I’ve said this before. Because I’ve tried this before. The story goes thusly: last year, to the day, I ran my first ever triathlon. And by triathlon, I mean the XS format, i.e. the absolute shortest format they have. When you’re good, that doesn’t even take half an hour to complete. In my case, the first one took 35 minutes. And the second 38. Which is why it might be my last.
Let me explain: back when I did the first triathlon, I had only just started running regularly, hadn’t picked up a bike in a while… and hadn’t attempted at swimming crawl since kindergarten. And, even then, I almost drowned. The thing is, as soon as I’d mastered breaststroke as a kid, I figured the rest was less important since I knew I would be able to survive on water. Which meant I never quite bothered to learn the technique of crawl - to be fair, my breaststroke technique isn’t exactly Olympic grade either - and, instead, preferred diving in and out of water and generally messing about rather than actually swimming.
Then came that first triathlon last year, that I had literally not prepared for once swimming-wise, and it somewhat showed. As in, I was dead last by a landslide as my then-fiancée was long off the water riding her bike, and proceeded to finish several minutes before me. Then again, I had the benefit of it being my first try: people are always more lenient when it’s your first time. But their generosity was stretched to proper extremes, as I finished second to last after a girl who actually couldn’t swim. Like, she’d never taken a single lesson. And she still completed the swimming part only a couple of minutes after me. If that isn’t a message, I don’t know what is.
After that, if I ever tried doing one of those XS triathlons ever again, I assumed I’d be judged somewhat more harshly. Which, again, isn’t difficult. Last Spring, I managed to dodge one because my right knee was a little sensitive (I’d run down the stairs a little too quickly one day - true story). I filmed my brother instead, who was running his first and managed to do even worse than me… because he went off track in the running section. Therefore saving my reputation by way of comparison. It counts.
Last weekend, they had another event, and I simply couldn’t come up with an excuse that wouldn’t look utterly ridiculous. The best I had was my shoulder felt weird, but my now wife would have laughed it off in a split second. And would have then proceeded to pulverise whatever time I would ever be able to hope for. I couldn’t do that. Also, I’d trained this time. As in - I’d gone once in a pool in a year. That may not be much to you but that was infinitely more than last year, and it actually made a difference: like, I kind of knew what crawl meant now. Not that I could properly do it, obviously, but I knew what not to do in order to save some energy for the rest of the race. That’s what they call a start.
And so, yesterday, it happened. And I did sort of OK: my wife fared better, naturally, but not by that much: she got out of the water only slightly before me, then outran me in every other thing, but it somewhat felt less like she was dragging me along. After the race was finished, I also didn’t feel as physically drained as I had the first time. Like, I didn’t want to throw up on my wife’s shoes - this time. Then, a guy from the organisation gave us our times and I realized that I’d been 3 minutes slower than last year.
2 options: either I try again and actually do better than a guy (or girl) who can’t swim, or I give up and play chess instead. The only problem is - I barely know how to play chess.