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.