Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Permission to drown my masters lanemate?

We did another hard sprint workout at masters last night, I'm sure my coach is trying to do me in. We were supposed to predict our time for the various distances we were sprinting and for various reasons my first two sprints got screwed up and I'm not sure what my time was but for the final sprint of 75 yards I predicted a time of 1:10 based on my typical 75 swim time of 1:16-1:20 for regular non-sprint sets. I swam hard and came in at 1:05, hurray for me, I was thrilled. Until my lanemate called me an underachiever. To my face. Uh, lessee here, I woke up at 5 something, strapped on my headlamp and took the dogs for a walk/run, got home and cleaned up the poop in the yard so I could train a bit, got some running dogwalk practice in with Strummer, showered etc., drove to work listening to apocalyptic doom on NPR, was at my desk by 8:00 and had a full day at work which is a job that is often stressful, requires lots of mental concentration, and has lots of liability to the point where people can die if I screw up, spent most of my lunch break training/playing with Lola, worried if I will even have a job next month, next week, next year, came up with a million excuses at around 4:00 for skipping masters the most compelling of which was a storm blowing in, talked myself into going to practice anyway, just, hung around work for an extra 20 mins. so I wouldn't be too early, drove to the opposite end of town in rush hour traffic, stuffed my pale ass into a swimsuit, jumped into a freezing cold swimming pool and swam my butt off for an hour only to be told what an underachiever I am. Then I drove in the snowstorm to the opposite end of town again to get home. By the time I had dinner and sat my ass on the couch it was nearly 8:00. I know, I'm such a slacker.

I've been swimming with this lanemate for maybe 8 years now, maybe more, and no he wasn't joking and yes I'm sure he thought he was helping me but frankly I was ready to tell him where to go. At the heart of the issue is the fact that he's extremely competitive, overcompetitive, and for him it's all about being fast and beating someone and how good you are. And for me it's about swimming and relaxing and feeling good afterwards and swimming and being healthy and swimming. I let him lead the lane most of the time for a lot of reasons none of which have to do with lack of confidence in my abilities and mostly so I don't have to deal with him. I'm faster than him on some strokes, slower on others and it's easier to give him an extra head start and swim my own workout behind him than to deal with him trying to race me all the time. Also at the heart of the matter is that I don't care about beating him or anybody else. Of course I want to be the best I can be but I don't get off on racing other people in my lane and no I'm not going to push myself to the point of puking if I can help it. Noone's paying me to do triathlons, it's a fun hobby and a good way to relax after work and stay healthy but that's about as far as it goes for me, I don't need the sport as a vehicle to prove something or to get validation from other people. Same goes for agility. Winning is fun when it happens but I do the sport because I love it for itself, not for the opportunity to win something. The better I am at something the more fun it will be so I do get obsessed with training and improving but it's more so I can enjoy myself more, not so I can beat somebody else.

I'm not sure what happened to the notion of doing something for the pure love of it or why we always need to be chasing titles and trophies and validation and whatnot and if we're not then we're most certainly underachievers. I especially don't get it when it gets to the point that the chasing sucks every last bit of fun out of it. None of my hobbies pays my bills and until they do I'm not turning them into a second job.


  1. Wow. That's just rude. Next time, try the etiquette stand-by and ask, "Now, why would you say that?" Then, give him a very polite smile that underscores he is being an @#$@#.

  2. Oh, he wouldn't care. I think deep down he's a decent guy, he just doesn't understand people who don't share his competitive nature and his people skills are iffy. I can't tell you how many women he's had ranting to me in the locker room after their first time encountering him at a workout.

  3. Ultra competitive and lacking in social skills? That sounds typical for many cyclists, too. You have my permission to kill him.

    My spin class this evening about had me in a puddle on the floor. It was a cross-cross zone 4 wattage with "rest" in zone 3 90% wattage...I couldn't do all of it, but I was proud of what I *did* do. If anyone had called me a slacker after that class, I would have decked them.