When you mention that you partake in a wee bit of triathlon, people automatically ask the following question:
“Which sport do you like the most?”
It is always tempting to point out that if I favoured one a great deal, I probably wouldn’t be bothering with all three – but that is neither here nor there.
Truth be told, I think I am best off on a bike. I came to swimming too late to master perfect technique, I think it’s one of those skills you can acquire with a lot of hard work, but to be really good you need to acquire it at the age of 2 and not 20. And I’m quite simply not a natural runner.
That said, each of the three has its merits. With every sport comes a mentality, even a set of characteristics.
I pondered that fact as I completed the final cool down 200m of a swim set. Everything about swimming is regimented. Swimming, I think, is a sport of even numbers. Everything matches, is equal, makes perfect sense. It is all about disgustingly early mornings, precision, discipline. But it isn’t lacking in passion. Something about that swish and glide as each 25m stretch comes to an end reminds me of the grace and perfection of a dancer. Every limb needs to be doing just the right thing – and an arm overstretched or a leg missing the beat can ruin it all. I miss dancing, so it’s a nice compromise.
Running is the simplest of all sports. Truth be told, you don’t even need a pair of trainers – you just need a pair of legs that work and are willing. Running to get lost is one of my favourite games (as long as I don’t become genuinely lost), and it is well accompanied by the punk of ’77 and a sunny day.
Biking has the attraction of giving you the ability to simply go far, and fast. I can’t explain the exhilaration that comes when everything is working just right. An undulating road, free of traffic and disruption, can take you anywhere and you can drop your burdens along the way. The wind in your face somehow washes over all the stresses of the day. I love working just at that threshold level – that is hard to hold but not so hard it pops your eyeballs – just tough enough to remind you that your body is alive and that your brain doesn’t have to take priority all the time.
So, there we have it, maybe I do favour my bike, but each of my three, fairly newly discovered hobbies (it’s actually been.. 15months… since my first triathlon – when will this stop all feeling new, I wonder?) has a place in my heart for one reason or another.
The same way there is a a food for every feeling and a song for each sensation – there is a sport for every day.
That, and it’s damn hard to find an injury that will completely stop a triathlete.