"You know, I might go in the big pool this morning," Sue said to me.
"Um yes," I replied. "You are. No question."
Sue is an accomplished runner and wants to do her first sprint triathlon this summer. While my focus has been on my marathon training, swimming and biking continue to be part of my repertoire. (After all, I do have a half Ironman to train for once the 26.2 run is licked.) For my easy swim this week, Sue took me to her normal pool.
Turns out, Sue normally swims in the "warm-up" pool -- a small, shallow short-distance pool meant to give swimmers a place to warmup and cool down after races.
The big pool is currently set up for long course, meaning instead of each length being 25 yards each length is 50 meters.
I had never done a workout in a long course pool. And, to be honest, it was a bit intimidating.
But in I went.
And I made Sue come with me.
She did just fine alternating between swimming and aqua jogging as she continues to recover from a spring of injury.
But I made her get out of comfort zone.
Granted, she would have done that all by herself but I felt like I had a little hand in it.
Kind of like when she would politely ask me to run with her on cold, early, dark and frosty winter mornings. Or when she would devise a route that would include hills that, had I known beforehand were on the course, I would have attempted to grow roots so as to not have to continue with the run.
She helped get me out of my comfort zone.
Which is a big reason why I am actually enjoying the start of my marathon taper.
The two easy runs I had this week felt great. Really great. Better than I've felt running in a very long time. On the last run, Sue and Herm and I ran the final 4.5 miles of the marathon course. I wanted a chance to see some of the course. I wanted a chance to run it while I was fresh and feeling good. I wanted to create a positive memory, a visual of approaching that finish line, so when I hit those final miles, I have a flash back that will make me smile and relax.
That ease and confidence may have arrived this week, but both have been developing for months. They were born on those early morning winter runs when the sweat in my hair would freeze into icicles. On those long, boring treadmill runs. On those long runs where I felt good and the ones where I broke down. On the hills of Chestnut Ridge and even in my beloved post-run pancakes.
The ease and confidence could arrive because I went out of my comfort zone.
Delayed gratification is a popular economic topic these days as people try to spend less and pay down debt. In some ways, it's not about deprivation but about prioritizing goals and dreams and wants and needs. And while we love to judge that list of others, what's important to me may not be important to you. And there's nothing wrong with that.
Prioritizing goals includes that delayed gratification. That degree or diploma doesn't come immediately -- it takes work and a few years to get it. That down payment on the house isn't going to come in one paycheck.
The marathon is not going to run itself in a few days.
The 26.2 miles is a one-day event that has been months in the making.
Exercise and health and competition and running were important enough to me to make room in my life to practice them.
The gratification, the payoff, comes in nine days when I cross the line and can call myself a marathoner.