Announcing My Professional Debut as an Almost-Swimmer

Dec 30

Announcing My Professional Debut as an Almost-Swimmer

Today, 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.

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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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Today’s the Day I Finally Like Swimming

May 29

Today’s the Day I Finally Like Swimming

Welp, Jas and I have arrived in Hawaii for the 2012 Ironman Honu 70.3. Our flight was somewhat interesting as a woman in first class fell unconscious and a flight attendant asked if there was an EMT or doctor on board. Considering how often we fly, we were pretty surprised that we had never run into a “holy crap, there’s a mid-flight medical emergency” situation before. Thankfully, one of my teammates is a nurse and she tended to the woman along with an ER doctor who also happened to be on board. They diagnosed her as having low blood sugar and recommended she drink some fruit juice. Her response: “Can I have a Mai Tai?” Medical emergency be damned, this lady wanted to start her vacation! Okay, back to the title of the post. It’s no secret I hate swimming. I think it’s bullshit and bemoan the fact that the more time I spend in the water, the slower I seem to get. But damn if Teresa isn’t hell-bent on turning me into a swimmer one of these days. She scheduled a 30 minute swim in a bay and kept telling me how you can see fish and coral and all this other bullshit that is potentially scary (like fucking reef sharks, which some of my teammates had spotted before Jas and I flew in) and Mediocre Athlete-devouring. I walked onto the beach, saw the bay, and saw a little pond between the bay and the parking lot and half-joked whether I could just swim in that instead. (The answer was no.) The water was actually amazingly calm and a comfortable temperature. I got in with my SS peeps (that’s Slow and Steady for all you fast buttholes who aren’t down with the crappy swimmer lingo) and we took off for a striped buoy about 250 yards out. I swam over a bunch of sharp-looking coral and kept worrying I’d end up punching one and emerge with Bloodsport fists, but I managed to evade the rocks (they were farther down than they looked). We got to the buoy and cut over around some anchored boats, then looped back to where we started before heading back to the original buoy...

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To the Giant Purple Asshole at Lap Swim

Feb 08

To the Giant Purple Asshole at Lap Swim

I swim at the Y near my house, and I mostly hate it. It’s kind of expensive for how ghetto it is, they keep the pool temperature at an uncomfortable 85 degrees (sometimes 86, while occasionally they “treat” us with a refreshing 84), the pool tiles are jagged and broken and collecting more sketchy-looking black grime each week, the locker room is nasty despite the heavily advertised 20 minute daily cleaning it receives (wow, a whole 20 minutes! Too bad that’s apparently not enough time to clean the tumbleweed of body [probably pube] hair clogging up the shower drains), and the hot water is nonexistent on a regular basis (probably because it’s all pumped into that hot spring they call a pool). But I put up with it because it’s a couple blocks from where I live, and because their lap swim times are pretty decent. But let’s face it, it’s the Central District YMCA so I’m not exactly working out in the lap of luxury or expecting greatness here, which I fully understand. I also understand that since it’s the Y, there’s an eclectic group of people who work out there. You’ve got your lower income families, your skinny, tatted up hipsters who exercise in skinny jeans and Converse, retirees who aquacize during lap swim, huge, menacing dudes who look like extras from The Wire, student athletes from nearby schools–it’s a ridiculously random bunch, but everyone is mostly polite and does their own thing without incident. Until recently, of course. I showed up to lap swim yesterday to get in a workout during my lunch break. Judging from how loud the pool sounded from the locker room, I could tell it was going to be a crowded day, and when I emerged from the showers my suspicions were correct. There are four lanes in the pool, and they were situated like this: The slow lane (typically reserved for people who tread water, float around, or are doing some sort of water therapy) had two people in it Medium Lane #1 had two people in it The fast lane had two people in it Medium Lane #2 inexplicably had four people in it In the context of my triathlon...

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