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March 16, 2007

The Lazy Snail?

Training twice a day for most of the last several weeks has been a very effective way for me to get in shape. I gain more confidence in this fact with each passing day - as my workout times get faster, or my distances stretch longer, or my strokes and strides become more efficient. It's definitely happening - I'm certain of it.

The trouble is, if you were a casual observer, you'd have absolutely no idea.

I tend to keep my athletic exploits very low-profile amongst co-workers or in the general public. A few of my professional acquaintances are aware that I do some type of exercise program, but they don't have any concept of the magnitude of my compulsion. Others may suspect that my lifestyle is different somehow, but they don't know the exact nature of it, and they've seemingly decided against asking any specific questions, in case the answers make them uncomfortable. (In other words, I'm the triathlete version of Ryan Seacrest.)

So while I'm working my body into the best shape possible, the rest of the world is mostly oblivious. And I thought I was OK with that, until a conversation with my 5-year-old daughter unexpectedly struck a nerve.

We were looking at our tropical fish, observing the ivory-shelled snail who is the latest addition to our tank. Then we had the following conversation:

Daughter: I like our snail. None of my friends have a pet snail.

Me: I like him, too. He's like Spongebob's pet, Gary.

Daughter: I named him “Lazy.”

Me: What? Why’d you pick that?

Daughter: Because he moves really slow all the time.

Me: Sure, but that doesn’t mean he’s lazy. Remember, he’s carrying that big shell around all the time. Being a snail might be hard work. Or maybe he’s already taken a long walk around the tank this morning, and now he’s resting.

Daughter: Hmm …

Me: Plus, we have no idea how he compares to other snails. For all we know, he may be a very athletic snail. He might be way more active than we think.

Daughter. Oh.

From there, I tried a transition to some kind of lesson about not being able to judge someone’s ability by his appearance, but I was only a few seconds into my spiel before my 3-year-old came over and distracted all of us (as is her gift). Before I knew it, they dashed off to the craft table together, and the moment was gone.

As usual, it was an opportunity for quality parenting that fell by the wayside on my watch. And remember what I said in my last post about how my training makes me irrational about things? Let’s call this little story Exhibit B.

When you start sympathizing with snails, you know your life has taken a strange turn.


Backofpack 3/16/07, 12:06 PM  

Obviously, I missed something about Ryan S. Is he a triathlete? A runner? What's the scoop? Nothing obvious on the link...

As for the snail, I like him/her/it too - I can identify! Just the fact that he/she/it is moving means he/she/it is not lazy. All this typing of he/she/it and him/her/it makes me wonder...how can you tell on a snail?

olga 3/16/07, 2:02 PM  

I found your thought process awesome! Hope your girl will think about it while crafting with her sister. I wish somebody would tell me this story, even now:) I, for one, explain it pretty close to my husband when we drive to work together and see slower folks on their morning routine (whether jog or run or walk). I always say - we don't know for sure if somebody is slow because it's the end or a run, a warm up, an injury, a bad health (heart? lungs? joints?), a beginning of a weight loss program, may be they simply don't like to run and prefer to swim, but feel it's good to do too on occasion!

Robb 3/16/07, 4:34 PM  

I'm certain other 'snail'sharing opportunities will come along. It's wild how often my kids trigger something...and then simply walk off or move on to the next great thing. Kids! Crazy.

Spokane Al 3/16/07, 8:31 PM  

Great post and terrific example of the snail.

I was listening to a tri podcast this morning and the speaker was suggesting that no matter how difficult the training or the race we must always keep moving forward.

I think that works for the snail as well.

stronger 3/16/07, 10:25 PM  

5 years old? I bet she put your story together and got the lesson. "Hmmm, oh"...she was listening. Ask her in a few days what she likes to call the snail and why and see if her answer is the same.

Sarah 3/17/07, 9:25 AM  

Yeah, maybe that snail is on mile 89 of her first 100. : )

I try to keep a low-profile at work. Otherwise, I hear too much about how all that running is going to ruin my knees....

Matt 3/17/07, 3:54 PM  

Thanks for stopping by. Great blog. Great post. I fight the awkwardness of being a "triathlete" in the office all the time. I don't like talking about it either, but it always seems to come up.

Downhillnut 3/18/07, 8:58 AM  

I'm glad you shared the snail story with US. Because WE get it. Of course, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to explain it to non-athletic types. As a Penguin athlete, I totally get the snail story mindset.

Annette 3/18/07, 9:35 PM  

Yea, being a snail might be really hard. I mean, who else has to carry around his/her entire house all the time? Thanks for sticking up for us snails out there. :)

I can't imagine you hiding your athletic persuasions. Are you leading a double life? ;)

rick 3/19/07, 1:34 PM  

I thought that was great, more conversations like that and she'll get it yet. Paint in layers I say. I should have visited sooner. I didn't realize you had a nice cover on your blog. Crikey! I guess I haven't been in my local Borders to look at mags, this is my first time seeing it. Unfortunately I probably belong in the larger group, the one who saw the girl first before the bike - although I know the feeling. Once I happened to ride along with my YMCA tri coach coach when a pretty girl came riding by in the opposite direction. We both had a mental "whoah", he asked "girl or the bike?" and I said "I dunno I was trying to look at both".

But now that I see the bike I can't take my eyes off it. Zipp's probably worth more than my bike, carbon molded frame most likely outfitted w/ Dura Ace components, cables routed internally... is that an aero seatpost? wowowee! A recent publication came out with their review of the latest 175 new bikes. I flipped through it, drooled over the new matte finished, gray on gray TCR Giant and promptly left the store. I don't need that kind of bike porn in my house, no need for that kind of temptation. I love my bike. I love my bike. One more time, I love my bike there is no other.

Journey to a Centum 3/19/07, 7:04 PM  

Are slugs faster than snails since they don't have shells to carry with them? I think, no I know, that it's time for our running group to have a little slug race. Yes! You have inspired me to have our runners seek out some big old Pacific Northwest Banana Slugs and have a race. Instead of a 5K I think we will do a 5 Inch run/slime trail. The use of performance inhancing salt will not be allowed! I'll post some pictures after the event for you and your daughter.


robtherunner 3/19/07, 7:43 PM  

I'd like to note that Eric actually makes comments like the one above while we are running and also at coffee. If you are thinking this is just his online blog personality it aint so. I hide my athletic exploits with my oversized runners physique.

TriShannon 3/19/07, 8:09 PM  

I wish my co-workers didn't know that I am a triathlete. Some how I have become the "go-to" person in the office when it comes to getting in shape, running, sprint triathlons, etc. I don't know... I'm just trying to get through my own day and my own training. I try not to bring up my training, but that is all most people seem to want to talk about.

Anyway, great post! I bet she got it.

Tiffany 3/28/07, 8:58 AM  

And don't even get me started on the snail's failed relationships...

I loved the post- and especially the followup comments from the peanut gallery.

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