How do get slower by going faster? There’s a riddle for you.
If you’re a physicist then you would probably talk about how time slows down the faster you go and you’d try and convince me that Interstellar is a great film and not a deeply silly film about a mumbling Matthew McConaughey knocking over a bookcase for three hours. If he can push books then why doesn’t he push a keypad and type out his message?! It should have been called InterTheBin.
If you’re a novelist you might say how time slows down when you’re about to get shot. That life flashes before you’re eyes and you might have some meaningful flashback or revelation. Which isn’t true. The closest I’ve got to being shot is standing on a football pitch as a mishit ball shoots straight to my groin. The only thought that went through my head was “don’t scream like a girl when it hits me!”. It did and I did. I think I still speak with a falsetto.
But in triathlon going slower by going faster describes what happens when you’re moved up a coaching group. On a Wednesday morning I’ve been quite happily swimming in the masters lane – a lane for people who swim 1 min 53 seconds per 100m or slower. There’s also a performance lane for those who swim 1 min 42 or faster.
I swim around 1 min 50 seconds which means I swim at the front of the masters but I’m not fast enough for the performance. I’m like Matthew McConaughey’s accent – neither fast nor slow but some drawl in between.
Today I was ‘promoted’ to the Performance lane permanently. I now swim at the back of a bunch of swimmers who all swim faster than me.
I also need to swim further. As they swim faster they cover more distance in the same time as the masters lane so will swim, for example, 150m instead of 100m.
“You won’t go faster unless you swim with people who are faster than you!”
Which was nice of the coach to say but I’d never asked to go faster or further as, again like Matthew McConaughey, I’m quite happy with my limited range.
Instead I spent this morning slipping further and further behind people who could swim much faster than me and while I was going faster it sure felt like I was going an awful lot slower.