Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spouse Coaching, The Return of

So, people ask – with some trepidation – how’s the swimming been going, Mrs. Coach?

Well, I reply, not half badly, thank you for asking. Mr. Coach and I have settled into a viable situation where he writes workouts for me and occasionally wanders through the pool area when I’m swimming to make sure I’m not violating any fundamental rules of the sport.

The workouts he writes keep me moving in a forward direction with my acquisition of both fitness and swimming competency. And Mr. Coach and I have agreed after intense negotiations (including but not limited to the continued availability of my sausage calzones) that what I need most for now is to "refine my feel for the water" and that’s just going to take a couple hundred thousand flip-turns. That’s because in many ways, I’m still the equivalent of an 8-year-old in the water but, as I like to remind Mr. Coach, that’s an 8-year-old with a full range of cooking skills.

So, as I was saying, most of the workouts that Mr. Coach writes for me are productive. Many of them involve coaxing me into doing more backstroke for more laps because, as we have discovered, I’m not bad at this stroke (Mr. Coach says I have "good natural body position in the water," but I know that’s just coach-speak for "doesn’t totally suck").

However, there occasionally pops up a workout which is not to my liking (and mind you, I am a woman whose motto during my track career was: "Go Anaerobic, Early and Often," so it’s not like I’m a wuss). These workouts fall into two categories. I call one of them the "Honey, Do We Need to Talk?" workout. These usually involve creatively varied sets with diminishing amounts of rest. Crossing the anaerobic threshold is fine. Anything where the line on the bottom of the pool starts talking to me is not.

(Although, to be fair, the only time that’s happened was during a race when I didn’t realize that Mr. Coach’s parting words "...and don’t breathe," were more of a suggestion than a mandate.)

The other type of objectionable workout is the one that ends with me getting a cramp in the arch of either foot. Toe cramps, I can handle. Arch cramps, no dice. So when that happens, Mr. Coach knows he’s got some serious choices ahead of him that night. Thin crust or original. Pepperoni or extra cheese. I call this category the "Get Your Own Damn Dinner" workout.

Which reminds me. Eating. The gargantuan appetite that goes with doing Mr. Coach’s workouts does not, in and of itself, bother me. I enjoy eating. I drink whole milk with impunity. My idea of heaven is a big bowl of Cheese Jax, a glass of pinot grigio and a new episode of "Top Chef." (Hootie!) But the greedy leap that my appetite took after I began swimming Mr. Coach’s workouts took even me by surprise.

"Why am I eating so much more now than when I ran?" I asked Mr. Coach one day.

"Well," he replied, "you burn more calories swimming because you’re biomechanically inefficient in the water."

Guess who made dinner that night.

(and here's the first blog about Spouse Coaching:


  1. dang it, now im craving cheese jax. thank you SO very much.

  2. Ha, ha ha ha...Jane - that's a good one. I love the "go anaerobic" motto. It certainly runs right up my alley. (And the 8yo w/full range of cooking skills...priceless!)

    Oops. Time to go fold the (finally) clean running gear. Talk to you soon.

  3. What's the problem with the line talking to you? If you talk back, there is a problem with getting water in your mouth. I can understand that...but I see no problem with the line talking to you. I have good relationships with the line. When not in the pool, I hang out at hospitals and junior high schools...the line has family there too. Nice.


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