You know the fable about the tortoise and the hare? I’ve always secretly rooted for the hare. I know the turtle is wiser, more patient and certainly strategic, but the hare just seems like she has more fun. That bushy tail? The sassy attitude, the outward confidence, the witty banter? And the speed! Don’t even get me started on that…

But here’s the thing: at the age of forty-two, I’m beginning to change my tune a bit. I’m thinking the tortoise might have an interesting idea. I’m not thick – I get that that’s the moral of the story – it’s just that I never thought it would be remotely appealing to me. 

Training for triathlons, I’ve often joked that my mind is writing checks my body can’t cash. In my mind, I’m that rabbit, moving from here to there and back again with grace and ease. But if you were to replay the video tape of the rabbit a bit, she looks a little tired, bordering on frantic. Certainly anaerobic.  And who am I kidding, it’s not just about triathlons, it’s kind of a way of life. A hare’s way.

Most recently I’ve been working with a Master’s swim coach who has me training using my heart rate as a guide. Um yeah. My hare’s heart rate. Swim. Count your heart beats for six seconds. Swim slower. Count. Swim s.l.o.w.e.r. Seriously? Frustrated I asked, “so slower is better?” “No”, she responds (10 bucks she’s in the tortoise camp), “efficient is better.” Oh.

That did it for me. I’m giving it a try. Being a tortoise, that is. I’m all about efficiency these days, so maybe it’s time. I going to lengthen my strokes, keep it steady and smile my slow turtle smile. My only ask is that I keep my bushy tail. 

I’ll let you know how it goes.