Swimming is much harder than I thought. It's not like I've never swum before either. I re-habed from my back surgery with swimming. And periodically throughout the past ten years I have hopped in the pool a few times a week in a sort of therapeutic way. I guess that's the issue — I've always kind of just gotten in there and splashed around, just trying to loosen up my tight bike muscles. The only stroke I would do (or know how to do) is freestyle. The fact that I only know one stroke (and not all the well it seems) has become abundantly clear.
My breast stroke is a joke. My backstroke is a nightmare. And oddly enough my kicking is by far my weakest point. I seriously suck at kicking. I make it half way across the pool, begin to sputter, then cramp, then sink. "Kick from your hips!" The instructor yells. But my hips don't comply.
My wife (M) and I have this ongoing swimming-related competition. As I see it I'm 1 and 1. As she sees it she's 2 and 0. This all started back when we first started dating. I took her out to my family's lake house in Wrentham. There's this sunken island way out in the middle of the lake. We swam out there, hung out for a bit. I saw that she was a good swimmer (something about competing when she was a kid and something else about junior Olympic swim trials). I don't know who suggested racing back, but that's what we did. It is not a short swim.
Quickly I found myself being "half-bodied" (like half-wheeled, get it?), and in no time my hands were barely overlapping M's feet. I started working harder, struggling to keep pace with her. By the time we reached the floating dock near the beach I was at death's door. She easily gapped me and stepped out on the beach first.
There are two factors which put me at a severe disadvantage to M:
Factor #1: I was wearing cut-of Dickies which created a lot of drag. M was wearing a very hydro-dynamic swimsuit (much like the one Michael Phelps wears).
Factor #2: I suffer from a condition called "Wookie's Syndrome" which causes my body to be almost entirely covered in thick (but luxurious) hair. I do shave my legs of course. If you saw me naked (which you just might if you read this blog long enough, lucky!) you would immediately see my resemblance to a feather duster. Only with fur where the feathers should be and my bony white legs where the handle should be. This, like my Dickies creates a lot of drag, and again M was wearing a super high-tech bathing suit.
I shambled out of the water like a water-logged mummy. Smack-talk ensued (maybe, just maybe I had gone into this endeavor a tad bit over confident, and maybe, just maybe I had expressed this prior to setting out from the sunken island). We looked up to see my grandfather, who had seen the whole thing, sitting in a lawn chair laughing his ass off.
I needed redemption.
And it came (at least in my bleary eyes) later that summer (or the next summer...I have no concept of time or...or, anything really). We were up in New Hampshire at Lake Sunapee. Same sort of scenario, but a little shorter distance. I think I was still wearing my cycling bib shorts (we had just done a race so this was semi-normal). The race was a little closer coming down to the line, but, and here's the controversial part — as soon as we entered shallow water, I stood up and began to run. And I won!
No I did not says M.
She claims I won the bi-athalon, but she won the swimming race. Hence the incongruity of our competitive records. I can't help it if I have long legs and that I ran out of water before she did. I also can't help that she has short little legs that barely reach the ground.
Did I mention how cute M looked in her bathing suit?
Next Tuesday our "coach" is going to time us and place us in appropriate lanes.
P.S. - A big thank you to those of you who put up and didn't shut up, donating money to the SSUSA trip. You didn't have to do that, but I appreciate it. And Eric Lorenzo...you live in Somerville, we should go ride sometime. We're thinking about an Otis AFB trip next weekend. Drop me an email at thomp2000 at gmail dot com.