Joel

One of my goals for 2013 is to push myself through my (situational) fear of strangers.

Today I introduced myself to Joel. Joel is a regular at the gym.

I see Joel push himself every day — on the workout floor and in the pool. And I respect that. And he always seems to be pretty happy.

When I was using the spa earlier this year, we’d often cross paths and nod at each other.

So I introduce myself and we talk for a bit…

ME: Yeah, I was training for a marathon — my first — earlier this year, but I suffered a foot injury early on. I bought those 5 toed shoes and discovered I have an extra bone in my left foot — which got aggravated. So I was using the spa a lot.

“I gotta use the spa before the pool, otherwise I have a hard time. A marathon, eh? That’s awesome. I’ve always wanted to do one of those, but it’d be such a long distance for me. What I’d really like to do is a triathlon — but I’m still waiting on getting a special bike.”

Oh man, I’d love to do triathlons, but I dated a triathlete for a few years — and that’s how I discovered I’m a terrible swimmer. My competitive swimming technique looks a lot like drowning. I tend to sink like a stone. So how’s your “running” pace?

“I’m pretty fast on the flats. Faster than most.”

I bet hills are a killer.

“Ah yeah, hills are tough, but I’d beat your ass on the way down.”

We continue to talk for a bit — wish each other a happy new year — and then I brush my teeth while watching Joel push himself out of the men’s locker room in his wheelchair.

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