Friday night was the swim party.
After a long drive of convincing husband he would not be left in the garage in the car again, we arrive at a party in full swing. People I do not recognize if not under the cap with goggles perched on their head. People I know better by kick style, flip turn, and other things you get good view of underwater.
Immediately we find our newest swimming friend, we will call him D.
It was months ago that I met D in the pool. He was not on swim team at the time and Chris and I were in the middle of many 4200 yard sets in preparation for ironman. Things like 4 x 400 with paddles or 3 x 1000 sighting every 4th length or breath control sets with the pull buoy no paddles until my arms nearly fell off. Why anyone would do these workouts was beyond me. Why anyone would watch someone do these workouts was yet another 4200 yards beyond me.
But that is just what D would do. He would stand at the wall in another lane and just watch. It took me a few encounters before I confirmed he was not creepy man standing at wall looking for young fit couple willing to swing. No, he just wanted to learn.
So much that he joined swim team. And there he stood at the party by the bar looking at Chris and me. Although this time there were no 4200 yard sets to get through and there wasn’t a pull buoy in sight. Instead, D smiles and pulls out a large bottle of tequila and looks at me.“Have you tried Mexican tequila?”
D is from Mexico and I am starting to think they say hello in a much different way. And for the record, no, no I haven’t tried Mexican tequila. And I’m sort of thinking I should not based on that sinister smile spreading across your face in both English and Spanish right now.
Plus, after last year I’ve learned one should be a little leary about trying new beverages at a swim team party. Last year someone suggested I try the jello shots. And on Wednesday night when someone said “so and so is bringing the jello shots” I forewarned DO NOT BE TRICKED INTO TRYING THE JELLO SHOTS. Do not. Persuasive people they are with stomachs so strong I am convinced they can mix their drinks with chlorine and they could still swim 500’s in 5:10. Which is why people like me nowhere near 5:10 should not be trying their jello shots or anything else.
Rightfully so, I was a little tentative about tequila. I had visions of trying it tonight and becoming one of those people that hears the word tequila at a later time which immediately prompts a run and hide under a table before throwing up in one’s own mouth. That’s just the kind of reputation the drink has.
But there are firsts for everything. And tonight would be a night of firsts. Take for example earlier in the night when I did 200 fly – for the first time. How often at age 32 can you say I did something for the first time? Well, I guess tonight I would be saying it twice. First to 200 fly and then to what was probably 200 proof tequila. Let's give it a try.
My husband seems amazed. Maybe even pleased. Gone is the look of possible garage abandonment and suddenly he too has a glass in his hand. D pours us a welcome to tequila glass. And it was quite a hello. I mean, the glass was nearly full. Not a small glass. I give it my best 200 fly try, take a sip and almost barf it out right there. I have tasted gas station coffee better than this. And that’s bad.
But then D convinces me to take it slow. I don’t do much slow so this is also a first. Take it slow. As in Zone 1, warming up slow. Oh talk like that and I can do that. We talk more about swimming, and training, and jobs, and life when all of a sudden D must have realized I was drinking my tequila really, really, really slow.
“Add some 7-Up and a lime,” he suggests. I follow his suggestion and then give it a try.
Now approaching Zone 2. Ramped up the effort and all of a sudden tequila is good. Then another friend joins our circle. She is another new swimmer and suddenly D is pouring her a glass of tequila. She is from Poland and tells us stories of drinking strong vodka so she takes to tequila like a pro. All of a sudden me the pro is the least talented – and the slowest - here.
This is often the case when the swimming is involved.
A few minutes later we are all enjoying our drinks. Tequila is being our very good friend and we are thanking D for bringing tequila here. This is the first time we are all four together, talking, enjoying swim talk and drinks. And now we are all toasting – four glasses of four swimmers standing in the middle of a party toasting to….
A pause for a moment, and then I shout “200 FLY!” Yes, yes! That is it! Earlier in the night we had all done 200 fly for the first time so we clink glasses and D says salud to which we all join in SALUD! and we toast to 200 fly. Salud, good swimming friends, good cheer, it’s all good but then...
Uh oh. Too much tequila. One glass which I realize has been one glass too much for my first time.
I take that as my cue to slow the pace down. Back off. Bring it down from LT to Zones 1 – 2 and just swim this out for awhile. And before I completely bonk, fill up with some food. For you are always safe by the food. Especially when the food table contains my all time favorite food --- buckeyes.
I am sorry if you went to the party, saw a buckeye and thought you might want to try one later. Because by later they were all gone. Actually they were all gone by right away. I blame it on tequila or you could just as well just blame it on me. Buckeyes are one of my three food items for which I shamelessly and proudly have no self-control (others being ice cream and frosting).
And in case you are wondering buckeyes are chocolate-covered peanut butter balls.
I had about 10.
And then when they were gone I took the suggestion of someone else to try one of the chocolate Oreo death balls. Delightful name. I must try. Imagine this: Oreo cookie crushed, mixed with cream and covered in white chocolate. Hence the name Chocolate Oreo Death Balls. I had one, then two, then three. Ok maybe four but by then I thought I might be making a scene so I sat down. Then I sat and told everyone else to try the death balls. Then I harassed those that took two. I told them it was 50 fly for every death ball they took. That made them all go away. Which worked out for me because I had more death balls.
When I finally went to bed, I woke up at 3:45 am with nightmares. So bad I had to turn on the light. Visions of multiple tornadoes swirling in the sky, someone chasing me with knives, cars in the snow, people cursing very loudly, running to hide from people in a large house with white leather couches. All symbols pointing to the sign that one small person mixed too many chocolately peanut butter death balls with too much tequila in too short a time.
Finally I fall back asleep and make a promise to myself that there are first times and last times for good times. For me, tequila – the first and last time. Indulging on chocolate peanut butter balls? So good but probably the last time this year. Toasting to 200 fly? Definitely not the last time. Not the last time at all. Because there will be more good times with 200 fly. Most people would say more good times with tequila. But we triathletes toast times of a different type - 100's on the 1:15, 500's in 5:40, 200 fly in 2:10. There are good times and then there are good times. And I'm toasting to more of the latter for sure.