Tuesday, July 07, 2020

“I see it says ‘Swim, Bike, Run’ on your kippah. Is that the order? I have always wondered?” Tom Friedman asked me as a I turned to leave after dropping off his Purim basket.

(It was really more of a bag than a basket.)

That’s not the point. Besides, “basket” sounds better.

(But the Ironman is “Swim, bike, run”?)

That is the order for all triathlons.

(Isn’t the Ironman a triathlon?)

You know...we have been down this road before?

(Yes, but I forget. Humor me.)

Sigh....A triathlon is a race with three events, swimming, biking and running.

(So, a biathlon is a race with swimming and biking? Biking and running?)

No, a biathlon is skiing and sharpshooting.


Don’t ask, it’s an Olympic thing.

(But the triathlon sequence has always been “Swim, bike, run”?)

No, the first triathlon was held in San Diego in 1974 and the triathlon then comprised a 10 km run, eight km cycle and 500 meter swim.

(After biking and running, a swim sounds like a good way to cool off.)

Yeah, if you were planning to just sit there.

(But you are not...)

You are not there to sit and cool down. In fact, jumping into cool water and swimming at race pace can cause some serious problems.

(Like waiting 30 minutes after eating?)

Exactly. Triathletes have to fuel while they race.

(And that food has to go somewhere?)

Correct. By that point of the race, you are going to need the bathroom.

(Wait, what do you do for a bathroom when you are competing in an Ironman?)

Simple, stop at a port-o-john. Not something you can do in a swim.

(Is the “30-minute-wait-after-eating-before-you-swim-rule” really a thing?)

There is no scientific evidence to suggest that there is any truth to that.

(So why did our mothers tell us to wait?)

The Boy Scout manual told them so.

(When was this manual written?)


(So if drowning isn’t an issue, why not end with the swim?)

I didn’t say drowning wasn’t an issue, I simply said eating wouldn’t cause you to drown.

Jumping into cool water after hours of exercise in the heat can cause all types of heart issues.

(What type of heart issues?)

Well, my Dad, the retired physician said that you could go into shock.

(How bad is that?)

Your blood pressure would drop and you could pass out.


That can cause you to drown.

Besides, we swim in neoprene wetsuits.

It takes less time to remove a wetsuit than to put it on. It takes a lot longer to put on a wet suit than a dry one.

(So, why were you wearing your triathlon kippah while you were dropping off your Purim basket of goodies at Tom Freedman’s house?)

I used the Purim delivery of mishloach manot, a basket of food and drink (in our case, a juice box, some candy and a few triangle cookies called hamantaschen) as a chance to do a run.

(So, you carried everyone’s Purim baskets in your hand?)

No, I loaded up my backpack and ran all over town making my deliveries.

(Why does the map show you running outside your neighborhood?)

My first stop was the Care One nursing home.

(Why there?)

That my friends...will have to wait until we meet again.

David Roher is a USAT certified marathon and triathlon coach. He is a multi-Ironman finisher and a veteran special education teacher. He can be reached at: [email protected]