Achieving Suck-cess

So I haven’t written in a while. The obvious reason is that I haven’t ridden much lately either. While I still find some time to hop on my bike and remember how it feels, I haven’t turned the pedals over more than a hundred times in the past month—a.k.a. not much at all.

Instead of riding, I’ve been swimming (which I heard Chris Carmichael did when he had a broken leg), doing high-rep squats, pulling the occasional back extension, thinking/reading/talking about riding, watching the occasional sports vid, and doing my utmost to enjoy my time off the bike. And yes, I realize some of those sound contradictory.

Swimming, incidentally, has been kinda fun. Now, bear in mind that I’m far from GOOD at swimming. I just sorta … do it. To my comfort, I went to the local aquatic center a few weeks ago and swam in a lane next to a pair of triathletes (one of them had a Rexburg Rush swimcap), and I, shockingly, outswam the two of them. Heck, at one triathlon in ’07, I even passed someone in the pool. But those are my only two success stories. The rest are all suck-cess stories.

I must be a glutton for punishment, because I’ve been putting some effort into adding to my suck-cess stories recently. I started attending the last half hour of a university intramural competitive swim team practice before my weekly English class (the one I’m teaching as an adjunct). I always go to the slow lane, and it’s become pretty obvious that I belong there. It’s surprising to me how little time these swimmers spend actually swimming. Most of their time, they’re doing drills that are supposed to improve efficiency. I can’t say whether the drills work, but they’re sure a pain in the butt. Of course, when I show up, I just want to work on my cardiorespiratory endurance—i.e. through actually swimming. So, needless to say, it’s been pretty pointless for me.

Anyhow, this past practice, at the end of a very short session in which no one did any actual swimming, I was informed we were going to compete against each other in—get this—a dog paddle relay. I asked a few people around me for reminders of how the dog paddle works, to which I saw some pretty funny demonstrations. Naturally, I volunteered to go first in my relay team, reasoning that if I put us really far behind, someone could make up for it later.

Well, I was the only one on the team who didn’t use the dive block, and I surfaced faster than everyone else, and I was really far behind before we even got to the opposite wall. Then I was REALLY far behind when I got back to the start. Oh, and I was exhausted.

Then I got out of the water, and my teammate informed me that the other teams had cheated by not actually doing the dog paddle, which made perfect sense because the dog paddle is an entirely useless stroke. (That also explained a few things to me about triathletes, who also have a propensity for cheating. Don’t believe me? read this. Very strange.) I’m starting to wonder why anyone, anywhere would ever do the dog paddle, but, of course, the answer is that they don’t know how to do the other strokes. Oh yeah, that was me just a few years ago.

So, yes, I’m officially responsible for losing my first competitive swim relay—small price to pay for a little suck-cess.


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