A Special Edition: I Can Do That

Have you ever seen something on television then said to yourself, “I can do that.”

Watching the national news one evening, Brian Williams aired a piece on a NASA memo in which a NASA staffer wrote the entire memo around a single sentence down the left margin summarizing the memo. The first sample of acrostic poetry I’d ever seen.

I said to my better half, “I can do that.”

He laughed. “Can’t wait to see it.”

It arrived in a couple of acrostic blog posts over at the BoFN, here and here.

It’s that kind of attitude that gets me into trouble.

In 1983, I watched the coverage of the Hawaii Ironman competition. I don’t remember the names of the competitors.

One woman lead the race. Near the finish she collapsed. Collapsed but determined, she crawled over the finish line. If she hadn’t collapsed she would have won.

Why would anyone torture themselves to that extreme?

The image lingered in my mind.

Seventeen years later sprint triathlons gained traction.

In Barnes and Noble on the top shelf of a book case buried in the center of the store, a white paperback glowed amongst the books with dark spines, ”Triathloning For Ordinary Mortals,” by Steven Jonas.

The image of the woman crawling across the finish line re-emerged.

I’m not a swimmer, but I swim. I’m not a bicyclist, but I cycle. I’m not a runner, but I run. I pulled the book from the shelf.

Yes, the influence of a book.

I said those four words, “I can do that.”

Wearing nothing more than a Speedo swim suit and cap, and walking into fifty-six-degree water, the color draining from my face, lips. My heart felt like a high velocity punching bag about to burst against my ribs.

Here I find myself in a fifty-six-degree open water swim. Why would anyone do that?

Here I find myself in a fifty-six-degree open water swim. Why would anyone do that?

The gun went off.

I gasped for air. My heart beat my lungs so hard I couldn’t force air into them.

I’m going to drown.

Just swim—you can do this.

The full orchestral version of the Rocky theme song burst into my brain—calming me. Redirecting the adrenaline.


A half mile later, I climbed out of the water.

Why would anyone be crazy enough to do this more than once? Because they bought a wet suit. And it cost mucho deneros.

Why would anyone be crazy enough to do this more than once? Because they bought a wet suit. And it cost mucho denero. And I hate wasting money. 😉

A decade after my first triathlon, I convinced some friends to join me.

Three women on a mission. Their faces are hidden to protect their identities. And because I didn't warn them I was posting this photo.

Three women on a mission. Our first Olympic distance. Their faces are hidden to protect their identities. And because I didn’t give them enough warning I was posting this photo.

It’s a new year. What goal have you set for yourself? Are you on your way?

You’ll never know until you “Tri”.

 *  *  *

In keeping with Special Edition tradition, how about some music? Like the I’m-in-over-my-head-and-don’t-want-to-drown, but-will-keep-going-anyway inspirational music from The Rocky Theme Song.

P.S. Indoor triathlons are much warmer. 😀


About Fannie Cranium

Writing since she could first hold a pen, Tracy Perkins formed her alter ego, "Fannie Cranium" at the suggestion of her husband. Tracy understands smiling makes people wonder what she’s been up to.
This entry was posted in Humor and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to A Special Edition: I Can Do That

  1. aplscruf says:

    Hmmm, those gals look awfully familiar! Love it, T!


  2. kerbey says:

    You have given me a huge inferiority complex now, because you have done this amazingly cold thing. “Gonna Fly Now” will never lose its power to motivate. I think I lack the ambition gene. I’m good to drive to the chiropractor weekly, and that’s a two minute drive. If only hundreds of school children would yell, “Kerbey, Kerbey, Kerbey!” when I opened the front door, I might be more inclined to jog with them. You are an inspiration!


    • Kerbey, I’m sure in Texas, during non-drought seasons, the water is considerably warmer. It’s probably a good thing we don’t live next door to each other. I’d be talking you into doing all sorts of craziness. It’s what I do. 😉

      Now we’ll just have to work on those crowds cheering you on. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • kerbey says:

        The thing is, we have a huge pool here called Barton Springs, known for its crazy cold waters, and that is 68! You got in much colder than that! What about hypothermia? Now you know how Rose felt in “Titanic,” clinging to that door.


      • I would love to swim in 68 degree water! Wow.

        I know mild hypothermia on a first name basis. I usually don’t get warmed up until the last leg of the race. Fortunately, I’m much more insulated than many of my fellow racers and don’t suffer as much as they do getting out of the water.

        Liked by 1 person

      • kerbey says:

        Ha! That’s a plus.


  3. Liz says:

    you are amazing! I work out regularly, but would never even consider a feat like that. And now you’re hooked, huh? I hear those races can be an addiction 😉 Bonus points for Rocky.


    • LOL. Here’s the thing about triathlons, they sound intimidating when you first think about them. Once you realize it’s a bunch of baby steps to complete one. You’re on your way. The power of a book to change one’s mind.

      They are expensive, but the camaraderie and encouragement you receive from the other racers is comparable to the high you get crossing the finish line.


  4. markbialczak says:

    Amazing! Tri and succeed, my friend.

    I would sink like a Rocky to the bottom of the cold, harsh waters, a funeral dirge ringing in my ears.


    • Mark, I love your “punniness”. We’ll Tri to avoid any sinking in cold water.

      I hope we don’t have to listen to any funeral dirges any time soon!

      Although if poetry is more to your liking, have you ever read, “The Cremation of Sam McGee”? Now there’s a journey and a funeral worth attending. 😉


  5. This sounds like my morning! Loved it!


  6. Chelly Wood says:

    In your post, you asked about resolutions. I turned my New Year’s resolution into a background screen on my computer. It looks like a screenful of Sticky Notes, but each note says a goal for a specific day, like Monday: exercise 15 minutes and edit/critique for a friend; Tuesday: exercise 15 minutes and work on my blog posts, etc… So far so good, but it’s only February!


  7. Pingback: A Special Edition: I Can’t Do That | Fannie Cranium's

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