Sometimes, the little things are what make the biggest difference in my Ironman training. I dragged myself into this morning's 6 a.m. swim when I really could have used the extra sleep. The morning was gray, the sheets were cool, the temperature at home was just right. Didn't want to leave, plain and simple. Especially knowing that after the swim, I had an hour-plus bike ride to look forward to on my trainer. Two hours-plus of training before what would become a 12-hour workday.
But when I got to the pool, ready to jump in my usual lane away from the fastest swimmers, I was in for a pleasant surprise.
Megan let me swim with both Ann and Mike. I was so surprised I asked Megan if she was sure. Both Mike and Ann are usually in the top of their age group in every race they enter. Ann just won her age group at a race this past weekend, in fact. I was almost as worried about slowing them down as I was excited to share their lane. Maybe I'd get faster by osmosis!
As dorky as it sounds, today felt like I was getting a swim promotion. And dammit, I earned it! My entire outlook instantly changed. Hours and hours in the pool. Frustration after frustration. Setback after setback. Ounce by ounce of progress. Even if I get "demoted" for Thursday's swim, it's almost like I was called up to the Major Leagues today for my cup of coffee at The Show. I can live with that! Because for one day, my coach saw enough improvement in my technique that I was good enough to join the heralded "others" for an entire workout.
And I held my own. I didn't fall behind Ann or Mike. I kept up fine, even if I'm really sore from 10x100s split between 100s with our head remaining above water followed by T-pace 100s. Of course, we swam many more laps than that. While my body aches, it's the good kind of pain.
The pain of progress.
218 days and counting.