Physical Pain – why?!
I just registered for my first triathlon. Mind you, I am no triathlete or marathoner or serious biker or even a swimming connoisseur. I swam for one season nine years ago (ZOMG!1) in high school because dudes were desperately needed, and because I got bored of the golf team. I have a hybrid bike for the express purpose of my commute from Arlington to AU. I simply abhor running, especially with the shin splints and weird knee-tendon issues it brings me, and talk smack openly both to friends and strangers alike who run for fun. Finally, I think a lot of big-race athletes are pretentious, obnoxious and way too turbo.
“So why?” you might ask, would someone like me do this? Good question. I did my first pseudo-triathlon in college, with a 5k bike ride, 2-mile run and 250-meter swim, in that order. My most distinct memory was during the running segment, when I felt incredible solidarity with a guy hunched over at the side of the course, heaving up what appeared to be red wine from the night before. My second was that it was probably the most difficult thing I’d done, physically, in my entire life.
Still haven’t convinced you that it’s a good idea? Me neither. Here are my top three concerns about the upcoming June 20th event:
1) The swimming portion is IN the Potomac. As in, I might emerge from this triathlon a strange mutant-version of my former self.
2) My bike, which is a hybrid and not a road bike, recently suffered a setback when I left it on campus during Snowpocalypse and it got steamrolled by a snowplow. Repairs underway are questionably sufficient.
3) Extremely strenuous activity can potentially cause a relapse in a lung-collapse incident I suffered while scuba diving a couple of years back.
What it comes down to is that I like a challenge, and I like competition. Physical pain is a necessary evil for success.* The amount of sacrifice that can be made in the name of glory is unbounded. And as one of my favorite thinkers, Oscar Wilde, stated, “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” Though I’m fairly certain he didn’t have winning at all personal costs in mind, I’m sure he would support the arrogance and narcissism underlying my philosophy. So on Sunday June 20, I’m going to grit my teeth, get off my butt and at 7am be using guts (rather than conditioning) to strive for glory.
* I will flesh out the idea of “physical pain is a necessary evil for success” further in my future review of Lightning Reaction Revenge, The Game.
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