I have a friend/running pal named Caroline Goldmacher-Kern who likes to swim. She’s one of those I’ll-try-any-sort-of-fitness-related-thing people who has done marathons, triathlons, etc … etc.
Anyhow, I envy Caroline, in that I long to take myself past 26.2 (I’ve done 11) toward something more challenging. Hence, this morning—in my presumed first step toward the world of triathlons—I arrived at the New York Sports Club at 5:45 to hit the pool.
It did not go well.
First, I’m a poor swimmer. Actually, poor is too gentle. I’m a b-a-d swimmer. Not bad, in the way some people sink to the bottom. But bad in a no form-no skill-little experience sort of way. In fact, I once competed in a mini-biathlon, and I did the entire 1/2-mile swim on my back. It didn’t go well.
I digress. At Caroline’s urging I sauntered toward the pool, armed with a pair of tattered running shorts (I don’t even have a bathing suit that fits) and my daughter’s pink swim cap (turns out I didn’t need it). The one thing I forgot (or, truth be told, the need just didn’t occur to me) was a pair of goggles. When Caroline said, sympathetically, “Really, no goggles?” I played it all casual. “I’ll be fine,” I said. “Not a problem.”
As I write this, it’s 9:26 am. I can’t see properly from my right eye.
But swimming. Ah, swimming. Caroline completed 72 laps, I believe. I completed, oh, 10. But not as a mere swimmer. No, for seven of those I used a kickboard. Why? Because my form is brutal, my endurance shit and my legs all over the place. I have no clue how to kick no perception of stroke quality, no remote idea what I’m doing. I desperately want to eventually do a triathlon—like, really, really, really want to, and have for a long time. But this was a brutal, wet, cold 50 minutes of pure kickboard hell.
I’ll be back next week.