People have been sent to the electric chair because some of their buddies decided to hold up a liquor store and they decided to just go along. Others people have become doctors, teachers, engineers, and other respected professionals initially due to peer pressure, but later found that this was a pretty good move.
Even when you don't have direct peer pressure, those around you set the norm. Did all of the other neighborhood kids play baseball? You might have played even though none of them ever pressured you. Did all of your cousins go to college? You might have thought that was the thing everyone in your family did.
I started hanging out with the wrong crowd a couple of years ago. These were guys (and girls!) who thought nothing about an Ironman, a 200 mile bike race on gravel, or a 100 mile run. Now, I knew that I would never be that extreme. And I'm not. But here's an example of what happens.
My friend Travis decides to host a trail running race. A 4.1 mile course. You have an hour to finish. So far, so good. But here's the catch.
An hour after you run the loop, you run it again. After another hour, run it again. Until only one person is left.
So despite not wanting to be an ultra-runner at all, here I am at the starting line. I was just going to run one lap to show support for Travis. But I finished the lap and felt pretty good. Somebody said, "It's time. Start the next lap." So I did. And for some stupid reason, I ran a third. I did show some restraint and quit after the 3rd lap. 12.3 miles. I was getting tired and starting to get a blister on one of my feet. But it seems pretty wimpy (or pretty normal), if you compare it to my friend Jim.
|Running slow through the woods on the second lag.|
Jim just kept running. Not that fast. 4.1 miles. Once an hour. For 15 hours.
|Jim just kept going. For 61 miles.|
So when just going out and running 12 miles makes you seem like a slacker, is it time to re-evaluate your peer group? Nah, just recruit some more people into it.
|Race director Travis (far right) along with some of the other volunteers. Most of the photo's are taken from Robin (far left).|
And same to you, Jim, for making a half-marathon run look like a nap on the couch.
What are these people up to next? A one-mile swim next weekend. The weekend after? A half-marathon. At night. On a trail.
And I will be there.