Blogs tagged with "rant"

I'm not sure what's going on lately, but either my disaster-magnet status has somehow injected its influence into lane swimming or I live in a very discourteous part of the world. I've had several angry exchanges with fellow swimmers over sharing pool lanes recently. When all lanes are taken, I usually ask someone if they wouldn't mind sharing - but this is only to be courteous and avoid someone getting hurt. I don't HAVE to ask.

Good pools usually don't give people the "no sharing" option. They make all lanes circle-swim and people are expected to choose lanes based on their speed. By "good pools," I mean pools where the lifeguards and most people know the drill (and will help new-comers), and swimmers are lane-sharing is expected. "Great" pools go the extra mile and mark the lanes with signs indicating circle swim direction and swimmer speed.

My local community pool is neither good nor great. Unless I swim at 5:30 in the morning with the "regulars," when asking to share a lane, I tend to get refused more often than not, and even the lifeguards are reluctant to help. And the excuses are hilarious. One guy said "you don't want to share with me because I'm not a good swimmer," to which I offered "no problem, I'll stay to one side" and he said "no, seriously, you DON'T want to share a lane with me."

(Um.. YES, I do. Why the hell would I ask you if I didn't? I don't have time to waste while you lolly-gag through your floating workout.)

One lady started to say it was ok to share, then she decided not to, and yelled at me: "I can't share because I'm not a good swimmer like you," to which I offered, again: "I will stay out of your way." Then she put up a fight: "No! I swim into the lane-line when I share. I'm not trying to make it difficult, but..."

(Um... yes, you ARE making it difficult. Lady, you don't have that option. EVERYONE wants to swim today.)

The next time.. two lanes, four people swimming, two in each lane. I stopped one of the better swimmers and asked: "can we do circle swims?" He said "NO! [seriously, he yelled at me] I CAN'T do that." I was dumbfounded, so I said "you can't?" and he said "NO I CAN'T. But I'll be done in 10 minutes." And then just turned, ignored me, and started swimming again.

(Um... I don't HAVE 10 minutes, I'm on a tight schedule, dude. Seriously, what makes people act this way?)

I posted the story on Facebook and one of my friends suggested next time I simply just show them how to circle swim.

(NOW WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT?? It's brilliant. Next time for sure.)

I was beginning to think it was me, but then I spent a week away from home and swam in a "good" pool (in Brookline, near Boston), and I found that circle-swimming didn't upset swimmers there. They just do it, no complaining.

So, chalk one up to the pool environment. Or maybe it's living in an affluent neighborhood in the midwest. Who really knows?

Just remember, everyone wants to swim and you can be nice about it or you can be a jerk. I say: choose to be empathetic - understand we're all in this together.

I'm not sure what's going on lately, but either my disaster-magnet status has somehow injected its influence into lane swimming or I live in a very discourteous part of the world. I've had several angry exchanges with fellow swimmers over sharing pool lanes recently.

yep, my finish photo, I'm way over on the right

I try not to use my blog as a place to rant about the stupid petty things or policies that bother me before, during and after my races. Instead, I try to focus on how I train and how I race and the things I have control over. But recently, a couple things really got under my skin, and I just feel like getting them out. And people reading: feel free to disagree with me on these matters because I actually do see both sides of the story, even when I'm angry.

The first of the two things was the prize money (or my lack thereof) at the Detroit Marathon. The cash awards were determined based on "clock time," not chip time. This normally wouldn't upset me if everyone in the race started at the same time. But in Detroit, that wasn't the case.

Upon registration, I filled out a form that requested my fastest marathon time in the last two years and my predicted finish time. I typed 3:09 and 3:10, respectively. I was being conservative: if I had a bad race, it would be 3:15 and if I had a great race, it might be closer to 3:00. Upon picking up my bib number, I noticed my start was in the second wave -- it was my fault for assuming wave meant "corral." I had never run a marathon with a wave start until Detroit. Like in triathlons, wave start means: "groups will start two minutes apart."

Ok, that's cool. They have their reasons. (And they're good reasons. The wave start is expected to alleviate congestion on the Detroit-Windsor Bridge.) And besides, they have electronic timing, right? You know, the thing that registers when you cross the starting line and when you cross the finish line. That thing that tells them exactly how long it took you to complete 26.2 miles.

What they don't tell you at registration, unless you read the awards page, is that cash awards (top three, top three masters, etc.) are based on "clock time" not "chip time." So, in effect, the wave start gives first wave runners a two minute head start on us "second wave"-ers. Had I known this before the race, I might have asked race officials to put me in the first wave (if it were even possible for them to make that change).

At least two runners were adversely affected by the wave start: the woman who finished the course in the third-fastest time and the woman who finished the course in the third fastest masters time (me) lost out on prize money because we started in the second wave -- those two minutes actually gave us fourth place "clock times" in our respective categories. Why even have electronic timing? Or better, how hard is it to subtract the wave start times? Oh well. I could have put that $200 to good use. But it doesn't change the fact that I had a good race.

Detroit Marathon awards rant over.

My new wetsuit, direct from Quintana Roo

The second rant also has to do with an award. You may remember my race report from the FIRMMan half-ironman in Narragansett, Rhode Island. The FIRMMan awards include a big table of grab-bag prizes donated by sponsors. As one of the overall winners, I had an early choice and went for one of the more expensive prizes -- a Quintana Roo wetsuit. While making my choice, I noticed the wetsuit gift certificate required that I pick up my "prize" at V3 Multisport in Arlington, Massachusetts. Residing in Cleveland, this would be next-to-impossible, so I put the award back down on the table, only to be told by one of the race directors that she would have them mail it to me (it was a thoughtful favor, since I was the overall women's winner).

She was not in a position to grant that favor, unfortunately. And although I did not witness the interchange that took place, I know that when she asked V3 Multisport to take care of it, they refused. After about three weeks of very little communication, I received an email from a Quintana Roo representative explaining what had happened. Then, she made me a very generous offer from Quintana Roo: because they were out of stock of the prescribed wetsuit (their low end model), they would upgrade me to the next model for 75% of the difference that it sold in retail. In effect, she offered me a $400 wetsuit for $130. This was a no brainer and thanks to Quintana Roo, I now have an awesome new wetsuit.

A week later, I got an email from V3 Multisport with the following text:

"Jeanne, I would like to accommodate your request to mail you the wetsuit that you won. Unfortunately, it is not our policy to send out the prizes. Each winner must come to our store to claim their prize. I understand that you live in Ohio but it still does not change our policy. Rules apply to everyone the same across the board. If I make an exception for you, shouldn't everyone else be afforded the same? The idea is to get people into the store to claim their prize and hopefully spend some additional money. What I can do is if you want to upgrade your wetsuit and apply our cost of the suit you won to the cost of the upgraded suit, I can do that. Let me know."

Now, as a "marketing" person, I totally understand this. I "get" the idea of having people come into the store and spend spend spend. And, I would have, as they have cool stuff -- I had already bought merchandise from them at the race expo. The point was that I would have chosen something completely different off that prize table had the offer not been made. AND, I'm not the one who asked for the favor, so why make me feel bad with your condescending email? AND why, then, offer to upgrade me? (in effect, saying you WILL change the rules if I spend more money)

What happened is this: I will now never shop at V3 Multisport and will say negative things about them any chance I get. And, had they made this generous offer in the first place, they wouldn't have lost the deal to Quintana Roo. I'll laugh about it every time I wear my new wetsuit.

V3 Multisport rant over.

Subscribe to

friends and sponsors