The Swim

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.

4 thoughts on “The Swim”

  1. I used to be a good swimmer, and I always heard about what great exercise it is, but I just don’t know if I like the thought of swimming in the Schuylkill or Susquehanna (Harrisburg, PA), or Potomac rivers where some of these tris are.

    Duathlon might be the way to go.

  2. I think you will be able to pull it off.
    The hard part of most things is getting the motivation.
    Some time ago I saw a show about a Triathlon Athlete that was a bit special.
    He wasn’t an individual, it was a father/son as one.
    The son (Rick) was born with Cerebral Palsy. So to compete the father (Dick) pushes, pulls, and carries his son.
    With amazing results.
    247 – Triathlons (6 Ironman distances, 7 Half Ironman)
    22 – Duathlons
    69 – Marathons (29 Boston Marathons)
    8 – 18.6 Milers
    92 – Half Marathons
    1 – 20K
    37 – 10 Milers
    33 – Falmouth 7.1 Milers
    8 – 15K’s
    215 – 10K’s
    156 – 5 Milers
    4 – 8K’s
    18 – 4 Milers
    147 – 5K’s
    8 – 20 Milers
    2 – 11K’s
    1 – 7K
    1 – 20 Mile Bike for Best Buddies
    1069 – Total Events (as of November 2011)
    They aren’t just a pleasant oddity, they are competitors.
    Best End Times
    2:40:47 – Marathon
    56:21 – 15K
    1:21:12 – Half Marathon
    40:27 – 7.1 Miler
    13:43:37 – Ironman Triathlon
    35:48 – 10K
    2:01:54 – 18.6 Miler
    27:17 – 5 Miler
    59:01 – 10 Miler
    17:40 – 5K
    2:10:45 – 20 Miler

    You have probably heard about Team Hoyt. I’m sure some of your readers haven’t.
    It all started in 1977 because Rick told his dad he wanted to participate in a benefit run for a Lacrosse player that was paralyzed in an accident.
    Anyway an amazing story.
    With motivation we can do an awful lot. I’m sure when you dig down deep you will learn to swim like a fish.

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