon and qualified for Boston, and in the past year he’s podiumed at a few small trail races. He ran his first 50k, Chuckanut, in the spring, and in July he tackled his first ever 50-miler, the White River 50. So as he continues to enjoy tackling the trails, his efforts to bully me into going trail running with him have increased noticeably. This morning, Jas egged me on to sign up for my first 50k, the Orcas Island race on February 1, 2014. I plunked down the money to register and forgot about it somewhat until it dawned on me that I should check out the actual course description and terrain for this race. So I did. And here’s what I saw: I’ve been reacting like this pretty much ever since I looked at the course and read that it will be the “hardest version of the course” since it used to be 55k years ago: I’ve made a huge...

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The Ironman Suicide Pact

Aug 27

The Ironman Suicide Pact

A friend and teammate of mine just posted on Facebook that she signed up for her first Ironman-distance triathlon, Ironman Coeur d’Alene. Along with the Active.com registration link, she included an appropriate first-timer reaction of “Oh. My. God. What have I done!?” and warned another teammate of ours that she better not let her down because our teammate was planning to sign up for Coeur d’Alene, too. This, my friends, is the classic Ironman Suicide Pact. I’m a big supporter of the Ironman Suicide Pact. In 2009, when I drove up to Penticton to spectate Ironman Canada and nervously sign up for next year’s race, I took solace in the fact that my friend was planning to sign up with me so we could suffer through the next year together. Unfortunately, after she saw one of our teammates stumble across the finish line directly into the medical tent, she got nervous and backed out of the Suicide Pact until the following year. I was left standing in line next to Jason with my credit card in one hand and my heart in my throat, wondering who the hell I would train with for this ridiculous athletic feat. Of course, I had plenty of teammates to train with and┬ásurvived my first Ironman, but still, there’s some weird comfort in taking the plunge with a buddy by your side, someone who you feel is equally crazy as you are and willing to chalk up the decision to fork over several hundred dollars to propel your body 140.6 miles to temporary insanity. You form a special bond with the folks you sign up with and train with over several months. In 2011, I made another Ironman Suicide Pact with some of my teammates and finished my second Ironman a year later, scrapes, contusions, concussions, and all. I’ve sat on the sidelines this season and will watch 2013 pass by without having pulled on my wetsuit or gotten to the start line of a triathlon all year. It’s a weird feeling, but I’m happy for the time off — I needed to get my work life in order and focus on restoring a happy work/exercise/personal life balance that would recharge my mental health....

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My Mid-Run Defense Mechanism

Aug 23

My Mid-Run Defense Mechanism

Sometimes Jason and I go running “together,” meaning we start from our house at the same time and he promptly leaves me in the dust. We have a 6.5 mile loop we do often, and there’s an option to tack on an extra mile by going around Volunteer Park. Occasionally he’ll run around the park while I’ll soldier on, and he’ll eventually catch up to me towards the end of the loop so we can finish back at the house together. One day, we took off at the same time and he said he was going to add on the Volunteer Park loop, so I waved goodbye and said I’d see him in a while. I went to my “zen” place and let my thoughts wander, having forgone running while listening to music a few years ago. By not listening to music, I feel as if I’m more in touch with my surroundings and more cognizant of cars, pedestrians, cyclists, and other things going on around me. Or so I thought. I was running up the last big hill of the 6.5 mile loop, a long stretch up 24th, while dodging overgrown thorny bushes and trying to keep my heart rate at a decent level. My sights were laser-focused on climbing, so when I heard a “Hey” and saw a huge, close presence coming up right next to me out of the corner of my eye, I was caught off-guard by the sudden appearance of a mystery run companion. So did I do what any rational, normal human being would do and say, “Hi” while moving over slightly so this runner could pass me? No, of course not. Instead, I uttered a breathy, gutteral noise that translated roughly to “WHARRGHHHHHHH!!!” and wound my right arm back to defensively slug this possible kidnapper/rapist/it puts the lotion on its skin dress maker square in the face. As I pivoted to land my punch, I realized I was about to hit my boyfriend in his surprised and equally startled head. Jason winced and blurted out an appropriate, “WHAT THE HELL IT’S ME DON’T PUNCH ME!!!!” I holstered my fist of fury and started laughing so hard, it took away what little breath...

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