Training Day 3 of 112-Swimming-#gumby
I suspect most of you know who Gumby is-that loveable, malleable, green figure who, with his orange pony friend Pokey, starred in a series of 1950s claymation shows, which ran in syndication on tv in the 1970s. (And if you don’t, click on the “Gumby” link above because that is the end of today’s pop-culture, television, history lesson). Well, what I suspect most of you don’t know is that “Gumby” is a term that I use to motivate myself during competition.
My Gumby at a race is the person I seek out either at the beginning, middle, or end that I am going to keep my eye on, not let them get out of my sight, and hopefully pass them.
Because I am both practical AND competitive, my Gumby will often change throughout the course of a race. Sometimes I spot them at the starting line to keep me on pace in the beginning, and sometimes I see them about a mile from the finish and, for a variety of reasons (i.e., they are a man who is younger, same age, or older than me or they are a woman who is younger, same age, or older than me), I want to pass them. I want to crush them. I want to beat them. Nice, huh?
Today as I was engaged in my first cross training initiative of the week, I spotted my Water Gumby. And her name is Christy Perros! Having said that, I had no desire to pass her, crush her, or beat her; I just wanted to catch up with her.
Now that we are “officially” training, Christy and I decided to amp it up in the pool. We agreed to swim our usual 1,200 yards (four sets of the following three repeats-100 yards with the paddle board and flippers, 100 yards swimming free style with flippers, and 100 yards swimming breaststroke sans flippers). We agreed to do this with the caveat that we would not stop and talk in between sets, we would just keep on swimming. Sounded good to me. As Christy started her first set of free style laps, I fussed, as I always do, with my goggles. When I looked up to start swimming, she was 25 yards away. I thought to myself, “Damn! I’ve got a Water Gumby.”
The thing with Christy, ironically, is that she is one of the rare persons in my life with whom I’ve run that I don’t feel competitive toward, which is really nice actually. So, as I said, I didn’t want to beat her, I wanted to try to push myself to swim harder and better than I usually do and see if that would cause me to catch up with her. Alas, on one level, I was not successful as she eluded me most of the time; however, on another level, I was terribly successful because I did in fact swim faster and harder! And that is what a training partner is all about! Whether you are running, biking, swimming, etc., you want to train with people who make you a better competitor!
By cutting out the talking, we turned a 1,200 yard, 40-minute work out into a 30-minute workout, which afforded us an extra 15-minute paddle board session at the end.
Lessons Learned: 1) At the start of any sporting event, scout out your Gumby and be prepared to be flexible as the event goes on in order to keep yourself motivated. 2) Don’t waste your time with training buddies who suck the life out of you (either for a number of reasons or in a number of ways). Go out of your way to find someone who challenges you and makes you better. Quite honesty, that’s a life-lesson as well.
So to Miss Perros I say, “Thank you for being my Water Gumby.” And since I’m being so nice to you, I hope you don’t mind me posting this photo of you in a swimsuit, since it was a swim day. I did tell you, when I asked for it, that I planned to use it. However, to be fair, I made no mention of referencing your great looking guns. By the way, you got a permit for those things? Boo yah!