This weekend we’re heading up to Madison, Wisconsin to do the half-marathon. I’m simply hoping my tight old hips hold up all thirteen miles, but I’ll take what I can get.
On Saturday, both Sue and I are having swim stroke assessments done by her coach, Steve Brandes. I know there are plenty of things to improve in my technique. Those revelations won’t be a surprise. But I’m also betting he’ll have three words to say to me:
Kick, you fool!
My kick leaves so much to be desired it would take a quart of Viagra to overcome its impotence. When I use a kick board, I get about halfway across the pool and sort of stall, like a dying sunfish. You know that look, don’t you? It’s the look that says “I can’t go any further right now unless you push me.”
I should actually be much more inspired to kick after watching an entire hour of Olympic swimming the other night. The show featured clips from the 2012 Olympics. Michael Phelps and all his rivals tore through the pool like sharks attacking a freezer of Omaha Steaks dumped overboard by a yacht. And they kicked like crazy.
They kick so strong that when you see those swimmers from underwater they don’t even look like real human beings. I once owned a plastic wind-up diver toy much like the one in the photo at the top of this blog. He was a grey little object with legs that flipped up and down. That system propelled him along if you turned that little knob around enough to crank up his gears.
So I’m thinking of having a knob installed on my side so that before I go swimming, I can ask Sue to wind me up and set me in the water. kickkickkickkickkickkickkickkickkick
Perhaps Coach Brandes will have a better idea how to improve my lax kicking technique. I know that I tend to kick in intervals, as if the power in my body were shutting on and off. I’m like a hybrid vehicle at a stop sign. Power down. Power back up.
Part of me wonders if my brain simply can’t handle all the instructions it’s being asked to follow. One of the challenges for people with certain types of hearing loss is to pick up conversations in a crowd. That’s how my brain feels when I tell my body to do all the things it takes to swim. Rotate, breath in, do a clean catch, breathe out through the nose, complete a long pull, lift the elbows and then kick all at the same time. My brain just takes what it wants from all those instructions and jettisons the rest like unwanted cargo on a pirate ship being chased by a Spanish galleon. You can see an oil slick of unheeded thoughts on the surface of every lane I swim.
But hey, I’ve improved. So I’ll give myself credit for persistence in the face of hydro-resistance.
So I’ll be interested to see what Coach Steve can do for me. Perhaps it’s nothing much. Perhaps it will be Steve just standing by the pool repeating those three words, “Kick, you fool,” while possibly using a cattle prod to electrify the water and give me the motivation to make things happen.