All About Optics – Deep Water Running & The Padre

I run.  I run recreationally.  I started running because it was something I could do anywhere with little equipment.  It’s always a challenge.  In the 13 years I’ve been running very few have been ‘easy’.  A recent injury changed my plan for a half marathon…so I started deep water running to offset my lost training days and distance.  My goal is always to do it faster than prescribed; efficiency is a big part of my mental makeup.   The diligence and mental work to spend 1.5 hrs in a pool doing laps with a floatation belt on at an unbelievably slow pace has been an adjustment.  But in that frustration and adjustment have been gems.  Mostly the gems are the people, there is Shonelle the lifeguard who is educated about deep water running, helpful, friendly and is cool with playing loud music.  Then we have Julia who is the 70+ year old Swiss lady who swims beside me and visits, a God sent on long days.  Throw in Big Dan, a large man who swims with the utmost of grace and skill, little splash and calm quiet strokes, it’s comforting.  There is a smattering of military folks that do laps, dive for stuff, pull stuff, carry stuff etc.  Then we have the Padre.  The Padre, father to 7 or 9 I can’t remember, swims on Wednesday at lunch.  It has been the single biggest source of joy for me in that pool, not to mention some frustration.  The Padre could be the worst swimmer I’ve ever seen.  No one is safe, his splashes can be felt across all lanes.  Some strokes nail me in the face more times than not (hence the frustration) but it also makes me giggle.  Some of the ‘regulars’ call him Flipper.  So why am I telling you about the Padre?  Or deep water running?

Two reasons:

#1 – It pays to persevere AND you always have options.  I could quit running for now and wait for my Achilles to heal.  I could get mad, discouraged and accept being lame.  Or I could find another option to keep moving and training.  Deep water running has given me the time in my head that land running does, has and will again.  I think that’s really why I run.  So when you are managing someone or something and you hit a road block, something that says nope ‘you can’t do it this way’ remember there is always another option.  It’s up to you to unearth that option, develop it and make it work with your people and your project.  It’s all about optics. 

#2 – There is joy everywhere, even in frustration – the Padre, worst swimmer ever, still swims.  So when he enters the pool deck I could be angry and discontent or I could choose joy.  I tried the discontent but ended up choosing joy.  Because watching him flail about doing the front crawl and butterfly, yes butterfly gave me the opportunity to embrace the kindness of the elderly gentlemen who switched lanes with me so I get a little less water in my face.  I think joy is eternally accessible.  Just like with my injury, it’s all a matter of optics.  The challenge is allowing ‘you’ to see it in amongst the others buckets of frustration, fear, boredom…etc.  I promise you, it’s there…possibly nestled nicely underneath the water where a unskilled swimmer called the Padre splashes about in his weekly laps or maybe just there in plain sight.
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