Written by Stephanie Fitzgerald
This morning I went to a pool I hadn’t been to in years. I was meeting someone there for a morning workout.
Years ago you could count on me to be at the doors, before they opened – 5:20am – Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. We had our regular group of early risers. The lady who swims for 2 hours, all back stroke. Her husband who meets her every day, but not until after 6am. The older gentleman who makes his way to the “slow” lane and swim/walks. I’m not sure if he’s recovering from a stroke, or simply decided swimming was something his body could handle, but he’s there Every. Single. Day. And even if he’s the first one there, he holds the door open for all the ladies waiting. You can tell he’s of “that Generation”.
Then of course there are the Triathletes. The ones who show up with their fancy gear, their workouts written out, and swim caps of achievement. You sort of recognize them from here and there. It’s a small community after all. And at 5:30 in the morning, a simple nod and smile is really anyone has the time or energy for. You know these people to be your “TRIbe”.
As the weeks go by you learn their schedules, their routines, what lane they like. There are quick conversations at the wall – “Nice tan!” “We just got back from…”. In the summer you see them at races and say “Hello”, maybe more… You don’t really know anything about them, other than what they’re training for, what club they race with, and maybe that they’ve just bought a new bike/trainer/Garmin, you know… “the stuff”. Without realizing it you’ve made an unlikely friend. Or maybe you do have more in common than you thought?
After two years of swimming somewhere else, this morning I was back at my old pool, and wouldn’t you know it, the lady who swims for 2 hours was there. So was the older gentleman who held the door open for us. And so was my friend Maureen. Both of us were pretty surprised to see each other. I’ve seen her here and there, at races or volunteering, over the past two years, and she said she’s seen me as well. But we haven’t really chatted at those events. Maybe I wasn’t even sure she’d recognize me?! This morning we had a good catch up. She raced Chinook. She remembered me swimming, pregnant with my first baby. She’s moved jobs and swims closer to work most days. She didn’t do GWN this year, but it’s a great race! She wished me luck at the 70.3.
This morning I was reminded that we’re all a part of a community that fully supports us. We make friends or acquaintances along the way. Each of these interactions are valuable. There’s always something positive we can take away.
As I swam with someone embarking on her first triathlon I realized how fortunate we are that we can share this crazy passion with others (who are just as crazy as we are!) The more the merrier!