”It’s not as hard as mount Everest”

My heart beats for all it’s worth. My chest is burning with fiery lactic acid. The sound of my breath is loud in the surrounding silence. I’m not thinking, I’m just moving as fast as I can. “Faster”, he yells. I glance at my legs and will them to run faster, but they physically can’t move any more than this. Somewhere in the back of my mind there’s a  small voice who says “you can’t go on”. But I go on anyway. Because he’s there.
Our hard training has started. He calls it “crazy runs”. It’s a mix of interval training, squats, push-ups, sit-ups, cross-road jumps, high-knee-ups and some other suspicious exercises. I’m trying to catch up after an interval. “It’s not as hard as Everest!”, Akim yelled. A good friend knows how to motivate you. It reminded me of what’s hard. I’ve made mt. Everest – I could make this too. So I kept running.

I consider him one of my best and most awesome friends. Several times over the last week he said that I probably will hate him. That soon our friendship might suffer under the power of him being the training-coach and pushing me beyond what’s possible. 
But I don’t hate him. Because I love hard training I’m just very grateful. My best way of saying thanks is to promise my total dedication and to do what he says, without questioning (very difficult). I can’t thank him enough by doing my very best, but I need to do even better than that. Never ever will I utter the words “I can’t do it”. Because Akim thinks I can do it.
He also thinks it’s important for the coach to train hard together with the athlete, and for the coach to be even stronger than his athlete. He’s very strong. And it’s very inspiring to run with him. 
I know he’s got asthma and several old injuries from his Muai Thai background, but still keeps a high tempo and never really complains. I want to be just as strong. So I do what he says I should do. I run faster. Not as best as I can, but better than that. A really good friend will push you to become better. A really good friend believes you are better than you think.

So we keep running. We run the wrong way and get temporarily lost. The sun goes down and everything turns dark grey. We run by a lighthouse which casts a bright eye on us with even intervals. “The eye of Sauron”, Akim says with a glint in his eye, and I burst out laughing in between breaths. Sometime after that I’m overwhelmed by gratefulness for the guy who runs next to me.

I’ve always thought that I’m quite limitless in what I think I can do. But Akim doesn’t even think about limits.
“The harder we train now, the more secure you will feel at the performance”, he keeps saying. It’s about being safe. He says I’m like his sister who is going to do something really hard, and he wants me to be prepared.
So today he took away my beloved MP3-player while training. I love to train with music because it gives me more energy, but he says I must get used to hard performance without outside help of music. He thinks music is a way to escape from hardship and feelings in your body. There will not be any MP3-player on my world record. I must get used to handling the pain, he says. I don’t like it, but I know he’s right. ”This is how you get mentally strong”, he says ”not by sitting in meditation thinking about it, but training mentally while training physically”. He didn’t take my music away to be mean, but to help me get stronger.

A good friend is not someone who pats you on the back and says “you did what you could” or “be nice to yourself”. I think it’s someone who grabs you by the shoulder and says “I think you can do even better. I believe in you”. Don’t be just nice, be honest. Be that friend.

nannapicPhoto by: Nanna Kreutzmann

You can also train with my awesome friend! He’s going to have a training camp in September:
Read more here: http://freedivingcourses.net/

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