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Peer Pressure (and WWW: January 23)

January 30, 2011 Fear, Fitness No Comments

Ah, peer pressure. When you’re coming of age, it’s something that you are warned about continually:

“If your best friend jumped off a bridge, would you do it?”

“You’ll get busted if you are at a party where a bunch of people are drinking — even if you don’t have a sip.”

“Premarital sex will ensure you a spot in Hell.”

Okay, that last one might be a bit dramatic…┬áBut peer pressure as an adult — in a controlled environment — is a much different beast. Dare I say it’s a good thing?? I’ll stop being coy and get to my examples. I have two of them related to this week’s workouts.

First, mountain biking. I’ve talked briefly about my mountain biking exploits before. The fact of the matter is that I’m terrified of it. Mountain biking is like learning a foreign language for me: I have an aptitude for it, but if I don’t use it regularly, I lose my abilities. I haven’t been on a mountain bike in about 18 months, and that trip was less-than-stellar because it had been about 18 months since the previous time.

So, when I planned my trip to El Dorado Hills and CK mentioned we’d be helping “coach” the Junior Trojans mountain biking club, my hackles came up. It’s one thing for me to say among a group of my friends (and husband) who are mountain biking experts, “I’m not very good.” By this point, they all get it and my ego is only slightly bruised because they are all so good and so fearless. But in this case, keeping up with the experts was not what I feared. Riding (and potentially wrecking) CK’s sweet Ibis Mojo was not what I feared.

I didn’t want to be shown-up by a bunch of 8-12 year olds.

It has been a long time since I have been “peers” with this age group (!!), but I took it seriously. Knowing I’d be getting on a trail with these kids on Tuesday, I took my mountain bike out on Sunday afternoon to get used to the feel of it again. When we rode down to the start of practice on Tuesday afternoon, I was nervous. I was trying to play it off like I was cool… but it was clear that these kids were so much cooler than I was.

Case in point: “If your friends ride over a sizable log that’s laying across the trail, would you do it?”

Well, I would if I could. But I knew I couldn’t, and I was panicked. I got lucky on this one because the kid in front of me botched his attempt and I got to walk my bike over it. WHEW! I knew I had been saved by a narrow margin on that one, and I had my game face on. I rode up and down things that were harder than things I had normally ridden over. I got behind these kids and followed their every line, and just went with it. I let my fear of being bested by these kids be the pressure I needed to not wimp out. It worked! Plus, they don’t have a lot of fitness, so I was able to consistently beat them up a climb… but then they’d smoke me on the descent. I burned a lot of “fear calories” in that hour-long workout and Greg has even said he’ll identify some intermediate trails for me to try on my own during the week. Use it or lose it!

The second example of peer pressure was the following day. I joined CK and our tri coach for Masters swim class. I’ve never been to a Masters class, but knew I’d be in a pool with a bunch of good swimmers. I’m not exactly a slouch when I go do my swim workouts, but I also have no one swimming beside me to have any idea how fast or slow I’m going.

We got into the water and Kari put up the day’s workout: warm-up + 15*200 yards + cool down. Yeah… 3000+ yards in 60 minutes. Areyoufuckingkiddingme?

Like I said, I’m no slouch… but the longest swim workout I’ve done on my own in the pool was 2350 yards. And that was during my Half Ironman peak training week. But again, I wouldn’t let the coach — or myself — down. I swam my little heart (and legs, and arms) out! I was exhausted by the time we finished, but it felt great to know I did it!

Moral of the stories: Make peer pressure work for you!

Weekly Workout Wrap-up

Sunday: Tracy Anderson + 10 45-second planks + 12-mile bike ride

Monday: 90 minute yoga + 17-mile bike ride

Tuesday: 60 minute mountain bike ride + 75 minute stretching

Wednesday: 3000+ yards swim + 14.5-mile bike ride

Thursday: Hill repeats on bike + 2 mile run

Friday: 20 minutes sauna + 1650 yards swim

Saturday: 20-mile bike ride (forgot my Garmin -grrrrr!)


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