Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Playing in the background: Something choir-y on the Spa channel. Say it like Jeff Dunham: "Sp----ah."

In case you missed it, I swam the Texas Tough inaugural 400-meter open water swim on Sunday. Like most amateur athletic contests everywhere, it's held to sponsor some worthy cause or other, in this case Childrens Hospital Dallas. Also like most amateur athletic contests everywhere, it was hosted by a bunch of psuedo-celebrities I'd never heard of and populated by a bunch of ordinary folks, some weekend warriors, a couple of strange guys, some former Olympians and, uh, me. Fat chicks tend not to show up at these things, except as spectators, so I was kind of unique. All the same, though, I got a cute li'l number written on my arm in permanent marker, a complementary baby-blue swim cap from "Kiefer Athletic Supply, Your Source For Discount Swimming Goods" and a timing chip strapped to my ankle with a velcro thingy. And here's the kicker, I didn't place dead last. I fully expected to - in Jen's vocabulary, a "race" translates as, "Jen makes it over the finish line in one piece, all by herself with no help." But, I actually beat one guy. That was pretty cool.

My time was 10:46, which is just about twice as long as the former Olympians. I'm okay with that. Former Olympians tend to be pretty fast. Also, I do not look like a swimmer. Click here to see what a swimmer is supposed to look like. I'm too short, I have li'l chicken arms and I have a spare pair of floater bouys (ie, breasts) strapped to my chest. Breasts are right out. There are no breasts in swimming. Remind me to get a tube top or some duct tape, ala Princess Leia (in space, nobody can see your breasts.) Anyway, I noticed that in both my race and the 1.2 mile race that was held later, the mode of finishing was about the same. There were three or four really fast guys way out front of everybody else, then a whole big cluster of ordinary folks, and then two or three outliers trailing behind the big cluster. I was the last of the big cluster of ordinary folks. And that was just fine a roo with me.

The race took place at Lake Carolyn in Irving (which I always wanna call Irvine; hey, it's not like I lived in Cali for eleven years or anything.) The lake water was actually pleasant, and not nearly as muddy as L. Ron Hubbard, er, I mean, Lake Ray Hubbard. The race course called for us to swim out from the dock and around a big orange bouy, then make a left and swim past two yellow bouys to another big orange bouy, then make another left and swim like crazy back to the dock. I didn't mean to swim the whole thing at top speed, figuring that since I'd have limited vision (ie, even less than usual) and there'd be a crowd around me (at least for the first ten seconds) and it was my first open water swim, I might just wanna take it easy, swim at moderate speed and concentrate on getting there in one piece. But then the air horn blew and the adrenaline kicked in and I swam that thing faster than heck. (For me.) By the time I staggered back up the dock and over the timing mat I was sucking some serious wind. But the announcer (the psuedo-celebrity) clouted me on the shoulder and said, "Good on ya, lady" and as I was catching my breath another guy scrambled up the dock behind me, so as I was saying, I wasn't last, and life was just grand.

They fed us, breakfast burritos and "smoothie shots" (CUTE!!) and bottles of water of course. There was music and free t-shirts and coffee and a general cameraderie. At some point in the past two years I quit being the team mascot and became just one of the gang, and I'm not sure how that happened but I'm glad I finally rank. People came up and talked to me, including one of the former Olympians. Wow. Anyway, it was pretty cool. My first swimming event since I was, oh, about thirteen, I think. I liked it so much I might do the fun bike race in September. I'm staying out of the running events, tho. A triathlete I am not.

Did I mention I wasn't last? I wasn't last. That was pretty awesome. Go me!

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