I DON’T HATE SWIMMING!
My abs are sore, my quads are sore, my calves are sore and my ego is sore.
I am currently 4th in my age group in the Road Race Series, with some pretty speedy ladies ahead of me. The past three years I’ve done the series I placed: 3rd Grandmaster, then 1st in my age group, then 3rd in age group last year. The truth is I got lucky, you can see by the progression I was sliding. Now there are a couple newbies in the series who’ve earned their stripes. Any 59-year-old that can do a 7:53 pace on a hot and humid 5k, I say, has earned the spot and it’s my job to get better, not wish her away.
In the meantime my butt is trying to fall off again. Probably because I almost ran it off at the 5K, the wheels just about fell off the bus and my average HR was 3 beats below my max HR, which I pretty much count as running at 100% for 26 minutes and 22 seconds. I’ve texted the Exorcist, hopefully she can see me soon. I’m looking forward to that. I had my first two children in the midst of the all natural craze with nothing during labor and delivery except pitocin which – I can tell you – just makes it worse instead of better. If you have “the laziest uterus I’ve ever seen” per the Doc you’re going to have to do something to get that kid out of its lazy residence, if your butt is trying to fall off you’re going to have to go see the Exorcist to have her put it back on – you might as well start practicing your transition breathing again.
Which, by the way, does jacksh*t to alleviate pain. One night after Lamaze class (this was with the twins. I took the class for form but fool me once, fool me twice, third time I’m taking the epidural) hubs asked me about the breathing thing.
“So does that breathing make it not hurt?” he asked, sincerely interested and trying to figure out how this all falls into place.
“Go slam your Buddy in the door over there. Breathe in–breathe out–slow and easy now. Does that help?”
“Oh. Never mind.”
I have some friends who are “runners” which is code speak for “Crazy People” but sounds nicer when you’re out in public. More PC. One of my runner friends does triathlons, which is runner code speak for “Crazier than ME” and tends to make runners feel both superior, because obviously they are less crazy than the tri-er, and inferior because they’re struggling to do one event and the tri-er is accomplishing three. Three is more than one, even “runners” know that because they can count on their toes and fingers and they know that when they lose three toenails that’s worse than losing one.
Silly me, I made FB friends with them, which means they have easy access to inboxing me; all three of us have awesome jobs which allow us to sit at a desk, alone, for hours at a time with no one to talk to and which occasionally bore us to tears, we inbox to alleviate boredom.
*BOINK* inbox message: BEER
– YES! BEER!
– Cheeseburger and Fries!
– YES! DONUTS TOO!
– YOGURT SHOP!
– What are you having for lunch?
– Salad. Turkey & low-fat cheese roll up on whole wheat tortilla. Gatorade.
– I have 24 almonds and some raisins for later, too!
– I’m swimming tomorrow says my friend, whom I shall give the alias “Becky” to shield her from the Child Protective Services who will certainly remove her child if they find out she runs, bikes and swims – all in the same day – and thinks that’s fun. Perhaps they would have a point.
—Good on you I say
– What time? I’ll meet you replies “Heather” to whom I also have to give an alias because now she’s exhibiting some serious crazy too.
– Terri, you need to come
– Come on! It’s great cross training (translation: “more crazy shit”)
– it will make you run better
— no– it’s a great aerobic workout with no impact
– it will help you get some exercise while your butt is falling off
— no. I want my butt to fall off.
– What. Are you …. chicken?
— no. dammit.
– You always cuss when you don’t want to discuss things rationally
— I F*&$’ing DO NOT
– um…yes ^^^ you do
— @#$$. I hate you both
— and I don’t have any goggles
— and I don’t have one of those swimming hair condom things either.
– they sell goggles at the Rec Center
— WHAT THE HELL? Do they have a license to sell sh*t???
– I have a swim cap you can use
— dammit. fine.
— and I hate you both
That evening I tell hubs I’m going swimming with “Becky” and “Heather”. After he recovers from the fainting spell he offers me his extra swim goggles. Now I hate him, too. I hate swimming, I hate “Becky” I hate “Heather” and I hate goggles.
Tuesday morning I trudge into the swim area. B & H smile but it was really a smirk, I think, and they were just disguising it. I hop in the pool and attempt to put the hair condom on. It springs off the top of my head, rolls up into a tube the size of a pencil and sticks to itself.
“See?” I say, “it’s a sign from God. I’m not supposed to swim.”
B unwraps the damn thing and I get it on my head after losing several large chunks of hair to its rubbery grip. The goggles are glued to my face and seem to be sucking all the air out of my eyeballs. H & B set off across the pool so I push off and flail along behind gasping for air and sucking in enough water that I will not need to hydrate for several days. Hugging the other end of the pool I promise God if I am able to swim back to the shallow end I will never cuss again.
Shit. I made it. Dammit. I just cussed. Sorry, God, please don’t smote me. God’s pretty cool, by the way. Never once has He ever smote me, and if I were God I’d be smoting the hoohah out of me.
I will insert here that I am an RRCA certified running coach. I took an intense three-day course and a killer test and passed. I learned all about the physiology of running, the progression of fitness levels, starting slow and easy and gradually increasing distance and incorporating speed work. I had just spent three hours the evening before telling all the ladies I ran beside in the Beginning Runners group that they need to just run for one minute. Then we’ll walk two. You don’t have to go far. Just go to that next light pole. Take it easy, don’t rush it.
Tuesday morning I get up, jump in the pool and think I’m supposed to swim back and forth repeatedly the minute I touch water. Do as I say, not as I do.
B says, “Terri, watch me.” She pushes off, shows me form, how to practice gliding, how to incorporate a stroke. I push off and make it to the first set of steps and return.
“There, that’s good. Now just do that for a few minutes.” and she heads for the deep end.
I obediently push off and glide. I made it past the steps! YAY ME!
I push and glide, progress to pushing, gliding, stroking; progress to pushing, gliding, stroking, breathing. By the end of the session I was making it 2/3 of the way across the pool before resting and turning back.
“I don’t hate swimming!” I announce to B & H.
That night I announce to hubs, “I DON’T HATE SWIMMING!” He smiles a little. He knows how I flow. Always fighting it on the front end and learning the hard way.
“Hey, God – thanks for hubs. And for H &B.” I say. “Maybe by the time I’m 60 I’ll be fast. And not hard-headed.”
Ok, one out of two would be good. I think I’d rather be fast.