CHOICES: “No Pain, No Gain”

At almost 62 years old, there are three things I have learned about myself: I like to look good and want to avoid looking bad; I like pleasure much better than pain; and I need a coach to keep me accountable.

I ride with my cycling coach, John Hughes, every Wednesday from 6-8am. He owns 90+ Cycling and he sees a wide variety of cyclist each week. He doesn’t care if I look good and in fact, if I do look good, I must not be working hard enough. Pain is not optional when I ride with John. In fact, if I am not in pain, I must not be working hard enough. John keeps me accountable in more ways than he knows. Today was the second Wednesday in a row that I rode solo. I had to make some choices. What ride would John do if he were here? Yes, I chose the hill repeats, again, where I don’t look good and where there is lots of pain.

Much like life, at the intersection of Triadelphia and Carroll Mill roads, there is a choice but the choice is between two Hills. You see, there is going to be pain which ever way I go. Ok then, 5 repeats on each hill. The pleasure comes on the down hill. Pain first, then pleasure. Work first, then play. And as my father taught me at 10 years old, summer reading first, then the pool. The first round was really tough and I was thinking “how am I going to do 5 of these?” I stayed focused and tried not to think about the pain but rather the purpose of why I doing this workout. Before I knew it, I was on the last set and heading home.

As I reflected on the previous 90 minutes, I realize that I have really made progress since the first time I did these repeats. I also know now that repeats and intervals, whether on the bike, in the pool, or at the running track, are the way to grow and get faster. No pain, no gain is my mantra for the day. Finally, I realized the importance of being strong in the moments of choice. Making right choices in life is not always easy but when you have a clear purpose and surround yourself with people like John, it is easier to make the right choices. Thank you John for being a great coach.

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