A.M. Ran with Jeremy and Ariel. Did a workout. 5x400 with 100 recovery starting at 74.0 and finishing at 71.4 down the canyon. Held together better that on Tuesday - kept speeding up in spite of short recoveries. Then a long recovery, and 600 in 1:40.1. Ariel did the first 200, Jeremy did the first 300. The splits were 34 and 51. Then I was able to speed up closing the last 300 in 49. I was happy about that.
Then 6x100 uphill at the house. I did the first three in 18.0, 18.2, 17.7 and felt like I had put quite a bit of effort into them. Then Joseph came and raced me. He was far behind (around 24 seconds), but just knowing there was somebody behind made me run it in 17.3. Then his cousin Nicholas came. Nicholas is 15, and I knew from running with him that there was a possibility that he could outrun me in 100 meters. With Nicholas racing me, even though he fell behind right away, and I knew he would not be getting faster as the hill got steeper, I ran scared and hit 16.5 - my best time on this stretch so far ever. Nicholas ran 18.7. This was quite remarkable to me. Every single time I do this workout I try to figure out a way to make myself run faster. I try to focus, etc. All of this got me 16.6 twice in the entire history of this workout, and most of the time I do not even break 17.0. A 15 year old kid shows up and runs 2 seconds behind me, and all of a sudden I am able to run 16.5. In the last one, now we had Nicholas and his older brother Zachary. This time I knew that Nicholas could not outrun me, and I also knew that Zachary was not that much faster than Nicholas if at all. I still ran scared because I heard their steps, but I was not as scared as the first time, so I ran 16.8. They got something around 18.5.
Ran some more with the kids. Benjamin did 4, Jenny, Julia, and Joseph 2, Jacob 1, William 0.3. Total of 13.5 miles for me.
Discussed the subject of internal and external motivation using my hill sprint example with my brother in law who teaches math education at the University of Nebraska. We both agreed that this was a good example that you cannot rely on internal motivation alone effectively. Even though I am mature in age (39 years), and just about as motivated internally to run as anyone could be (I have never missed more than 3 consecutive days of training in more than 27 years, I walk around and think what I need to do to get faster), the mere presence of a rather weak competition gives me significant improvement in performance. Yet the going theory in the educational circles is that competition is bad, and teachers who attempt to introduce it experience a lot of resistance. Perhaps that is the answer to our problems with education