Today’s post is relatively short, so I'll start by throwing in a somewhat unrelated story: an actual conversation between my 6-year-old daughter and me from about 3 weeks ago, as we were listening to the radio outside our house:
Me: Hey, [daughter] - come here!
Me (turning up radio): Listen to this …
Daughter (mouth open, eyes getting wide): That’s Jack Johnson! Is this a new song?
Me: Yeah – he’s got a new album coming out next month.
Daughter: Cool! We’re going to buy it, right?
Me: You bet … just as soon as it comes out.
Happily, that time is now. Jack Johnson’s new album comes out today, and there probably aren’t any two people more excited about it than me and my 6-year-old daughter. Have I mentioned before how much I like her? I thought so.
OK, thanks for indulging me. Here’s the real post …
Over the past several weeks, I’ve written a great deal about running. So much, in fact, that it might cause one to forget that I’m actually a triathlete.
At least, that’s the way I see it, in a philosophical manner of speaking. To paraphrase Plato, my true Form is a triathlete; the ultrarunner evolving before you on this blog is merely one of several outward manifestations of the Form’s essence. Socrates would describe my race schedule to the right as a momentary portrayal of my true Form under various circumstances.
Trust me - I could spend another 300 words going all Socratic on you, explaining theories of actualization and the allegory of the cave – but it will be a lot easier for both of us if you just take my word for it: I think of myself as a triathlete. And from time to time, I’ll try to remind you of that, if for no other reason than to keep myself honest.
For example, I’m still swimming on a regular basis – usually twice per week, and occasionally more. I’ve found it to be a perfect complement to high mileage running, and without the pressure of a race looming ahead, there’s no urgency to reach a certain number of yards or hit specific interval times. In other words, it’s all of the fun, with none of the stress. You can see why I’m reluctant to give it up.
Until recently, I thought that my swimming was simply a nice diversion from all the trail miles I’ve been logging. So you can imagine my surprise when I found out that I’m actually getting academic credit for it. Not only that, but I happen to be scoring fairly well.
Quite a while ago (in this post), I explained how I had to enroll as a student at our local community college in order to use the outdoor pool facilities, which are far and away the best in town. I made some jokes about revisiting college life, possibly joining a fraternity, and worrying about whether or not I’d be graded for the activity. It turns out that I was only half kidding.
When I was registering online for the spring semester swim class, my eye was drawn to the “check my transcript” link on the menu bar. Of course, curiosity led me to click the link, where I saw the following screen:
Apparently, somebody thinks that I’m a straight-A swimmer. They've obviously never seen me trying to do flipturns with paddles and a pull buoy.
I can’t remember the last time I’ve maintained a 4.0 average - probably because it’s never happened. But now, almost 15 years after getting my diploma, I’m on the honor roll. It makes me wonder if I shouldn’t have chosen a different major way back then. Is it possible to earn a degree in triathlon?
I’m fully aware that these swimming grades are absolutely no reflection of my talent as a triathlete. In all likelihood, I’m getting credit and high marks just for showing up. But I think I’ll check my transcript more often in the future, just to feel a virtual pat on the back every now and then. One should never underestimate the value of positive reinforcement, no matter how meaningless or insignificant. Anything that helps the winter workouts click by is always a welcome sight.
On that note …. “Spring Semester” has a sweet ring to it, doesn’t it? It’s a nice reminder that there won’t be too many more weeks until the days are longer, the air is warmer, and my daughter and I are singing Jack Johnson tunes together under sunny summer skies.