Into the Drink

I dare you to find a more attractive picture of a specimen of humanity than this here likeness.Guess who swam across a lake at 7:00 this morning and now has algae-looking stuff in unmentionable places? Not naming names. Follow my eyes.

I’ve been casually training for a triathlon I’m not going to compete in because my ladies are doing it and I’m nothing if not a follower. Last Saturday and then again this morning we worked on our open water swimming. There are many signs that we are taking this athletic challenge of athleticism in a very seriously serious manner, which include but are not limited to:

-Giggling like wee girls.

-Squealing as we stand at the edge of the frigid drink and then eventually needing to be pushed in (This will go over well on race day, I imagine. The shotgun goes off. There’s a flurry of splashtastic activity. One lone spaztard in my heat stands with her arms folded, dancing from one foot to the other, “OOOoooooo… but it’s so COOOOLDD. Tee-hee-hee.” Grin. “I hope I win.”).

-Doing the back stroke most of the way, even though one woman warned us that when she switched to backstroke in her last race, the medi-kayak was deployed to see what was wrong with her.

-Periodically swimming up next to another athletic athlete and saying, “Shark Week,” in a most menacing way.

I’ll be going out of town when the other ladies take the plunge, ½ mile swim followed by an 18 mile bike ride followed by a 3.5 mile run and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was just a teeny bit glad in the smallest corner of my heart to have a good excuse for my athletic truancy.

But it’s fun to train with them. Mostly. In the middle part. For a couple of minutes. After my body is numb and before my brain is filled with green water.
Trust me the lake is much bigger, much colder, and much more full of dead bodies than it appears in this picture.
There was even one sublime moment during Saturday’s swim when a duck swam past me in a not creepy, we’re-all-part-of-the-great-circle-of-life, kind of way and then a bald eagle swooped down and grabbed a fish right out of the water and glided off to munch on it’s still beating heart.

If I were Native American or even had a Native American name like Pocahontas or John Smith, I think that moment would have moved me into postponing my trip so I could complete the race, a mystical sign from my animal brothers that I had raw fish left to clutch or races to eat or something.

Alas, I am the whitest white person I know so what it actually did after the initial “WOW” wore off was remind me that lakes contain things, living things, things that are cold, wet, slimy and potentially man-eating. If a fish were to bump into me while I was swimming, I feel fairly certain that I would make no sound as my heart stopped and I slipped ignominiously to Davy Jones’ locker.

Not thinking of my neurotic aquatic terror, following the first race in which I had gotten a tiny piece of water in my eye, I went to Tarzhay and purchased a pair of goggles so that I could see WHILE SWIMMING. IN THE LAKE. WHERE THE FISH AND DEAD BODIES LIVE.

I’ve always been scared of dead bodies under dark water but after watching that one scary movie where Harrison Ford plays a villain and you spend the whole movie asking “Han Solo, why’s it gotta go down like this Homey?” I now know that dead bodies under water are true.

So today as I swam along, I kept catching glimpses of my paler than death, whiter than normal white people arm flashing by as I swam. At which time I would die just a little, thus partially self-fulfilling prophecy, and scream under water, sure I had seen the floating remains of some poor victim of Mr. Solo. This would result in the inhalation of said water and in a fervent vow to never ever EVER again open my eyes in those way-too-clear goggles of terror. Then I would swim with eyes closed way off course until my compatriots yelled my name and pointed back to shore. I repeated this zig-zag pattern all over the lake, getting worked up to the point where I was sure that the skirt on my tankini was really a giant strand of semi-sentient sea weed tangled around my legs and bent on my most hideous destruction.

One of my friends told me after the swim that she was only in it to get an athletic body like the other triathletes she knows. I thought about this and I realized that hers is an unrealistic goal for someone like me.

People who eat cheese will never have triathlete bodies. I mean, they can sample cheese betimes at cheese tasting events. But I’m fairly sure that people who EAT cheese will never look like that.

That’s why I’m in it for the glory.

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