I admit it. I'm one of those people who go for the path of least resistance, the easy/fun way out, the low-hanging fruit. I guess that's why this Triathlon is probably a good thing for me, and being that I'm giving up bitching about the weather for Lent, I really can't complain about the fact that the weather is stopping me from doing my favorite athletic thing of them all: riding my bike.
See, that's my favorite part of the tri altogether: the bike. I say without hesitation, I am a cyclist. I finish in the top 10% of all the entrants in the bike portion. I've been in love with bike riding ever since I got my training wheels off. I didn't even own a car until my 30s. Up till then it was my bike, public transportation, and mooching rides from friends. I won't even have to "start training" for the bike portion of the tri, which at 20 K isn't even a "long ride" for me. I'm already in condition to blast out a dozen miles.That's just an errand. My summertime commute is longer than that.
No, I have to train on the running track, and for a race that's 7 months away, I'm not doing too bad. Last week I was all giddy that I could run 12 minutes without stopping; this week I'm at 18, and the goal is to be at 20 ish by the next time I write. Last time I did the tri, I did the 5K run portion in about 36 minutes. OK, you're not impressed and you shouldn't be. That pace is about as slow as you can go and still call it "running." But I ran the whole thing, dammit, which is more than I can say for some of the other athletes. Still, here's the thing: I'm really not in love with running. Running is more like this medicine that's good for me, and I feel good afterwards, but I really don't like it all that much. I have friends who do marathons and half marathons and appear to really enjoy it. Well, good for them.
This is as opposed to the absolute euphoria I live for when climbing up a hill against the wind on my bike. Yes, I love that. Partially because it's a bitch to do, but I'm rewarded not only with a downhill cruise, but that feeling of getting to look behind at the hill I just climbed and confidently say to myself, "V'ron, you are a badass." So I don't hate running because running is hard. I just don't like it. Even with an excellent playlist burning in my ears.
But that's the thing about a challenge, isn't it? If everything about a challenge was wonderful and enjoyable, then it wouldn't be a challenge, now would it? A challenge is not about just going for the low hanging fruit. It's about going all the way up the tree, to those scary high branches, and having faced that is it's own reward. Yesterday on the track I did 12 minutes and really felt like stopping, but darn it, I did 18 the other day and I can't go back now. So I dialed in some eurpoean electronica on my ipod that I knew would last for 6 more minutes and off I went.
Besides, I kind of have no choice. I have to focus on running now because frankly, it's just too damn cold to hit the bike trails these days. I'm a badass on a bike but I'm not that badass -- I need at least 40 degrees outside before I'm riding. And on top of that, my bike is in the shop (South Shore Cyclery is having a service special right now!) So, I'm just going to have to wait until Easter for some delicious low hanging fruit. I'll have earned it.
Down 2 more pounds this week, BTW.