I swam late this afternoon, stopping at an LA Fitness between work and home. Even when I’m in the mood to swim (as I was today, really!) I tend to be the queen of stalling. First I put my swim cap on. Then I swing my arms around a few times, follow that with a few squats, follow that with a few more arm flailings. I push the button on my watch to clear the time from my last swim, look around, take a few deep breaths.
I look toward the end of the pool, mentally shake some sense into myself, windmill my arms a few more times before gingerly getting in and starting off. Today, though, just after asking the guy who was in my lane first if he’d mind sharing, the woman in the next lane stopped.
“Leslie!” she said, jostling me out of my pre-swim zone. It was my friend Jessica, whom I’d seen at the pool right before Christmas but hadn’t for months before that. We used to work together, and always had such good conversations, mostly about fitness.
She’s a triathlete, training for an IRONMAN competition (excuse me; I’m having heart palpitations at the mere thought) this spring. We said quick so-good-to-see-you hellos before I started my and she continued her swim. Afterward, we caught up in the locker room.
Turns out that even though she’d hadn’t been feeling well and thus hadn’t swum in two weeks, she nonetheless completed the swim that was on her training schedule (which didn’t surprise me in the slightest). It was her longest yet — TWO MILES. Trust me; that is amazingly far.
I, on the other hand, went — well, less than half of that distance. Oh, and did I mention she looked gorgeous, even after having worn goggles for who-knows-how long and no doubt been rather tuckered out? (I, on the other hand — well, didn’t.)
We walked to the parking lot together. Jessica told me that because she’d been sick, her weekly mileage isn’t what she wanted it to be. But, she said, she has three months; what can she do but just keep plugging away and see what happens?
We hugged and headed to our respective homes. I thought about her as I drove, thinking about what she said, how she must feel, and all the work that is going into reaching this goal she has set for herself.
I am proud to know — I was going to say people like her, but I really mean her. I am proud to know Jessica. For her persistence, her perseverance, and her determination; and for being able to call her my friend, The Grateful Runner says thank you.