It's the One
There was a Slowtwitch thread that I didn't read titled something along the lines of, "Swim, Bike, Run, what's your fav?" I went past it, because I assumed it wouldn't take long for a cyclist to say something perverse about a swimmer. Or vice-versa. And then the fur would fly. Also, I thought: So what? It's triathlon. It's all three. That's what we do.
But today I'm wondering about that question. Yesterday's run is what got me started. It wasn't that I PR'd. (Hell, my PR list proves the point that no matter how slow you are, if you race you will get PRs.) It was what the run felt like. The way I felt running that race yesterday, I've never felt on a bike or in a pool.
So, playing the game: Let's eliminate swimming first. There's just no contest there. I've had swims that are much better than usual, and that can be a shocking and pretty darn fun experience. But it's kind of like when you go bowling every three or four years and you get a couple of strikes. You're happy. You know you happened upon the magic formula for success for a second there, and you even have an idea—squishy, perhaps—what it might be. But you can't ever quite seize that idea, hold it squarely in front of you and turn it around and upside down and examine it and really know it. Because you don't connect to bowling in a primal way. At your best, your mystified by it. You're just not a bowler. You're a guy bowling.
So it is with swimming. Just not a swimmer. Just a guy swimming.
Cycling, hmm, that's tough. I've had religious experiences on the bicycle, though it must be said that they have come on the mountain bike, not the road bike. When I was young and fearless (we're talking approximately when Michael Dukakis was sweeping his way to the Democratic nomination) I'd go up and down stupid hard shit, and I'd climb and climb and climb for hours, and glide over stuff, hop over it or just plain over do it. Then, I felt like the bike, the dirt and I were in it together, connected, on our own happy mountain-biking plane. Moab. Boggs Mountain. The Headlands. Henry Coe. Sycamore Canyon down in Riverside. In Alaska that one time. But that was mountain biking and that was a long time ago (whatever happened to Mike Dukakis?). Now it's all about the road. I've said it before: riding on the road with good buddies on a great day in a fine rural or semi-rural locale is joy. Helping a friend out one minute, grinding him into the road the next, then jumping on his wheel when the road bends into the wind. Yakking away. (And there is a way in which the mind contrasts bike speed with car speed and you realize quite consciously that you are seeing, smelling, feeling and overall just engaging so much more of your surroundings than you usually do. Very cool.
But it's not running. That's my fav. I guess I should explain why, but it's 11:47 and I need to sleep, and I need to say a word or two about today's workout.
I was pretty sore after yesterday's race. That was a hefty effort on the road, in racing flats, and I felt a little beaten up, although—and this is huge—the Achilles was perfect, not even the hint of a suggestion of a whisper of a problem. Just some DOMS centered in the quads. So I did a couple thousand at the pool, the heart of the swim was a set, done twice, in which I go 200 yards in 3:25, rest until the 4:00; then 150 yards in 2:35, rest until 3:00; 100 in 1:40, rest until 2:00; and 50 in 45. Felt great. Quite enjoyable.