Influence of Friends

After a very good night of sleep I awoke feeling so much better than yesterday. Knowing I had three workouts ahead of me today, I didn’t push it too hard in spin class. That was not easy. A good friend of mine was on the bike in front of me and I could see her computer during the entire class. She was pushing hard. We would both be at the same RPMs but I would average 18 miles per hour while she was cranking 22 to 25 miles per hour. I had to keep reminding myself that I had a run workout tonight and I am running a half marathon in 8 weeks. My first priority right now is on my running. But I still have goals to aspire to – on the bike it is to catch my friend. A wonderful form of peer pressure.

After spin I headed to the pool for a 2,000 meter swim. Four of us swam together a workout of building sets of 50/100/200 meters. For the 50’s and 100’s I would alternate pulling and swimming. Again, I didn’t want to push it. For the 200’s I pulled. We did them on a four minute send off. I wanted enough recovery time between intervals. What really pleased me was each time I swam without the pull buoy I maintained under a minute pace for the 50’s and under 1:57 for the 100’s. I was in the wall lane and breath to my right going out and to my left returning – as a result I was able to see the other three swimmers. This really helps me pick up my pace. I want to stay with my friend who swims close to my pace and speed up to see where the faster swimmers are. I also get to glimpse at their swim technique and pick up pointers. I guess I could say it is another form of positive peer pressure too.

At work today I was talking with a fellow runner. He asked me a sincere question that was valid. He asked if part of the reason I am not a faster runner is mental. I could not deny it is part of what is holding me back. For my run this evening I was to run two repeats of ten minutes at my half marathon goal pace. My best half marathon was 2:19 so I calculated the pace for a 2:15. After a two mile warm up tonight at the gym I increased the pace to 10:20 mile pace. Five minutes in, my heart rare was at 148-150. It should be in the upper 150’s. I increased to 10:10, then 10:00, then 9:50, and finally to 9:40. I was able to hold the pace and my heart rate never crossed over 158. The second set I started at 10:00 and went up to 9:40. Had my friend not questioned me today, I don’t know if I would have pushed as hard as I did.

In sport and in life, having friends to challenge us, support us, and help us see our potential truly adds to the joy in life. Sure, a person can go it alone. Loneliness, frustration and missed potential are much more probable however. I am blessed to have several friends in my life. To quote Pearl Jam, I am lucky “to count on both hands the ones that I love.” That is part of the beauty of friends. Unlike family, we get to choose them. Having good ones helps us be good ones. And round and round it goes.

6 thoughts on “Influence of Friends

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  1. I think we all go through the whole “how fast is fast enough” deal. In the end, I think it boils down to simply being pleased. If I’m not pleased, I work harder. If I am, I call it good. Nice job pushing that run. šŸ˜‰

  2. Yea, its not always easy to know how fast you should (or could) be going. Sometimes, we do indeed need those mental breakthroughs to get to the next level of speed for ourselves. I had a similar breakthrough in my first half-marathon when i destroyed a time that I thought was realistic. I have been a better runner ever since!

  3. Good job on the 2-a-day. How fast and hard is “right” is always a tough question. I always tell myself that if I am having fun and wake up a little sore, I am on the right track.

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