Why Would You Invite Me to Swim 6.2 Miles for “Fun”

Nov 07

Why Would You Invite Me to Swim 6.2 Miles for “Fun”

I received an event invite on Facebook from a triathlete friend named Laura (not the same Laura who monologued me at Ironman Canada this year), who I highlighted in my Futile Quest for Abs post for having one of the most glorious set of stomach muscles I’d ever seen. She and I often overlap in age groups, meaning I get my ass kicked six ways from Sunday (or is it to Sunday? I get my ass kicked, that’s the main thing) in every race we both happen to be at. She’s raced at Kona and above all else is a seriously sick swimmer. I was hoping the event invite had to do with a brownie eating contest or perhaps a “Celebrate the holidays with a Christmas Story marathon and inappropriate amounts of yuletide booze,” but no, it’s some bullshit swimming thing. Correction, it’s not some bullshit swimming thing, it’s the ultimate bullshit swimming thing; specifically, the “Fourth Annual 100×100/10k Swim Holiday Extravaganza.” Never mind the fact that my brain cannot comprehend the notion of swimming 6.2 miles in a single day (or week, or month, for that matter, but I digress), or the twisted idea that this is supposed to be a “fun” gathering. No, what I don’t understand is why the hell someone like Laura would invite a swimmer like me to this horrible, horrible event. Is it like hazing? Some sort of sacrifice, maybe, where a fast swimmer must offer up a slow lamb to the Swimming Gods every year so she can continue to bust out sub-55 minute Ironman splits? Because I really don’t understand why this fast pod of swimmers would want to invite a manatee to hang out with their dolphin group. To get an idea of why this event is utter crap, here’s how Laura plans to organize the swim workout: Here is how the breakdown will work (tentatively set to be TWO pace groups, Group A and Group B). Please RSVP with your Pace group selection. If there is enough demand for a faster/slower sendoff, then we will have another lane…first come first served, 40 PEOPLE MAXIMUM…don’t miss out! SENDOFFS MAY CHANGE DEPENDING ON GROUP. In the past, we have done: 10×100...

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This is Why I Hate Swimming

Aug 20

This is Why I Hate Swimming

Earlier this summer I wrote about the day I finally liked swimming. It was a magical morning in A Bay on the big island in Hawaii, and I saw tons of dolphins frolicking in the ocean all around me while I treaded water for 45 minutes and marveled at how I would have missed out on such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity if I hated swimming and refused to swim out that far. My swim on Friday couldn’t have been any further from that moment in my life; in fact, had I seen a pod of dolphins during the Friday Night Swim race (which would have been peculiar considering the race was in a murky lake in Kent, Washington), I would have kicked them all in the face with my non-cramping leg while screaming about how much I hate swimming. Let’s back up a smidge. I was scheduled to do the Swim for Life swim across Lake Washington on a decidedly inconvenient day of the week (Wednesday) at a decidedly inconvenient time (7:30 am). The last time I participated in the swim was two years ago. It was the last big swim before Ironman Canada, and it was mostly a disaster due to how gloriously awful the swim conditions were (wind, heavy chop, strong waves). This year I wanted a better pre-Canada last hurrah swim and hoped to tackle the distance in under 1:30, which would give me a nice little confidence boost going into IMC. Unfortunately, I had to be at work early that day for meetings so I wouldn’t be able to do the charity swim. I told Teresa I was bailing and begrudgingly said I could probably do the Friday Night Swim race later that week instead. This “Plan B” swim option was a bad idea for the following reasons: It was an actual swim race, meaning I’d have a finisher’s time and would be pitted against people who actually enjoy swimming to the point that they sign up for standalone swim races, instead of folks like me who hate it but understand it’s a necessary evil if you want to keep doing these silly triathlons. It was at 6:00 pm on a Friday… …in Kent. So I...

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I’m the Benjamin Button of Swimming

Jan 29

I’m the Benjamin Button of Swimming

I swear, I must be the only person alive who seems to be getting worse the more she tries to swim. I’m like the Benjamin Button of swimming — the more time I spend in the water, the crappier I seem to get. My good swims are at about a 25-33%, meaning one out of every three or four swims actually feels decent. On the rare chance I”ll have what I think is a “good” swim workout (meaning I was just tragically slow instead of abysmally slow), the next 2-3 swims will be freaking awful and I’ll beat myself up over how hopeless I am until my body throws me a bone with a semi-decent swim again. Take today’s workout for example. Teresa persuaded me to do the “postal swim,” which is an hour-long time trial. The rule is simple: see how far you can swim in 60 minutes. She pestered me via email and asked if I was going to sign up, and I sighed and responded with, “I don’t really want to do it, but I will if you think it’ll be good for me.” By the time I stopped dragging my feet and committed to doing the workout, there were only a couple slots left. Teresa cheerfully jammed me into the first of three waves. Wave #1 started at 7 am. On a Sunday. FML. As if getting up at the ass crack of dawn on a Sunday morning for a bullshit swim workout wasn’t bad enough, I scanned the list of folks who were swimming in Wave #1 and realized that I was woefully outpaced among my fellow teammates. All of the fast assholes on my team were swimming at 7 am. I needed to be in Wave #3, which started at 9:30…or Teresa needed to make a separate “slowest of the slow” wave that started at noon and consisted of me and a no armed, one legged drifter named Hobo Joe. Also making the swim worse was the fact that I was out of town this past week for work, so my weekend workouts were especially heavy duty to make up for my travel time. I spent the weekdays in Denver before flying home...

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The First Open Water Swim of the Season is Always Gloriously Awful

May 31

For me, the first open water swim of the season is always incredibly crappy. No matter how much pool swimming I do, once my toes touch lake water for the first time in several months, what little swim ability and athleticism I had is left on the shore alongside a fresh little pile of grassy-colored duck poop. Last week was no exception; in fact, throw in some shitty weather along with the customary flailing and you’ve got what (I dearly hope) will be my worst open water swim of the year. I checked my workout schedule and saw that Teresa assigned me a 2,000 yd swim or the option of swimming with the group at Greenlake. I wasn’t thrilled with either choice, but no matter how many times I closed my eyes and opened them, expecting the workout to change to “Eat a cheeseburger, fries, and a milkshake — hard effort!”, the stupid swim workout never went away. Jason, being the annoying training partner that he is, was all “Herp derp let’s go to the group swim!” I wasn’t crapping myself with glee at the thought of yanking on my wetsuit and trudging into water that was marginally warmer (56 degrees) than the air temperature (54 degrees), but I figured I’d have to get in the lake eventually, and since I want to improve my swimming, it’s a necessary evil. It was raining when we arrived at Greenlake, and my teammates and I made futile attempts to shield our dry clothes from the precipitation. I pulled on my wetsuit and, anticipating how cold the water was, yanked on a thermal swimcap in addition to a regular cap. The water didn’t feel quite as cold as I thought it would be, but it was still a bit of a shock to the system. Jas and I took off with our friends Brent and Jes. I made my way to the second orange buoy from the shore, huffing and puffing the entire way and stopping a couple times to catch my breath. By the time I made it to the buoy, it felt like I had been swimming forever. I looked at my watch. Three minutes and nine seconds. Son of...

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Swim for (My) Life

Aug 23

Swim for (My) Life

On Wednesday I participated in the Swim for Life swim across Lake Washington. Teresa wanted me to do it last year, but they always do the event on a Wednesday morning and I couldn’t get off work…plus I hate swimming. This year, I figured it’d be a good confidence booster before Ironman Canada so I begrudgingly plunked down coinage to swim 2.5 miles from Medina to Madison Park. I told myself it’d be for a good cause (the Puget Sound Blood Center) and for swimming peace of mind leading into Canada. Well, it was for a good cause, but the swim was sucktacular. Sigh. I woke up at 5:30 am and de-groggied as best I could before meeting my swim group at Madison beach at 6:15. The previous several days had been very warm and sunny in Seattle, so naturally the morning of the swim was gray, windy, and chilly. The Weather Gods seriously hate me. When we drove across 520 towards the swim start, we could see the wind whipping the water up against the floating bridge. Of course. The first time I do this stupid race, Lake Washington decides to release the Kraken and try to drown me. This is why I hate swimming. We arrived at Medina and picked up our packets, then watched the wind swirl the chop up so it was nice and terrifying. Docks were swinging, swimmers were chattering and shivering, and I stared across the lake convinced that the shoreline across from me was getting further and further away. There were four waves of swimmers distinguished by their swim caps: Fast, Less Fast, Respectable, and You Swim Like a Toddler with Raptor Arms (also known as the Pink wave). Naturally, Teresa stuck me in the slow wave because she wasn’t certain I’d even be out of the water by the time Ironman Canada started. The event itself started at 7:30, but since I was going last I got to watch a multitude of athletes crawl into the water and promptly get bitch-slapped by the waves. I killed time by trying to look bad-ass in my wetsuit that gives me the illusion of having muscle definition: Eventually it was our turn to climb...

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