Tag Archives: swimming

I’d Like to Thank the Creators of Icy Hot for Making This Possible …

22 Oct

Icy Hot … it rocks. This awesome combination of menthol and methyl salicylate allowed my 37-year-old ass to successfully complete my sprint triathlon this weekend.

I would’ve used Ben-Gay on my tweaked knee, but that really didn’t sound athletic enough. It just sounded like I was old and weary. And even though I may feel like that at times there’s no need to perpetuate that train of thought. I’m an athlete damn it — a triathlete. And it was this bad-ass athlete mentality that helped push me through the race — even through the water, which, as predicted, kicked my ass. But I pushed through.

People making their way to the starting line.

The fact that I had a couple of friends in the race made it even more enjoyable. Camaraderie always makes for a better race.

So after a quick morning drive to the coast we unloaded our bikes and made our way to registration and the starting line. Now as I mentioned in my last triathlon piece the starting line is where you get to see everyone’s pre-warm-up routine and athletic attire.

A little too athletic for me.

Sometimes people go too far. But it becomes a good distraction because you’re full of nervous adrenaline.

A little laughter helps. But why was I still a little nervous? Why? The clouds. I was so hoping it wouldn’t rain during the biking leg of the race because I knew I’d probably eat it and need some paramedic assistance. Asphalt is pretty hard stuff. But as I was praying for the rain gods to take a nap, I noticed the starter of the race.

Sugar Ray saying what up, Guat!


Sugar Ray Leonard.

I smiled and did my most enthusiastic, what’s-up-hello-holy-crap-you’re-Sugar-Ray-how-you-doing greeting, you know, like we were friends, like if we had brunch the other day, like if he knew me. I held my camera up and he did his what’s-up-hello-I-am-Sugar-Ray good-morning greeting.

I was pumped. I was ready to go. Legendary Sugar Ray Leonard, who won an Olympic Gold Medal and world boxing titles in five weight divisions gave me a thumbs up. Rain or shine. Paramedic or no paramedic it was on.

Three-two-one … Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!

We’re off!

Now everything seemed to be going well during the race. The typical fast pace at the beginning where everyone sprints out like they’re Jamaican runners, whizzing right passed me only to die out after the first mile. As I passed most of these sprinters, I couldn’t help but notice the massive amount of elementary-age kids that were chugging along — keeping pace.

The Hill that slowed many down.

I mean when I was in elementary school I was playing green light-red light and watching Thunder Cats or Looney Tunes. I wasn’t racing in triathlons. I mean they didn’t even look tired. Even when we went up the hill, you saw their little legs speeding along. Don’t know what they feed these kids by the beach, but I’m sure when they hit 37 they’re probably not going to need Icy Hot.

Apparently there was this one kid, Jack, who was getting cheers from spectators all around the course. I didn’t see him or hear the chants. I’d like to think it was because he was behind me, but you never know.

One of the nice surprises that I found between mile one and mile two.

In any case, the running and biking portions of the race were not as grueling as I had thought. I felt bionic. A combination of Jamie Sommers and the Six Million Dollar Man: Colonel Steve Austin. A superhero even. I think I even passed Jack. I was zooming it, thanks to the Icy-Hot and my son’s playlist. However, the transition period sucked. It should take you like a minute. Run. Get your helmet. Get the bike. Go.

No, not for the Guat. For some reason it took me over five minutes to get situated. It wasn’t like I changed shoes or anything. I had a mini iPod and there were headphone wires everywhere. At that point I missed my lucky shirt, but I got over it and moved on.

Here’s my friend, Gonzalez passing me.

And when I got to the pool, it was just as I had expected … Kryptonite. Everyone I had passed during the run and bike phase not only caught up to me, but swam right passed me.

No bionic powers at all, just basic Guat tendencies, like pretending I can freestyle swim.

You know, I don’t know why I even try to freestyle swim. I mean who am I kidding? Who am I trying to impress? Michael Phelps wasn’t there. It’s just not my stoke. Freestyle is a stroke for people whose dots in life are connected. Me … I’m an ass-backwards dots-are-no-where-near-each-other kind of person. I’m a backstroke chick. I actually go faster doing the backstroke, so why the hell did I start of with the freestyle? Who knows. Maybe I went with the fake-it-until-you-make-it mentality.

My reward.

Note to self … that does not work in the pool. You just go slow, with the possibility of cramping and drowning. Stick to the backstroke.

However, regardless of my freestyle attempts and doggie paddles, I backstroked the last two legs of the race and powered through to the finish line.

An hour and twenty minutes. WOO-HOO! An awesome hour and twenty minutes, the kind that makes you feel bad-ass all day.

And for this bad-ass feeling, I’d like to thank the makers of Icy Hot, my son’s playlist, and my stubborn Guatemalan blood for making this possible.


Pool Envy and a Triathlon Buddy

14 Sep

I don’t know if  it’s my 37 year-old body or the fact that it hit 103 degrees today, but my workouts have left me huffing and puffing. I’d like to think it was the heat and not my weary bones.

But I wasn’t crazy, I didn’t run in the 100-degree heat, I hit the track before it was an inferno. It may have only been about 90 degrees at that moment. But regardless of the heat, I had to put on those running shoes. The flu sidelined me for about two weeks and my body responded to all that non-exercise going around. So when I went back, slower than ever I might add, the heat wave began.

Image via Durtbagz.com

It’s times like this that I wish I had a pool. I wish I knew somebody nearby that had a pool. It would make training for this triathlon much easier. I envy the pool people.

Although sometimes they anger me because of my pool envy. You know, some of these people have a swimming pool just a few feet away and they could care less. Not even the Olympics inspires them enough to jump in and splash around. It’s the best exercise ever for people with bad knees like myself, not that I would know because I don’t do it regularly, but I read WebMD. I see the dirty pool, the leaves, the moss, and the slimy floaties hanging out.  Ugh. Burn.

I was so up in arms with my pool envy that I watched the Endless Pool infomercial the other night and thought … man I need that. Gotta have that, but it wasn’t happening. The patio may be too small, my mom might not have enjoyed the patio takeover even though she never hangs out there, and I don’t have thousands of dollars just lying around. So my endless pool fantasy died with a sigh and flip of the channel.

I resign to the possibility of training in my kid’s pool from Big Lots. But my 37 year-old body doesn’t quite fit in there. And you all know how I feel about public pools and swimming in other people’s urine. There’s just not enough chlorine.

So I must run my ass off and build enough endurance to make it happen in the pool.  However, this time I may not be splashing in the pool alone. A friend of mine decided she’d attempt her first triathlon and I was pretty happy that I wouldn’t be the loner. I even mentioned that the course was a lot shorter than the last time. A 5K run, only a 10K bike ride, and a 160 meter swim.

“I know you can do it. I mean look at you. You got that Sports Illustrated fitness going on, you belong to a gym, you got that New Year’s resolution. Dude it can all happen with a little jog, bike ride, and swim.”

“Cut it out.”

She eventually called me back and said yes, but I knew she was a little scared about the whole thing. I told her she could have her dude come along for moral support, or join us, or just be our pit crew.  But even with that, it was a hesitant yes. I’m hoping she’ll take the plunge and sign up. Once you sign up, that’s it … you’ve made a declaration. You’re in for the sixty bucks. It’s your ante for the big game.

But if she chickens out, it’s all good. I’ll understand. I’ll have a radio to pump me up this time. Singing the songs myself only worked for the first two miles the last time I ran one of these. Then after mile two, all I heard was my heavy breathing. I’m not into hearing my heavy breathing or the breathing of every one else. It may have slowed me down. And slow is something I’m trying to avoid this time around.

Giddy up!


Mom Lies and No Red Solo Cup

29 Aug

Liars. You find them in almost crevasse and crack in life.  White lies, bold-face lies, I was only trying to protect you lies, and then the mom lies. The kind you believe when you’re four or five. But they all seem innocent, right? Well … that is until they catch up with you.

Moms try their best to protect you and sometimes they try a little too much. You got the don’t sit too close to the television or you’ll turn blind. You got the if you shave your legs your hair will grow thicker. You got the don’t swallow your gum or else it will end up sticking to your stomach for years. You got the don’t crack your knuckles like that, you’ll end up with fat fingers and arthritis.

And you believed it. It was your mom. So there you were sitting 100 yards from the television, with your hairy legs, kinks in your fingers, and spitting out your gum. A real prize.

But soon enough you realized that the reward was greater than the risk. So you could care less if you wore glasses, because you got to sit up close to watch late night TV and early morning cartoons. You got to wear your short shorts with stuff like Nair or your Gillette razors. And you constantly cracked your knuckles, because you had that kink. The gum thing. I was not much for swallowing it, that sort of grossed me out. But for the most part, I grew out of the lies.

I can’t say the same for my friend. He didn’t realize the truth until it had reached the point of no return — the point where your friends laugh at you and ask: What the hell?

Image via destination360.com

It happened in college. He grew up in the city and wasn’t much of a beach person. So when he got accepted into the University of Santa Barbara, he figured he’d hit the beach on a weekly, if not daily basis. But he had no idea he was doing it wrong until he went with friends. Friends at a beach party. The ultimate college experience. A beach party — the kind with girls, a bonfire, and that Red Solo Cup, you know the one that’s now become a college staple.

As with any get-together at the beach the first item on the agenda is hitting the water. So upon arrival the guys dumped their towels and gear, took off their flip-flops and t-shirts and rushed the water with great enthusiasm. They all sprinted like Olympic athletes and dove in … all but my friend.

He stopped at the shoreline, bent down, and began gently splashing his forehead with the water. After about thirty seconds he realized that he was the only one doing this forehead splash. He looked up, confused to see all his buddies in the deep end swimming around, riding boogie boards, and trying to catch a wave. They looked confused when they saw him still hanging out on the shoreline.

“What the hell are you doing?”

“What do yo mean, what am I doing? I’m getting ready to get in the water. What are you guys doing?”

“What’s a matter with you?”

“What? Didn’t your mom ever tell you that before getting in the water you have to splash some water on your forehead so that your body can get used to the temperature. Otherwise your body gets shocked, you get a cramp and you could drown.”

“I don’t think you deserve a Red Solo Cup.”

They laughed at him for about ten minutes. Then picked him up, carried him into the water and threw him into the ocean.

The first thing he did when he got back to the dorm?

Call his mom.

The first thing his mom did when she heard the story?

Laugh. Laugh hard.

Moms. They’re priceless.

My Tinman Update #5

20 Jun

The countdown is on and I’ve got three days to go.

Three days until the big race. Three days to do some final workout cramming sessions. And during this final week of workout madness I finally hit the water. And I know what you’re thinking … crazy Guat. It’s a triathlon. Swimming is an essential part. It’s like catching in baseball. But as I mentioned before, I’m a starving writer and don’t have the status of pool success.

Image via Durtbagz.com

You know … pool success. That’s when you have the money to buy a house with a pool, or you have one installed. I don’t have pool money yet. I don’t even have sprinkler money. So I had to turn to public pools, however that’s not my thing. I’m not a fan of other people’s urine diluted in gallons of water. I’m a little Howard Hughes that way. So my swim training has been a little slow.

But I finally got the opportunity to jump in a semi-private pool, and I went to town. I finally got in the water and I can honestly tell you that the swimming is probably going to kick my ass.

No doubt. No doubt.

But the good thing is that at least I can expect it, right? I know it’s coming. So might as well just take it head on. Psyche myself up and bust a move. Like going to the doctor and knowing you’re gonna get a shot. You know you have to do it. You know it’s gonna hurt. So what do you do? Cowboy up.Man up! Or in my case Woman Up!

Just gonna dunk myself in the water and try my best.  Gonna bust out all the swimming moves I got to get me through this part of the race.  Freestyle, backstroke, doggie paddle, and the one that makes you look like a frog. I might just even float my way to the finish. But that’s what happens. What are you gonna do?

The funny thing is that even though swimming worked out every single part of my body, I felt somewhat relaxed and at ease in the water. Pushing myself off the wall and zooming through the water at my own Guat speed felt great. I didn’t feel like I was exercising at all. My knees weren’t hurting and my back was free of pain.I was out of breath and I could feel it in my shoulders and legs, but I felt good.

I wish I had pool money. My broken-down thirty-something athletic bones and ligaments would thank me. I’m sure my post Tinman Triathlon body would appreciate it too.

But nevertheless game on. It’s on. Run. Bike. Swim. Here I come. Swimming here I come.

My Tinman Update #3

1 Jun

It’s the public urination. I’m just not a fan of swimming in that.

But I know what your thinking. It’s called a triathlon because it features three sports. Three. But for some reason that still doesn’t encourage the public pool adventure. But I’ll have the opportunity to splash around in a private pool soon enough. I might be able to dunk myself at least three times this month. I should be doing it three times a week, but this is The Guat Life … this is how I roll. Makes for a more exciting challenge.

Image via Durtbagz.com

I don’t know if it’s possible for someone to train for a triathlon solely working on the running, biking,  and weight training, but it’s all I’ve got. I’m not a high roller, I don’t have a pool. But I do possess some bad ass will power. It’s the kind of will power that’s coupled with the Lero Lero Factor.

I know I’ll be hurting once I reach this water. I will have run a 5K, biked nine miles through something called Devil’s Canyon, which I imagine to be something steep and grueling, thus the name. But I can only guess. I’m sure my stomach cramps, out-of-breath body, wobbly knees, and burning quads will let me know.

After surviving my encounter with the steep, dangerous, unknown canyon I then splash in the water for a 100-yard swim — you know the size of a football field.

100 yards in the water. Maybe I’ll watch some Michael Phelps footage and get inspired.

It’s supposed to be over after the swim, right? That’s what I imagined. But no. Apparently I am supposed to take my Aquaman ass out of the water and make a mad dash to the finish line. I don’t think I’ll be dashing much, more like walking briskly. But you never know. Maybe I’ll have some crazy adrenaline and sprint toward the end.

In truth I’m hoping all the running and Glucosamine pills I’ve been taking will help me out. I hope I don’t get a cramp and drown, but I’ve been told life guards will be on duty just for that reason, so I figured my bases are covered.

Will I win my age bracket?

Probably not.

Considering my lack of swimming, I’m just hoping I don’t end up last. That’s the goal. Do not end up last and finish the race. I know what you’re thinking, I’m a total overachiever, aiming that high and all, a regular Olympian. But that’s how I roll. And even though I am triathlon impaired during training, I’m still going all the way. It’ll just take me longer to finish. But I’ll finish.

Baby steps. Baby steps.