“It’s time to start setting some goals” he bellowed…
This wasn’t a meeting for work, this was in the middle of sprint workout at the local masters swim practice.
It was a Wednesday and after a warm up we had gone 8 25’s fast and then were doing a 200 recovery and the coach leaned in and said, “it’s time to start thinking about your goal times for the 3 sprint 50’s we are doing next”.
Sprinting a 25 is 13 to 15 seconds of pain, a 50 all out is double that plus a few seconds. 30 seconds of pain lingers…3 of them starts to make your extremities feel like they are laced with cement. But there he was, that nice coach who shows up each day to help you take that harder tack into the wind of indifference which is your exercise effort, only this time he was leaning in a bit.
“So what’s it going to be Drew?” 30 or 31?
I was thinking 32 sounded nice especially because at the end of the 50's sprinting was an all out 100 which was double your 50 time plus 4 seconds. Your fellow swimmers in the lanes around you are also dancing with their best self at that moment and while the inclination to hedge slower is normal, a zest for the moment took over and we all took the lower range for our 50’s.
The times are called out by the coaches for all to hear as we come flying in to the resolute wall and pop up for air, (you don’t breathe the last 10 yards of a sprint which hurts a lot). The coaches are paying attention to every second and encouraging you all the way. The last 50 stings but it is a “last one, fast one mentality” and you get 150 yards to recover so suck it up buttercup and go for it.
With most of the workout behind you and only a minute or so of pain left the b.s. starts to fly between the coaches and the swimmers. We have fully bought into this pain train and we all pick the lowest choice possible for our 100 Sprint.
Now to battle with the water and our burning lungs. There is no all out 100 relative to a 25, there is some pace to it, but not much. You are right on the verge of collapse from the second wall and the final 25 is a conversation that you would not want your mother present.
“1:04 Drew, great job, way to go!” My head is spinning, chest is pounding and the pool feels like it is a 100 degrees, but I am the gladiator who is standing over the dead tiger sword raised high. “Are you not entertained!!”
Floating on our backs, we warm down for 50 yards and then get out and thank the coaches for their help in creating this pact of climbing the hard fun hill together. Within minutes the pool returns to its restful state, completely indifferent to the role it played in our quest or the outcomes we sought.
Was this effort worth it? I have no idea, the feedback loops sometimes are too long, and yet mentally we know this dance helped us all.
Turning to your thoughts for 2024, how are you going to rig the game of life or work to be around those people both in and out of your pool who help you “set some goals” and then have as much fun as possible going all out to achieve them?
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