Thursday, July 07, 2005

"Aren't you so strong, or is all the weasel in me?"


I can't really claim to know much about weasels but my good pal and training partner Nick has created a weasel persona for me so it no longer matters what an actual weasel is really like or whether it has the qualities that I've come to consider "weasely." In fact, I'm pretty sure that I've never even seen a live weasel. I think I just associated them with fairy tales and always thought they were mean little critters. Anyway...

It all started way back at the very first sessions of our masters swim team. Nick and I started out in the same lane - he was always faster than I was but he'd lead and I'd muddle along in third or fourth position so we eventually got to know eachother. Then he graduated from our lane and became what we like to call a "'Tweener" - a bit too quick for the current lane but completely red lining it in the next faster lane...in essence, between lanes... It's a really SUCKY thing to be a 'tweener for many reasons. Eventually, you adjust to the faster lane, which Nick has done, and you become a Fishy (the Fishies swim in the fastest lane...I'm sure coach would laugh at our categorizations...) So now Nick is a Fishy and I've almost earned my 'Tweener status...and I have routinely been leading my lane (yes, again today too!) This progression has occured over about 2 years...

So last winter I said to Nick, "Why is it that we started in the same lane and you've progressed so much faster than I have?"

His reply, much to my surprise, was, "Because you're not a weasel like me."

Nothing about form, technique, aerobic strength, weight training, etc....just that I wasn't a weasel. Huh? What the heck does that mean?

Well, it turns out a weasel, according to Nick, is someone who is competitive but in kind of a sneaky way...like, the people he's competing with don't really know he's competing with them, but slowly they catch on that he's tracking them or taunting them just ever so slightly, daring them to see his bid and raise him...so they start to speed up too and anti-up, giving it right back...so that in turn causes The Weasel to work even harder at whatever he was trying to win at in the first place...and as you can imagine, this has had quite a positive effect on Nick's swim times...and is thus the reason he has improved faster than I have...and the reason he has legitimately (and affectionately) earned the name "Weasel Boy."

But the question remains: Should I try and gain a bit of a weasely edge, especially if it's going to make me faster?

Now I've always played competitive sports but I don't think I've ever thought of myself as a competitor. Triathlon is the same way. Up until the weasel discussion, I was pretty much happy with my progress and was entering races to have an event to work towards, a goal to complete. But I DO want to be more competitive...is it possible that there is an inner weasel that I have yet to discover? Worth finding out, I suppose...

So I've watched Weasel Boy for several months now and I've thought long and hard about my Junior Weasel status, and what I think is that I can definitely nurture it a bit...not in a negative way, just in a sort of grow-the-ego kind of way. I think it's doable from more of the leadership kind of standpoint I was talking about the other day. I want to have more confidence in myself and to know that I can compete and I can excel and it doesn't have to be enough that I just finish the race...I think some of my expectations for myself have been limiting me. The sky is the limit...so why have I only been aiming for the horizon?

I will embrace the weasel. Look out all you little mice!! (oh wait, do weasels eat up mice?) ;)

4 Comments:

Blogger Nick said...

Ah, the weasel, that proud and noble beast. Revered and admired the world over for its grace, power and beauty. Hmmm...

Anyway, on reflection, and with reference to your wonderful post, I think that weaselitude isn't always the best thing. The only reason I realised I really WAS a weasel was because our great swim coach pointed out that I might be faster if I stopped looking from side to side all the time!

"I wish I could be openly competitive, but I'm not good enough to really declare it" - What kind of phiolosophy is that for a person?!? You're much better off the way you are, trust me!

The Weasel

3:24 PM GMT-5

 
Blogger Spence said...

OK Weasel Boy, point taken. But I still think there is something to the concept of growing one's ego in a positive way. Additional confidence is always a plus in the mental training for triathlon, and in life in general...and you are DEFINITELY good enough to really declare it...believe me. Thanks for weighing in... ;)

7:25 AM GMT-5

 
Blogger Flatman said...

What a great and funny post! You definitely have something there. Competitiveness can be an awesome motivator at times. Just read about the hundreds of athletes that finish races by concentration and picking off the runner or biker directly in front of them, only to move on to the next target. It takes your mind off of the big picture, which at times, can be a tad daunting!

8:47 AM GMT-5

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I finally got here (from your comment on my "Triteacher Unplugged" post). Catch the weaselitude!

8:56 PM GMT-5

 

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