Thursday, July 24, 2008

The joy of suffering…

I was reading today and he was talking about how he enjoys climbing. As I read it, I was thinking how I totally agreed with him. I mean I LOVE to climb.
When I first started riding I hated climbing, I hated the way it hurt and made my lungs feel like they were going to explode and how on some occasions, I was pretty sure I might even lose my lunch……but after a while, I realized I wasn’t hating it anymore. I was actually enjoying it. I even got to the point where if the ride didn’t have any climbs I didn’t really enjoy them as much….

But then I rode with a buddy of mine (we’ll call him Mark) on a flat ride and he totally destroyed me….I was suffering so bad trying to keep up with him going down Foothill rd (which is completely flat btw) that it actually felt like climbing. My legs burned, my lungs hurt and my vision was getting fuzzy around the edges…..
It was then that I realized it wasn’t really climbing that I enjoyed, it was the suffering.

Now, I know that actually sounds kind of weird and before you start picturing me as a closet masochist that enjoys various leather garments, let me clarify….

I’ve always enjoyed exercise. I used to run and workout and cycling is the latest iteration of my love of exercise. I’ve also always believed exercise should be a workout, should involve sweat and should involve some level of suffering for the greater good.
Sort of the whole, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger kind of thing.
I’ve never understood those people at the gym sitting on the exercise bike with a book and a latte and just tooling along.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to relax, but if I’m going to relax, I’m going to do it in my lounge chair in front of my big screen TV with a beer and a remote…

The point is, that when I exercise, I expect there to be some suffering. And, whether it’s climbing, doing mad sprints with my fast friends or just doing intervals or signpost races with my buddies, it’s way more fun if, at the end of it all, I know that I worked out and that I’m now free to do my relaxing and beer drinking with absolutely no guilt whatsoever…..

Besides, the ability to suffer is a valuable tool in our arsenal when dealing with the everyday issues of life. It’s nice to know that no matter how high the mountain or how long the sprint, eventually the climbing will end and the pace will revert back to normal.

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