Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Swimming with Snarks

I know there is a race report due, but I have to get this off my chest so I can move on, like a happy little triathlon clam and leave this nasty little interlude behind me.

Okay, so. If you’re following my training log on TP, then you may have noticed that last week was one full of days upon days of swimming frustration. Not that I was frustrated with my own swimming…no, I’m sure that’ll happen more than enough. Nope – I was frustrated with my swimming options.

For example, Wednesday I hit the pool very early to accommodate my early morning Board of Directors meeting. I really (really!) wanted to have some time to go over, in my head, my approach to the myriad of questions I knew I would be getting. These meetings tend to be extremely stressful for me, and a little swimLove in the morning ahead of time was exactly what I needed.

But, that didn’t happen. That pesky Masters class was taking up a vast majority of the lap lanes in the pool. Result? They were all full with swimmers. It was mobbed. Mobbed, I tell ya. At 6:00 AM.

Not that I mind the Masters crew – in fact, I'd love to have the gumption to step up and swim with them, too. It’s just that our Y doesn’t include info on the swim schedule as to when to expect them to take up each and every lap lane available to the membership. Were it on the schedule, I would have STAYED IN BED.

Sooo…(I’m already making this short story long...sorry) I try to go that night. Of course, no lanes. I just couldn’t win! Repeat the next day. I mean seriously! All I wanted was about 50 minutes of a lane. That’s all! Sigh.

So, Saturday I’m totally jazzed about the fact that my internal alarm clock woke me up at 7:00. And, trust me people, this is a GIFT from the internalalarmclock GODS. A gift! So, I wiggled out of bed, threw on the suit (swim, that is), and snuck out of the house before Mighty M even knew what was going on.

And there was a lane. I kid you not. A bunch of them. Lots of lanes. I sighed in relief. Clearly, the swimming gods joined the internalalarmclock gods in smiling on me this day. Ah, yes.

So, I’m plugging away at my long set and thinking how I want to bump it up to 2000, instead of 1800. Then, I see her – sitting on the end of my lane. I was startled, but I stopped. Clearly we needed to chat for a second to figure out what she wanted/needed that kept her perched on the edge of my lane. And I had a bad feeling I knew what it was.

So, here’s how the exchange went…editorial notes included…


Snark: “I’m going to hop in and share the lane.”

[Join me? Oh no…I hate sharing a lane. I can’t seem to count when I’m sharing. It’s not that I’m greedy, I’m just counting impaired. And I came early so I wouldn’t have to share this nice little lane. Oof…what to say…]

Me: (Looking around) “Is that lane a walking lane?” (Pointing to the clearly open lane, two slots down. I already knew this was for laps, but hoped she would see that there was a completely open option for her right over there. Passive aggressive, I know...but I was off my game.)

Snark: “I don’t know. Regardless, I’m swimming here.”

[Oh, my. She’s a bit of a bitch. First, she didn’t ask to share and now she’s blatantly refusing to use another open lane? Is this some weird power struggle? In the pool? While we're in swimsuits? Odd, but she looks pretty serious…perhaps I’m out of my depth…]

Snark: (Seeing my confusion/frustration…) “Don’t worry, you won’t notice me…”

*and here’s the kicker*

“I swim with 300 people in the ocean all the time.”

[Blink, blink. Wait a second, she’s not just a swimmer, she’s a triathlete. Perhaps there’s some common ground we can find here.]

Me: “Really…are you a triathlete?”

Snark: (Smugly) “Um, yes.”

[And then she gives me the once over with her eyes, clearly indicating that I was not up to her standards! I’m dead, stinking serious!]

Me: (Barely holding it together) “That’s nice. Are you training for a particular race?”

[Inside, I’m seething and starting to get truly annoyed. Seething because she just gave me the once over – how DARE she?! This is the YMCA for goodness sake! Back off!]

Snark: “Yes, a number of them.”

Me: “Great! Me, too.”

[Okay, so here’s the chance for some – “No way! Which one? Come here often? How’s training going? Nope…instead I get this…]

Snark: (Dripping with disdain) “Well then it will be good training for you to swim with someone else in your lane.”

...and then she pushes off




Did she just really give me unsolicited advice about what would be "good for my training"? Did she just really presume that she was a more experienced triathlete than me, and that I would benefit – BENEFIT – from her wisdom? Did she actually just do that?

And then the inevitable happened. I spent the next 800 yards contemplating exactly what I should have said to her...had I been terribly sharp and smart and witty and had the mental reflexes of a ninja. Basically, everything that I am not. Here’s a sampling of all of my smart responses (dare I say comebacks)…

  • Perhaps it would be good exercise for your ego to swim in the walking lane, cha’think?
  • How nice for the offer, but today’s session doesn’t call for sharing a lane with snarky brats…that’s next Saturday.
  • Give me the once over one more time and I’ll punch you in the nose.
  • Since you're so experienced with open water starts, then you won't mind when I casually kick your goggles off on the way past, right?
And, of course, I never would say any of those things. And, of course, I never would even consider doing any of those things! But I would absolutely come up with them all -- in my head -- as I fumbled my way through the next 16 laps.

But you know what I REALLY wanted to do? Really, really? I wanted to drop the Ironman bomb. I wanted to be able to say, "Thanks for asking! Actually I'm training for IM Wisconsin in September!" Why? Don't I realize how indelicate it is to drop the IM-bomb? That it's reserved for only the most emergent of circumstances?

You know what, I really just wanted her to know that, NO, this wasn't just my casual Saturday New Year's resolution that I've managed to carry into February by the grace of God. NO, I'm not here to practice my crawl or play around. NO, this wasn't just some outing for me, where I can experience the awe of sharing a lane with someone as experienced as you.

Instead, it's part of a plan. Part of a major goal. I don't need to practice swimming with others right now, since today my goal is different. Today my goal is to do a continual set of 1800. Today my goal is to keep my pacing spot on like it was last week. Today my goal is to shave another 5 seconds of my average 100.

And, you know what, Snarky? Today my goal isn't discussing your other lane options in the middle of my set. Today, I didn't set out to completely screw up my numbers by having this enlightening conversation with you at the lane end. I've had enough distractions this week.

Today, I just want to swim.




Jeremy said...

My vote would have been to both drop the IMMOO bomb and also take up more than your fair share of the lane. If you're asked during any point in the swim why you're hogging the lane, just state that you're taking her advice to take in some "good training".

I've been thinking about writing a post on pool etiquette for quite some time. Your post has inspired me!

IM Able said...

HA! I love it!!

Yes, yes...that' definitely goes on the list of couldhave-shouldhave...

TriShannon said...

How rude!! Who does she think she is? Great swim despite the interruption!

LBTEPA said...

So why don't you both swim up one side/down the other (ie, always keeping to the left, or right, in a wee circle-ish type motion) so you can all fit in happily AND other people can too? Or is that not normal pool etiquette in the US as it is in Oz? Maybe you can suggest to pool mamangement that they introduce it?
BTW I'd drop the IMMoo bomb whenever, wherever, especially when some bimbo disses you!!

Bolder said...

great post! i felt like i was there!

rookie mistake though...

you'll learn... you see someone hovering at the end of your lane, and when you breathe right, and breathe left, know there are open lanes...

never even LOOK at them... nothing good is gonna come out of it!

what were you expecting: 'hey, just wanted to bust up your set and concentration to tell you that your stroke belongs in an Ironman!'

JohnnyTri said...

...Perhaps it would be good exercise for your ego to swim in the walking lane, cha’think?...

Awesome, I gotta remember that one b/c I think her husband or brother swims at my pool and this would work well!!!

Great post!

ironjenny said...

My personal favorite was the "gonna kick her goggles off just like in a real triathlon". But with 2200 other swimmers, like in an IRONMAN!
She was probably just hoping to draft off of you.
But, ICK!! It must suck being her!

I am proud [and a little jealous] at how well you took the high road!
Once you have that IM tattoo on your leg, you won't have to think about dropping the "bomb"!!

Trevor Oseen said...

Truly hilarious and funny thing is I think we can all relate to it!

xt4 said...

That was awesome! I've never visited before, but totally enjoyed that.

Here's to the conversations in our heads, and the ninjas living inside.

Pharmie said...

Great post! Good for you for mustering up the courage to not kick her in the face. This may be just some more unsoliceted advice, but I can't remember how many laps I've done no matter how long the distance. I think I lose count at around, say, 150 meters. I'm not kidding. I use a 100 lap watch and hit the lap button each time. I'm sure it slows things down a bit, but it puts me at ease knowing I'm not gonna forget.

mishele k said...

Personally? I think you should have held her under while she flipturned.

But that's me.

I too resisted the bomb drop this weekend, only it was with a roadie on an organized ride. I didn't appreciate his smugness but didn't want to sound, well, snarky.

Good for you for being a nice person! Some people don't always deserve it, but that's the way life goes I guess.

Fe-lady said...

A trophy to you for NOT dropping the IM bomb...I probably would have, but I am probably not as nice as you. I probably have been a snarky bitch in my lifetime....
and I would have HAD to "race" her during my workout. It's in my blood...but not necessarily a good thing, 'cause it screws up my workouts.
It will all come back- Karma is alive and well, even in the pool!
By the way, did you lap her? :-)
Love the cartoon too!

Mallie said...

Oh...but don't you sometimes wish you were the kind of person who does say those types of things to snarky lane bashers? Kudos for keeping it cool, but bummer that your laps were messed up with the "what if" thoughts.

Triteacher said...

Funny post - a good read. Thanks!

Siren said...

LMAO!! I loved this! Here I thought I was the only one who fumed about what I wouldacouldashoulda said to someone who'd been rude.

Once I actually did say the "you and your ego have a nice time" to someone who deserved it... gotta say, it was fabulous. : )

Siren said...

Oh, and I'd have TOTALLY dropped the IM bomb ; )

Cheaper Than Therapy said...

I just saw this. I can totally feel your frustration - there were open lanes!! I love that you called her Snark, and the after-thought options. Awesome.

Ellie said...

Hey, I like you, girl! I wanna think up stuff like this !! I'll read you regularly and maybe learn how :-)

BTW, I often told people I was training for IMFL -- mostly hoping they were, too, or for another IM, but I guess I could have found out by asking if they were training for a specific event, like you asked. I didn't know we weren't supposed to tell!