I swear, every week when I do my run interval set, I'm going to blog about what a hellish workout it is. It's 10 30-second all-out sprints, separated by 1-minute rest periods. It's the same every week. So how can it seem so freshly hellish each week? How do I forget the pain that came before? What explains this short-term memory loss? I haven't smoked pot since the previous Democratic administration. And yet I waltz out to ol' Normandale for my running, enjoying a sunny interlude on an otherwise blustry, spittin'-rain day, saunter around the pitch a few times to loosen up, I'm happy, life is good. As though what lies ahead isn't going to tear my guts out and Cuisinart my quads. As though my lungs won't weep.
The first few are fine, the middle few grow a bit difficult, by seven it really hurts, oh, you know the story, I told it before. Still, and here's where the masochistic side of triathlon training is revealed, it was fun. OK, maybe not fun. But way, way satisfying: To stand there after finishing No. 10, heaving and gasping for breath, nausea and exultation washing over you, the wet grass shining bright under the sun, towering dark clouds off to the east—is a rainbow about to show?—and in a deep-down mysterious primitive place connecting to the ability to power across a plain, to do it again and again as if life itself hung in the balance. Whew.
Photo: Exhaustion, by Roger Ballen