We All Suffer
It’s been a fascinating day out here in Seattle. I was supposed to be in the city for lectures today, but thanks to Mother Nature dropping a ton of snow precisely at the time when I was to arrive, classes were cancelled today. Then on top of that snow, M to the Nature power decided to ice storm all day. W.T.F.
Being from Montana, the weather didn’t faze me much on foot. I had my trusty Yak Trax with me, and I made mincemeat out of the ice and snow. If you haven’t got a pair of these and you deal with ice, I highly suggest you grab a pair. Just be careful not to wear them inside on tile; you’ll be more likely to bust your butt indoors than out in that situation.
I got to do so much needed clothes shopping, sip some good coffee, have lunch with a squad member, and get some good reading in. More importantly, at least for this blog, I was able to get my grueling VO2 workout in as well. Without my bike. That’s right. Search your feelings, you know it be true. I hauled my laptop down to the rental pain cave, loaded up the Sufferfest Revolver video, grabbed a bunch of free towels, and ripped my 80 bucks back out of the hotel.
The look on the guy’s face next to me was great. While the setup must have been alarming to everyone, my intervals must have been damn near frightening because there was no one left in the gym when I was done. WIN. Here’s a glimpse of the show:
Despite doing the 2X20’s yesterday, today felt decent. It still hurt worse than my 2011 tax estimate, but manageable. Without a power meter it was hard to pace myself so I pretty much went as hard as I could muster.
Somewhere in the lactic acid burn between interval 10 and 12, I had what I would call an epiphany. That, or I had a small seizure. As I watched the other folks in the gym, I wondered what separated me from the old man on the bike or the jogger on the treadmill. In our sport, where the average annual salary is greater than 125k, I feel there is an ever increasing sense of elitism. That somehow, because we go out and ride our bikes to Mars and then follow that with a brick run to the Moon, we are better than others.
This is wrong. I think most triathletes will honestly say that we love exercising and training. Really, we do. So to say we are somehow better or tougher than others because we do something we love is a false hypothesis in my opinion.
I think what defines the typical triathlete is our dedication to overcome obstacles to exercise. Snow outside? Find a treadmill. No treadmill? Drive to the nearest Gym. No racing bike to do intervals? Use anything that lets you sit on it and move your legs go in circles. We will train. And this defining dedication, this will power to overcome barriers to being healthy, is something shared by many an athlete, whether they be a first time 5k runner or a sub 10 hour ironman finisher.
So I challenge our sport with this notion. Maybe instead of thinking of ourselves different from others, why don’t we start seeing ourselves as more similar? We were all once that first time 5k person. We once all nearly died after running 10 minutes. We all had training wheels once. I took my off finally for Arizona….it was too windy. I think if we dared adopted such a posture, more and more people pursuing health could enjoy our incredible sport. If we can remember where we each started, we can each serve as examples of dedication instead of intimidation.
It is not too much to hope for. One could also hope to own a P5. I feel the above is more realistic to pursue.