There are positives and negatives when running with a friend who's faster than you. The conversation and camaraderie can't be beat. However, it's very easy to beat yourself up -- physically and emotionally.
Both happened this morning when my buddy John and I ran a hilly trail course at Griffith Park. I love having a friend run with me -- it's relaxing and borderline sacred in terms of being able to unwind without interruption. And the views, as you can see in the image accompanying this post, are fantastic. On the other hand, I totally ignored my scheduled workout (stay in heart rate zones 2-3) in the name of keeping up.
Here's the frustrating part though. I used to be able to tear through this particular trail last year during the height of my speed and Ironman training, notching off 7:30-9:30 miles with ease. Today, no such luck. John's watch data indicated we ran between 11:00-9:10 miles. I was wheezing afterward.
What's happened? I do know this: I'm nowhere near being in Ironman shape. But I won't get down about it. Rather, I'll use today's run as simply a benchmark in where I'm at from a fitness standpoint. There's a lot of training left to go before Ironman Coeur d'Alene. And I'm really glad I barely have any races this season between here and June 26.
Somewhere between now and then, I hope to pick up the pace while carrying the same level of conversation as today. Even though my workout wasn't the best in terms of performance, I'll remember it more for the progress report of where I'm at in my training physically, along with the laugh-out-loud moments John and I enjoyed.
Gotta keep the training fun, right?
146 days and counting.