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Archive for the tag “swim”

If I ever did that again, not that I will, but if I did…

As someone once said, “I know worrying works because 99% of everything I worry about never happens.”

Saturday, 2:45am, dark, warm, muggy.  I’d been awake for a while, trying to sleep but failing.   My mind was not going to let me forget we face Armageddon this morning.  Talking sense to it was useless.   WAKE WAKE, EMERGENCY! it shouted in my sleep, until I finally surrendered and padded barefoot downstairs, firing up the Keurig.  I looked out at the foggy night, details blurred into soft gold and black while I sipped strong hot coffee, cozy and comforting.  Soft air gently wrapped around me, sound suspended and dampened, moving slowly through the thick air like the drawls of old Southern ladies visiting on Mississippi porches.  Murphy looked about with me and seemed to understand.  The world muffled to velvet, we moved slowly not to disturb that sweet gentle silence.


Can you hear it?  Can you feel it?

I’d found an interactive site and created a check list personalized to my preference.  Everything had been checked off three times, lined up in the hallway and kitchen; Hubs has done this so often his checklist is in his head.  We loaded up the car and bikes.  The hour long drive to Tunica seemed endless, of course, and I could not leg jiggle enough to expend the nervous energy I had.  Hubs looked at me.  “Are you OK?”   Hell no I’m not OK, do I look OK?  I’m hopping like a spider on a hot griddle in a front seat the size of jet fighter cockpit.  But you are sweet and kind and loving and I thank you for your concern although I can’t actually speak right now.

You learn something new every day, so they say, and I learned something new about Fight or Flight:  you body is going to jettison everything possible.  Thankfully the Expo Center was nice and large and you can easily sprint through the foyer to the equally nice Ladies Room.  I also noticed I didn’t seem to be the only person doing so.

There’s a lot of detail getting all that gear out of a car, into the Transition Area and set up properly, more than you need to know unless you have had a lobotomy recently and now want to do a triathlon; if that’s happened let me know and I’ll get with you.  Otherwise suffice it to say that many surgeries are done with less preparation, although without a doubt they are more sterile, since I was soon to walk through fish sh*t and then drag that sh*t back into Transition and deposit it in my socks.  Bleach.  Just don’t think, and bleach.

For the fourth damn time in a row I put the damn wetsuit on backward.  Next time I’m leaving it backward.  If there is a next time.  I got in the lake for a warm-up and paddled out to the first buoy where I stopped, my feet not resting on what can only be described as the un-bottom.  There was nothing solid.  It just sort of floated, a half-substance.  The stuff nightmares are made of, the evil fog rising slowly through the cemetery enveloping the heroine’s feet…her ankles…her calves…rising, pulling, wrapping about her, slowly sucking away her life…

Damn, this sh*t is NASTY.  Don’t think don’t think don’t think, just keep swimming just keep swimming.

just keep swimming

We lined up for the swim by age group.  Fortunately I was toward the front of the line with some older men behind us.  They sort the groups randomly every time.  Next time I could be right in front of the 20-24 males and get run over like a train.  If there were a next time.

One of the ladies heard a couple of us commiserating over our first and possibly last triathlon.  She gave us an invaluable piece of advice:  when you get in the water, don’t kick.  Just pull.  This will keep your heart rate under control until you’ve had time to warm up and get the feel of everything.  And then there I was, on the ramp, looking at my friend the photographer, praying her huge and hugely expensive camera would fail, nothing personal Donna, sorry, but I do not want to be forever remembered in that figure flattering wetsuit, swimming hair condom and goggles.

Not kicking made all the difference.  I cornered the first buoy and realized that the wetsuit, my new BFF, made me buoyant enough that all I had to do was pull.  Now it’s just another workout in the pool.  With a deadly, life-sucking un-bottom, but you cannot have everything no matter how you try.

And then, I got pissed.  I’m sorry, but I’m a bitch and it should just be acknowledged.  I could try to hide it but it’s like trying to hide behind swimming goggles and a self-image crushing wetsuit:  We know you’re in there Terri, no use hiding.  The really nice lady right in front of me at the start was zig-zagging like a Singer sewing machine and I could not get around her.  At first I thought it was me going crooked, but I realized that as I breathed I was sighting on the seawall, and it was always about the same place.  So I went to the right.  She was in front of me, again.  Dammit.  I swam to the left.  BOOM.  I went back right.  Bang.

Oh, hell no.  I stopped, deadly cloud of lake bottom rising to kill me.  I watched, weighing time, enough time to sight her but not enough time to be completely sucked into a slow lake bottom death.  She went…, left.  I went right as fast as I could and aimed for the finish.

Not too quick in the transition (learning curve) I headed out on the bike.  Nervous, I couldn’t clip for what seemed forever.  We turned onto the highway and I got into a rhythm.  Hey.  This is nice.  Mississippi is flat!  The roads are coned off!  No &^%%’s asking me if I pay wheel tax!  I don’t have to stop at the lights!  Cruising, I’m just cruising, me and Matilda, we’re just out, riding, having a good time when, suddenly,  &^$#!!! that woman is IN FRONT OF ME.


Sorry, Lady, but yes, you do, and here’s your shirt.

Oh, hell no.  I tooled along behind her for a few minutes, getting a feel for her pace.  It was too slow for me, so I passed.  No eye contract, I’m just out here, just out here riding my bike, me and Matilda, nothing to see here, Lady, just keep going slow, that’s good.

I kept a pace that felt a bit of a push but not uncomfortable since I had no idea what my legs would do off the bike.  Next time, if it happened that I went batsh*t crazy more than once, I would know better how much to push it.

At mile 10, cruising, suddenly, what the $%#@!!??  She PASSED me.

Oh, hell no.  I looked at my quads.  Sorry dudes, this might hurt but it’s for your own good, and I knocked it into a higher gear and started stepping on those pedals.  We went from the Beatles to some Highway to Hell in 13 seconds.

Coming in I heard Hubs, Becky and Heather yelling for me, although I didn’t try to see them, not falling over on the bike seemed more important, and at the dismount line there stood Killer, screaming for me!  I looked at her:  “I’m pissed now.”

“SHE’S PISSED NOW!” Cheryl screamed in triumph, “GO TERRI!”

This time transition was as fast as I could handle it, gear thrown everywhere, shoes shoved on and I’m outta here, running out of transition and around the corner where

OH. HELL. NO.  She’s in front of me.  Again.  What??  She’s filming an Eveready commercial???  Dammit.

I waited, jogging behind her, getting a feel for her pace.  It looked to me like she had one gear – a good one, but it looked like she was a pretty steady runner, so if I passed her she might not have a higher gear.  My legs loosened up and got into a running rhythm.  I passed her and I had no intention of letting it happen again.  Somewhere in the last mile I stopped at a turn and walked a bit, looking at the field behind me.  She was still in the same steady gear, and I took off again.  I am never doing this crazy voodoo doodoo again, but if I did ever maybe lose all my meds in a tropical storm or something I would definitely push the bike a bit harder and I would totally want my run stronger, I thought, as I died on the turn into the last few hundred miles.

“TERRI!! ONLY 150 YARDS!!!” someone screamed.

Well hell yes, I can do that, I thought, and I hammered on home.

You want some REAL crazy voodoo doodoo?


So, next time, if I ever do this again, not that I will, but if I did, I know I can’t expect that kind of thing because the fast ones stayed home or – most of them – waited to do the Olympic distance on Sunday  (not being modest, I just know who they are).  But if there were a next time, I’d still do it differently, and I’d still find someone in front of me to pick off.

And that was a pretty awesome ending, if I do say so myself.


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!

 – Cheeseburger and Fries!



 – 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!

See?  Idiots.


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

 — no.

– Come on!  It’s great cross training (translation:  “more crazy shit”)

— no

 – it will make you run better

 — no

 – it’s a great aerobic workout with no impact 

 — no

 – 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.

They smile.

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.

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