Thursday, September 4, 2014

Do Sasquatch Float?

(and what's the plural of Sasquatch anyways?)

My constant struggle to survive being fully immersed in a body of water that's trying to kill me is legendary, and I always find myself coming back to the same story origin.

A few years back I decided to teach myself to swim.  Well, at least to drown with a little more dignity while crossing a small body of water no more than 50 meters across.  (50 yards for you that are still stuck in the stone age and eat bugs off each other)

Then, two years ago, I signed up for my first triathlon, spent all summer training, and finished second to last in the swim portion.

In the year that followed, I spent countless hours in the pool, to the sincere resentment of those that have to fish out all the animal hair, refining my technique and desperately trying not to actually kill myself.

Using an annual sprint triathlon as a measuring tool, I managed to finish in the middle of the slow pack last year.  Then something terrible happened.  I moved to Oklahoma for a professional course, started working on a graduate program in addition to the daily class load, and forgot completely about trying to swim.  For the last six months my furry paws have not touched the inside of a pool.

With my annual self-imposed sprint triathlon coming up this weekend I was in a panic to know if I would even survive.  It doesn't help that it's my first open water swim.  Are there sharks in Oklahoma?

To the rescue--the four day weekend trip to the wife's cousin's wedding in Denver.

We splurged, booked a room in the Hyatt Regency in downtown, and made full use of the saltwater lap pool in the fitness lounge.  So awesome!

The first dip in the pool, other than the initial, excruciating shock of cold water, was devoid of the panic and sense of certain doom that used to accompany a dip in the pool after extended absence.  I slowly did my full workout, roughly 600 meters (~600 yards, neanderthals!), with plenty of stopping to check my pulse and make sure I didn't need CPR.

The second dip, I took off with my stopwatch running.  10 minutes and 57 seconds later, head throbbing, lungs burning, I finished a cool 500 meters. (~500 yards, picking up what I'm putting down, yet?)  Faster than I used to swim the 400 meter. (~400 yards, cretans!)  And I was swimming over a mile above sea level after 6 months down on the plains.

I suppose I should thank the school house instructors that have been dragging us out for a weekly "this is not Cross Fit" Cross Fit session they dub the Filthy Fifty.  And I should also thank the sadistic classmates that thought the Mountain Athlete program, and the requisite million leg blasters that go with it, would be a "nice little break from the routine."  Apparently, along with my own tortuous cycling program, my full body strength and cardio are making up for a lack of water time and I'm feeling pretty confident about the Body vs. Earth Triathlon this weekend.

So, to answer the question, do Sasquatch float?  No, definitely not.  But, when there are sharks in the water, don't get in our way!

We're gonna need a bigger boat!

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