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Sunday, October 26, 2014


I drove up to Vermont on Friday so that I could compete in a masters swimming meet there on Saturday morning. I tried once again to get the record in my age group for the 200 short course meter butterfly, and once again I failed. (The record is a 2:29.4, I went a 2:32.3.)

And, once again, I died in the last 50. For the last five or six strokes I was so exhausted I couldn't even get my arms to clear the water on the recovery. 

I will say this though: I found it less embarrassing than last time around. Not sure whether that's a good or bad thing. 

I trained for this all summer, and thought I was in decent shape. Of course, last month I did see some of that hard won conditioning flow into the four vials of blood they took from me in the emergency ward. 

In any case, last night I got an email from a masters swimming friend who likes to talk politics, and in replying I mentioned my meet, adding that after my third unsuccessful attempt, I was about ready to give up the 200 fly. 

He said, among other things (and with the best of intentions, in an effort to get me to try again):

There's only one way to say it -- only a pussy/choker would give up on 200 fly at this stage.

I replied: 

Dear General Patton --
I do appreciate your attempt at psychology, but I'm a little too old to be led around by my sense of masculinity. You'll have to try that line of manipulation with younger guys more susceptible to it.

Anyway, I'm proud to report that I'm no longer swayed by that type of manipulation…Ah…wait a sec...agh…AGH... 

I'm not a pussy and a choker! I'm going to try again!!

Well, I guess the line of talk does still work on me.

(And, since I will eventually try again, it was good to hear on the subject from my wife, who offered the following invaluable advice: "You've got to learn to pick it up more at the end of your races.")


Steven said...

My main advice to you is go faster.


John Craig said...

Steven --
Good advice!

(And thank you.)

Steven said...

Yeah, you should have no problem breaking records if you just go faster. That's where you're going wrong. You're not going fast enough.

Steven said...

Maybe you could wear flippers. That should speed you up.

Or drain the water out of the pool and run it.

Glen Filthie said...

Maybe you won't find any inspiration in Patton...but I like this one by Coolidge:

"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."
Good luck, Flipper! :)

John Craig said...

Glen --
Thank you. All true. Part of my problem now though is that I feel sort of foolish still pursuing this at my age.

Lucian Lafayette said...

Give em hell, John. Ignore the comments. I use the Coolidge comment as well. Every match is a chance to go just a little faster.

John Craig said...

Lucian --
Thank you.

(If I'd had your muscles I'd have been able to do it.)

Anonymous said...

Dear John,

Sorry I've been out of the loop so long, read your blog today at lunch and although I'm sorry you didn't break the record, it was definitely an improvement over the last time. I'm pleased you've decided not to give in, just keep grinding it out and one day it will pay off. Remember, its not about how much you can take, but how much more you have to give. Give my best to the whole family, especially my Friday workout partner, spartan runs just aren't the same when your not being pushed by a 23 year old.

Mad Dog