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Triathlete Blog

Prepare Yourself

By May 31, 2008June 10th, 2015No Comments

The other night Chris and I drove to the pool. It was time for my swim test.

“Are you prepared to be slow tonight?” Chris asked.

I’m not kidding, he really said that. So much for spousal support. Realize as an athlete and a wife this is quite possibly the most insulting thing. To be told to prepare for slowness was like telling me I looked fat. Somebody get me a box of donuts I need to eat away my emotional pain. But I knew where he was going with a comment like that. He was saying you’ve swam as much in the past two weeks as you used to swim in one day – are you ready for what the clock might have to say because of that?

Am I ready to be slow? Am I ready? Little does he know that when I write my memoirs about the 2008 season I will plan to entitle it “Prepare to Be Slow” or “Slow and Pro” or “My Year Bringing Up The Rear”. I have not only prepared for slow, I have embraced it. Rolled in it along with the letters D, N and F. I am sponsored by slow this year. All right I got a little carried away there. Because the season isn’t over yet. Memoirs aren’t written in stone. And of course I’m not ready to settle for slow. That’s when I heard myself say something:

I am not afraid of swimming fast.

Whoa. W-H-O-A. Who the hell just said that? Is there someone sitting with me in the passenger seat? Because that’s not me. Not afraid of swimming fast? Who knew that over a week off would give me mouthy confidence to prevent what could be very slow speed.

After a warm up, Chris agrees to help me with the test. I need someone to take my splits and count my strokes. Taking splits would be easy. Counting strokes could be hard. Since I take let’s just say MANY strokes to get to the end of the lane. Weeks ago Ness scolded me about my stroke rate which prompted me to start working on it; the other day I got it down to 11 and when she asked how I did that I said you spend a lot of time on your side and take very few breaths. You should also know that it takes 1 minute to travel 25 yards when swimming like that.

The test begins. Put your head down and swim! Pull water, kick, streamline off the walls. I am 100 yards into it and this feels great! I am either going very slow or feeling very good. Either way I am thinking OH POOL WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN! Flags, black line, strange man with noodle between legs in the deep well, ladies jumping up and down in the far line to bad 60’s beats – I MISSED YOU ALL! The last 100 yards I pushed hard, kicked hard and then STOP.

Chris tells me my time. No, no? It can’t be. I’m ready to be slow and that time is not slow. In fact, I am thinking I just need to swim once a week. Because I haven’t swam this fast in a long time. My first 100 split was faster than the 100’s I was swimming a few weeks ago. I shout a big and loud YAY! FINALLY I had a success.

A little bit of rest and then time for another test. I know – this new system is great. You get to test everything twice. Except the run – how fair is that? Anyways, this one is just a 100 all out. How fun – 100 ALL OUT! It’s like I’m on top of the water. Why can’t swimming always feel this good? If it felt better more often I might not say so many mean things about it. Touch the wall, see my time and holy crap! I didn’t swim this fast off the blocks at my last swim meet. Again more reason why I need to swim once a week. Not sure coach will go for that.

My work is finally done. Chris however is still stuck somewhere in the middle of some descending ladder/broken 100 set. He looks frustrated – I can tell by the way he takes his goggles off forcefully. I expect them next to be thrown. Instead he joins me in the hot tub looking a little miffed.

“That clock is fast.”

You’re kidding right? The pace clock? The clock plugged into the wall? It’s fast? How can a pace clock be fast? Isn’t its job to keep a 60 second pace? But all right, I’ll agree that sometimes technology fails and sometimes I think the clock at the other end of the pool is slow. So I’ll give you that maybe this one is fast.


“Give me your watch, I’ll prove it.”

Go ahead Sherlock, take the watch. Seems like SOMEBODY had a bad swim. SOMEBODY perhaps should have just prepared to go slow. Because when you set the bar low you can’t help but surprise yourself if you even go sorta fast. Snarky ass. So there Chris is timing the clock on the wall. TIMING the CLOCK on the wall. This is the difference between women and men. The woman would just sit there and say “I’m slow, get me a donut so I can eat away my slow pain.” She bears it on herself and then buries the pain somewhere else. The man says “There’s no way I’m that slow, it’s the clock’s fault.” He skips the first step and just goes right to displacing it on to something else.

But it’s not a foolproof plan. As soon as the clock tops 60, the watch reads 1:00.

“Looks to be dead on to me,” I say.

You know how as a wife sometimes you know that what you are going to say is not the right thing to say but you can’t help yourself anyways? Well in case you were wondering, suggesting that the clock was mechanically sound was not the correct response. So incorrect that it almost got me a foam noodle to the head but not before I told Chris to open his mouth wide so I could see if the circumference of the noodle would go down his throat.

But all is fair in love. And after all he started it. Plus he had to know a comment like that was going to come back and bite his in the ass. And you can’t blame the pace clock on that. There’s no teeth on that clock. But if he wants he can go ahead and check.

All I know is that in the category of Chris vs. Liz at the pool tonight I FINALLY WIN. And it’s about damn time. New title to my memoirs “Slow No Mo’.” Now I better prepare myself…