Additionally, before swimming, I made sure to check with the coach on where to swim, and introduced myself to my fellow lane mates (there were 10-12 of us sharing a lane). When no one volunteered to lead, I said that I would. So I did - for the first 4000. At that point, I felt great, was making all the send off times and looking forward to the 400s and final 800. And then someone else decided that he should lead instead...
The final 800 was broken down into two segemtns: the first 400 at a cruise pace, and the last 400 at 1:xx average 100 pace. It was fast, but I had was already coming in ahead of the send off times - so I figured no biggie. The four remaining gentlemen in the lane (remember - LONG set) all strapped on paddles and pull buoys in order to make the split. As I was having no problem, I didn't bother...
Guy # 1 took off. Guy # 2 took off... then me.
First 400 - not a problem. The pace was slow, but I wasn't going to tap on anyone's toes during the slow set.
Second 400 - the pace increases, but I can still do more, still go faster. After the first 100, I notice that we're under our assigned split and I figure that the two guys ahead of me are toast. I'm literally, right on Guy # 2's feet. After a quick debate, I decide to tap his toes - in swimming etiquette, the polite way of letting the person ahead of you that you're ready to pass. No response... I tap again... and again we flip turn and he pushes off.... hhhmmmmmm.
So I decide to do something that I've seen done at Carlsbad: I let guy #1 flip turn, and I make a quick turn to get on his feet, while guy #2 flips off the wall.
Apparently Guy #2 didn't like this... And this is where the drama began.
So, without further ado, I give you: Open Letter to the Jerk in my Lane.
Dear Mr. BIG Ego:
I know that you're getting up there in years, but for late 40s, early 50s, I think you're a decent swimmer. You managed to hang on my feet for the first 4000 yards of our set. And when you decided to take the lead for the final bit, I had no problem with it. Being the new gal, I didn't want to step on any toes.
But then - for the final 400 of our 800 - you faded. Maybe it was the paddles that you had been wearing for the past 2000+ yards, perhaps it was the slightly too-tight speedo. I'm not really sure. All I know, is that suddenly I was looking at your feet. They were ugly. And I really really don't like feet.
So I politely tapped on your toes - any swimmer worth his salt or who is interested in swim etiquette would realize that I wanted to pass you. You were fading fast, and I didn't want to wast the final 250 of my swim at a cruise pace - when I could have been pushing myself a lot harder.
But you chose to ignore my taps. For 25, then 50, then 75 yards. Finally - and believe you me, I thought a lot about this - I made a quick u-turn just as you were hitting the wall in order to move up. Yes, I realize that we had only 150 left, but there was still time for me to salvage the set and get my heart rate above 80. I quickly caught the first guy in our lane and was about to tap HIS toes - because he was having a hard time as well, when I felt your paddles crash into the back of my legs.
I'm not a violent person by nature. Trust me. I look away in movies where there's a lot of violence. And really, I don't expect to encounter much anger (or violence) in my every day life. But when you violently bashed your paddles into my feet for 25 and then 50 yards without letting up, I have to admit, that I was 1)scared and 2) shocked.
I didn't realize - Mr. BIG Ego - that you would be so upset if someone - lest of all a girl - passed you when you were so obviously slowing down. Do you enjoy hitting people with your over sized paddles? Does it make you feel better about yourself? Is it really necessary?
I did what any normal person would do at the wall. I waited briefly for you to flip, let you get ahead, and then cruised the final 100 of our workout.
I was unprepared for what happened next. I knew there would be a confrontation at the wall, but your voice, and the tone at which you yelled was downright frightening. I'm not one to burst into tears in public - and I take great pride in the fact that I can hold just about anything in while in the company of others. But you - Mr. BIG Ego - took me by surprise. I don't really remember much about what you yelled - something about not passing? I'm not really sure.
But it was bad. The other two guys made jokes and tried to placate you. Obviously they have to deal with you on a daily basis.
Later, after you had left, one of the guys who had witnessed everything mentioned that you have a hard time being passed by other people, have a bit of an ego, and are getting slower but don't want to admit it. Well knock me over with a feather!
Here's the thing, Mr. BIG Ego. Though you scared the living daylight out of me with your aggression, yelling, and hateful voice, I feel sorry for you.
I repeat: I feel sorry for you.
I can imagine that life must be difficult. You're probably very insecure, and if anything doesn't go your way - well, you just don't deal with it very well. And now that you're getting older AND you've got a bad attitude, your swimming is probably starting to suffer. The big paddles aren't helping either.
So even though you deliberately hit me and then yelled at me, I forgive you. I can move on, and I realize that this was a one-time deal. Because next time if I choose to swim with your program, I'm going to the fast lane - because I know I'm good enough. But you - you'll have to live with yourself, your actions, your ego for the rest of your life.
And that's just sad.
I wish you all the luck in the world - the rest of your life will be tough if you don't change and face the facts as they are (even though you made me cry).