Tim: Wrapping up my recap of the Reston Sprint Triathlon Triathlon Clinic last week, we spent some classroom time reviewing the run and bike course, but we spent the most time talking about the swim. The 400 meter swim was what was making most of the Tri Newbies in attendance nervous. What I learned did not make me feel any better.
“The swim is chaos.”
I didn’t need to hear this. Almost all triathlon swims are in shark-infested oceans or Loch Ness Monster-infested lakes (like Lake Anne), but this was in a pool. I thought chlorine would be the biggest issue (besides my complete lack of fitness and breathing, of course.)
“If you want to pass someone, you touch their toes.”
This was both unexpected and very disturbing. I am not interested in any toes not attached to the fine legs of one Karen Berry. Nothing personal, but it’s just not my thing. Also, I consider my toes off-limits to everyone, including Karen. If a sport’s etiquette includes touching the toes of strangers and strangers touching my toes, I think they should tell you that ahead of time, just in case, you know, it totally grosses you out.
An astute, ruggedly handsome audience member asked [full disclosure: it was me] “Are people, ummm … nice … in the pool?”
“No … not really. You basically seed yourself, fastest to slowest. The person who lists the fastest time is number one and the person with the slowest time will be 699, but there is always a big … Cluster of Chaos in the middle of the race. “
Those were his exact words. My hand shot up again and I did not wait to be called on. “Exactly what time should I say I swim so that I am not amongst the Legion of Doom, I mean Cluster of Chaos?”
The Instructor pressed on without answering, “If someone wants to pass you and you don’t move aside, they have to decide whether they wait or push you to the bottom of the pool and swim over you.”
Oh, so there are sharks in the pool; they are just disguised as your fellow triathletes. Got it.
Someone asked, with no small amount of hope in their voice, "What will get me disqualified?"
I caught the eye of another attendee and reader of this blog - Rose - and she silently mouthed the words "No Nudity is Rule Number One."
I now have my swim strategy. First, I will report my estimated swim time as something in the neighborhood of “three days”. This should assure me a very high number, well after the Legion of Doom/Cluster of Chaos have either exited the pool or killed each other off.
Next, I know it takes about an hour to get everybody through the pool, so I’ll be in line with the rest of the 600s for quite a while watching the Cluster of Chaos carnage, counting the bodies getting fished out, and listening to the pathetic cries for help from the 300s, 400s, and 500s.
I will take that time to build a Consensus of Consideration. The 600s shall make a pact saying We Will Be Nice! We will respect each other, support each other, and never ever touch anybody’s toes except by accident.
And if that doesn't work, I know exactly how to get disqualified.
Oh, yes I will!
Karen: Dang it, Tim - for the second week in a row, you’ve hogged the word count. My training was derailed by our adoption of the two finest kittens in Kittendom and not wanting to be parted from those tiny gorgeous faces for a single instant by gym-going or running, or swimming, or biking, etc. I shall be back on the proverbial horse this week, unless I am sundered by cute mewing kittens again.
Oh, no you won't!
Disclamer: We are not medical professionals or fitness experts. Read this blog at your own risk. Tim will be holding auditions for his new 80s style Hair Band “Cluster of Chaos” in the near future. If you have some musical talent (but not too much – it’s a 80s Hair Band after all), and lots of hair, please leave your particulars in the comments section below.