There’s not much worse than being taught a lesson. Unless your brother is the person who just schooled you. And he uses your own words to do it. Here’s the story.

The very first road race I ran was the Running for World Water 5K in Indianapolis, and my brother stuck by my sweaty, gasping side the entire way. His encouragement pushed me across the finish line in a time slightly better than my goal, and I’ve always been grateful for his dedication, even when he could have left me in the dust. (And especially when I started saying nasty things to him in the last mile!)

Since that first year, I’ve always thought of that event as “our” race, even in the years when circumstances did not allow him to run it with me. It’s strange, then, that when it looks as if we’re both available to run it in a couple of weeks, I find myself balking.

“I’m afraid,” I tell him.

“Of what?” he asks.

“Of being slower. Of looking stupid,” I reply, referring to my current running slump.

“Who’s watching?” he counters.

“EVERYONE!” I retort.

(At this point, I can hear him snorting with derision through cyberspace, given that this conversation is happening via email.)

Then he hits me. Hard.

“Listen here, Miss Comfort Zone! Don’t let fear of others keep you from getting water to needy people. I expect you there pacing me. We’re crossing that line together this year.”

Wait. Who said he could bring up that comfort zone business from yesterday’s post? He can’t use my own words against me. What a jerk!

Then he plays his trump card: “Who cares? Do it because we can do stuff together, not for the glory.”

Lesson 1: Sometimes it’s the small things that push the limits of my comfort zone.

Lesson 2: I have to live up to my own words.

Lesson 3: No one can push my buttons like my brother.

I guess I’ll be running for world water again this year.