November 29, 2006

The Great Triathlete, Houdini

I've been reading a book about Houdini. It's called Houdini!!! I know, I thought it was a catchy title too.

Did you know that Houdini was an accomplished swimmer, bicyclist and runner? Houdini participated in all three sports to keep in shape throughout his life (though less so with the bicycling as he got wealthier and discovered more interesting things like flying planes and massaging his ego.) Over 80 years before the first triathlon ever took place, Houdini was clearly ahead of his time.

And he was no middle-of-the-packer, this Houdini character. He even won a medal or two in running races. Even more impressive was the fact that he could hold his breath while totally immersed underwater for over 3 minutes. As for me, I can barely hold my breath for three strokes in the pool, much less handcuffed, tied up and put on stage.

Houdini used to practice his water-submersion breath-holding schtick in the bathtub at his home. Each day he'd make the water colder and colder so his body would get used to all the temperatures. You see, sometimes he'd do his little escape artist tomfoolery in the icy cold rivers of America, and what better way to practice than in an icy bathtub. Rumor has it he once got his bathtub water down to a bone-chilling 35 degrees.

Imagine sitting in a tub full of 35 degree water, dipping your head under the surface and holding your breath for a few minutes. I get a headache just from eating TCBY.

You know what, I thought I had a point to make here.
Apparently I was wrong.