First I crash. Now my coach abandons me. I am bracing for the earthquake and asteroid because this is, like, clearly the triathlete version of Armageddon.
You read that right: my beloved Coach Tim—he who has successfully coached my sorry ass through one half-Ironman, two World Major marathons, and too many sprint triathlons and duathlons to keep track of—has declared his intention to leave Marlborough, MA.
I say “declared his intention” since I’m an optimist at heart and still hope he’ll come to his senses and stay. Sure, he has already sold his house. And resigned as Fitness Director at Wayside. And organized a triathlon yard sale for Saturday. And bought a new house in Clermont, Florida. But there’s still a chance, don’t you think? Rewind, rewind, rewind! Stay!
I get why he’d be tempted by Clermont—after all, it is home to an unusually high concentration of the world-class triathletes he specializes in training. It has some rather impressive facilities, too:
And oh yeah, cycling in March Clermont-style looks like this…
while cycling in March in Marlborough requires a bit more clothing…
So I grok it, on a theoretical level. That said, there are equally compelling reasons why he should hunker down here with his clutch of devoted age groupers. I’ve tried to communicate these reasons but my message has failed to resonate. I even attempted spousal intervention by appealing the decision to Lesley. No dice—the whole Crowley crew seems hell-bent on heading south.
Persistent chick that I am, I thought I’d give this one more try. Here goes:
RE: Top Three Reasons Why You Should Stay
Reason # 3: The Elites just don’t need you quite as much as we do. Being “elite” and all, they already know their stuff. I’d wager that not a single one of them has scribbled on his white board, for ease of reference, one lap = 800 200 400! Chances are you’ve never assessed any of their strokes to be “dainty… but totally ineffective”. Since they’ve only three percent body fat, they don’t need your help to rid themselves of “the jiggly doughy bits” that ruin otherwise perfectly good finish-line photos. And I bet you’ve never had to tell a single one of them that it’s OK to pee in the wetsuit pre-race. In short, they’ve got this whole tri thang down. We don’t.
Reason # 2: The Elites don’t appreciate you like we do. In the event it is not imminently clear: we think you are great. Some of us would never actually say that, but that’s just because some of us are boys and are therefore genetically incapable of such utterances. Since male-dom is not one of my “limiters”, I have appointed myself Head Utter-er and speak for the whole group when I say we think you are great not because your world-class guidance allows us frequent podium appearances (though we like that a lot); it’s because of your infectious passion for what you do. Remember when you told us that you love what you do so much that every morning is like Christmas morning for you? Well, we remember it and count ourselves lucky to train under your tutelage.
OK, maybe The Elites appreciate that passion too. But we adore you better because everyone knows people only give secret nicknames to people they adore, and we have not one but two secret nicknames for you. (I bet The Elites just call you “Coach”. How uninspired.) At the risk of losing my training partners, I unilaterally decided that it’s time we ‘fess up; here goes:
– Secret Nickname #1: “The Dragon”. You became The Dragon soon after you got Dragon Naturally Speaking voice recognition software and started sending us these partially intelligible missives. My favorite is a line from a swim analysis; it reads: “you’re Palm desert he faced to the top of the service”. I am still clueless as to what that might have meant but assume it is something along the lines of “your stroke is dainty but ineffective”.
– Secret Nickname #2: “Crazy Squirrel”. You have been “Crazy Squirrel” since I found this card back in the spring and had to buy it for you though I didn’t know what what occasion I might have to give it to you; I never thought it would become your going away card, but that is what it is becoming:
There are even rules regarding which nickname is used in various circumstances; “Squirrel” is used only in cycling contexts, while “Dragon” has a wider application. Examples: “How many 100s are we supposed to do?! On what send off?!? The Dragon must have mistakenly given us Jarrod’s workout!” or “Did you check if the Crazy Squirrel can ride with us today?” See? That’s some serious adoration.
Reason # 1: Florida is home to 1.3 million wild alligators. Daughter #1 says that 58 percent of statistics are made up; this one isn’t–I found it here. Would I stoop to using fear to keep you here? Oh, you betcha. Did you know Florida’s gators can grow to more than 14 feet long and can weigh more than 1,000 pounds? Makes Marlborough’s gator-free Fort Meadow sound like a mighty fine swimming hole, that’s what I’m thinkin’.
That’s all I’ve got. Go to Clermont if you must; I’ll handle it the same way I did the last 10K of the 2011 Boston Marathon, when I could no longer fool myself with my “STRONG AND READY” mantra and had to resort to “LEFT FOOT, RIGHT FOOT”. All joking aside, I know the elites need you and appreciate you and those alligators are probably no worse than our sharks. To steal one of your signature phrases, you made a “good call” re: Clermont. While I’m stealing phrases, I’ll also pilfer one of George’s; instead of saying goodbye he typically says “bye for now”, which I think is absolutely fantastic and in this case might help me HTFU.
Bye for now, Crazy-Squirrel-Dragon. I will adjust to being coached via Skype (though being a loyal Cisco chick I will try to switch you to Webex.) Lesley, I’m putting you in charge of making sure he makes good on his promise to hold winter training camps for the merry band of triathletes that will heretofore be known as TC2-North. Skerrit and I will see you guys then.