I’m smart. (stop laughing Keith, really am). Academically smart – minus the math part. I will begin this entry by using a research paper writing technique that was honed in the quiet stacks deep in Love Library at the University of Nebraska, I will copy someone elses work … no, i will cross reference a prior work of literature. The piece is titled “Inagural Ironman Kansas 68.1”. It was here that a delicately written prose describes my (in)ability to swim. So imagine my surprise when I was “selected to represent” my place of employment in the Kansas City Corporate Challenge swim meet. The selection process was quite brutal. I jumped up and down waving my arms saying “pick me, pick me”. E-mails were sent out asking everyone else if they could swim, and once everyone who was anyone said “h3ll no” to the “super fun events”. The selection committee person then said “well, i guess becca will do it, she’ll do anything”. And the story begins …
I was signed up for any open slot, which meant the 50 Breast Stroke and the 100 IM. I felt decent about the breast stroke and super pumped about the IM; I definitely IM more than a 100 times a day, now if they only had a texting bracket I would smoke it! My excitement wore off as I was informed that the 100 IM included 25 fly, 25 back, 25 breast, and 25 freestyle (not the rap, but any stroke you want i.e. doggie paddle, elementary back stroke, treading water).
Oh, here is a list of problems I had identified by this time:
- No clue how to do the butterfly
- Do not know how to get to the swimming facility
Luckily as I was laying out by the pool one day cheering on Renda during her “masters swim class” one of the fellow swimmers decided to take on the task of teaching me the butterfly. Please bear with me as I explain this stroke (this is the EXACT form that I use in the water).
Step 1: (Keith no, it’s not “cut a hole in a box”). Stand up and put your legs together.
Step 2: Extend your arms up so you look like a T
Step 3: Start spinning your arms in a forward motion simultaneously as fast as you can.
After I stood outside of the pool for at least 3-5 minutes practicing this technique I felt fairly competant that I would be able to do this stroke for the swim meet. I then went back to laying out and catching up with People magazine.
Day of the swim meet.
I was the driver for the carpool.
Gaby: “so do you have the directions to the place”
me: “um, no. do you?”
Gaby: “no, i figured you would since you are driving” (i’m sure she was rolling her eyes at this moment, i couldn’t tell because i was focusing on texting)
We eventually made it – after 45 minutes of driving – and props to Laura for bringing directions! I walked in quite proudly; boy did I represent. I had my fancy TYR suit and goggles and kept stretching my arms like real swimmers do. I was a dead ringer for Amanda Beard.
List of newly identified problem:
- hmm, they start on blocky thingys, i should learn how to jump off of those
Stand on block, look at what the other people are doing. Lean forward. Jump.
Attempt 1: SMACK. Svelte, tan six-pack is now pinkish-red.
Attempt 2: ugh. There go my goggles
Attempt 3: argh. goggles stay on, fill up with water.
Attempt 4: hmmm, there’s a reason I’m the only one in a two piece suit.
Attempt 5: i’ll just skip another try and wait for the race to start …
I sat there watching and waiting and watching and texting and waiting for my turn to swim the IM. I stood in line with eleventy billion other women waiting for our heat. Now, the great thing about swimming is how attractive everyone looks in their swimsuits. This attractiveness is only magnified once swim caps and goggles are put on.
It was my turn to stand up on the block. We start.
Sweet, goggles stayed on. Sweet, swimsuit stayed one. Crap, I have to start moving forward. I start spinning my arms as fast as possible and attempt to move my legs.
I’m moving; slowly.
Heart starts pumping; faster.
Ok, becca, next stroke lift your head above water and breathe. Head comes above water, goes back under. Sh*t, forgot to breathe, don’t do that next time. Arms still spinning, heart pumping faster, kind of about to explode, lucky that hasn’t happened yet. Head above water, breathe. Sweet, I breathed. Phew, finally first 25 is done. I touch the wall, look up at my team cheering me on. I tried to give them that look with my eyes that kidnap victims would give a passer-byer to signal that they seriously need to be saved but without alerting the kidnapper. Fortunately I wasn’t being kidnapped because not a single friend jumped in to save me. I had the next 25 yards of the backstroke to reflect on this and hope that the hurt and pain would dissipate. I was good at the backstroke. I believe that my 1.1 mile swim of the backstroke during my Ironman 68.1 really prepared me for this event. Faster than anticipated I hit the other end of the pool and rememberd I had to start again with the breast stroke.
Head back under water, much better at breathing, still not moving fast, heart still wanting to explode.
As I kept emerging from the water I could hear my team cheer me on. I couldn’t quite make out the words, it was either “Pull”, or “GO” or “Oh”. I reached the edge for my final turn around and this time I had no expectation of being saved. I mustered up enough energy to utilize the American Standard Style of swimming. Much to my surprise I finished the race. I was relieved. I finished in 1:59:87986415 (boy do they have very accurate timing).
I have a standard swimming goal, it is to “just not be the last one to finish” – ALWAYS. I barely made it this time. I was second to last … but I wasn’t last.