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Because Running Bestie Sue likes an honest post…


After a tough 18-miler on Sunday, I did a short shake-out run yesterday and then drove almost 8 hours back to Rochester. This morning I was really tired but talked myself into 30 minutes at the pool. Last week I started going to open lap swim at the high school. I went Wednesday and Thursday mornings and although I was surprised at how tough a workout swimming was, I felt like I held my own against the AARP members in the other lanes. Well today must have been triathlete day at the pool because I was flanked by svelte swimmers in aerodynamic swim gear. This wasn’t going to end well for my already fragile ego.

The pool was crowded. I took the last empty lane and the new swimmers had to start doubling up. I knew it was just a matter of time before I was going to have to share my space, and I was praying that it would be with a senior citizen. Please oh please oh please let me get a granny swimmer! But no. Jenny Q. Olympian had to enter my lane.

Jenny Q. Olympian swam like a work of art. No, I didn’t want to hang her on my wall, but what I saw intimidated, amazed, and awed me. And I didn’t get it. Why was I such a clumsy goon? It just wasn’t fair. Jenny cut the water with knife-like precision while I flailed around like a beach ball marionette. For every lap of wimpy breast stroke I did, she did 2 laps of crawl. I could feel the lifeguard glowering at me from her stand. How dare I ruin Lady Michael Phelps’ workout with my childlike strokes? I swear even the water was mocking me as I lumbered up and down the lane. I was sure that any second I was going to be asked to leave to let the real swimmers swim. I was nothing but an imposter, an injury prone runner wasting everyone’s time and swallowing too much pool water.

I was an equal mix of relieved and embarrassed when the lane next to us opened and Jenny Q. Olympian quickly escaped me. I couldn’t blame her. She knew what she was doing. She had a hot pink Fleet Feet swim cap! And goggles! And I bet she didn’t drive home in a minivan that had a VCR hookup and then ate pretzel M&Ms for breakfast!

I felt like a total tool. I wished I had all my 1/2 marathon finisher’s medals on so I could be like “Look! Despite what you see here today I am relatively athletic! I don’t always suck!” But the extra weight around my neck would probably just mean the lifeguard who (in my mind already hated me) would have to jump in and save me. I resolved to get myself some swim lessons for Christmas because even though I can “get by,” I don’t want to feel intimidated or uncomfortable. This doesn’t mean I am going to stop going to the pool but I might not go again on Tuesdays for a little while. Blerg.

Today’s Workout:
Swim 30:33

Monday’s Workout:
Ran 3.2 miles/31:58

One Comment leave one →
  1. 09/09/2011 7:44 PM

    I’ll bet Jenny Q. Swimmer WISHES she had a tricked-out minivan and Pretzel M&Ms for breakfast. Hope your 20-miler is much better. Now that you have a carefully honed strategy and all, I’m sure it will be.

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