Thursday, March 19, 2009

Different types of pain.


Some friends and I have begun doing an informal group road ride on Wednesday after work. Last night, there were seven of us, and we had time for an 1 ½ hammer-ish pace ride before the sun went down. For some strange reason, I don’t mind the pain that bike riding inflicts. I kind of enjoy it, actually. I love the feeling of barely hanging onto the wheel in front of me, teeth gritting as I search for that perfect angle that will block the wind enough to make it bearable. I love being able to stay with men who are much stronger than me on a run, but because of the physics of wind resistance, they can't drop me on a bike.  

Running, on the other hand, is a different beast all together. It took me a long time to fall in love with running. Trail running is now one of my all-time favorite activities, but it took me a long time to get there. It didn’t come easy, like biking. I avoid races, for the most part, because the pain makes me hyperventilate and drop F bombs left and right. I usually hate the experience.

I find it puzzling that the two activities conjure such different reactions from me: on a fast ride, I’m loving it—just eating up the whole experience. But usually, put me in the same oxygen debt/lactic acid position running, and I get really angry. I’m stubborn and competitive, so I won’t slow down, but I will find enough oxygen to curse at anyone close enough to be the target of my wrath.


Case in point: last week, I threw a bottle at my ex-boyfriend a friend of mine I was trail running with. He knows exactly how to piss me off, and one of his favorite tactics is to progressively ramp up the pace as the run continues. Then, he’ll tell me that we only have 1 mile left, when in fact, we have 3. So I dig deep and hang on, not letting him out of my sight, until I’m fuming pissed and hating his very core. On that particular run, when we finally reached the blessed end, I threw the bottle as hard as I could. I think he was expecting it, because he preemptively ducked.


I have never thrown bottles while on my bike. I have had slight breakdowns in racing, but I rarely experience sheer hatred or anger for people when I go into oxygen debt. It’s puzzling thing. Maybe it’s because you know that you’ll always get a break on the bike—the hill will end, the wind will shift, the dude at the front will eventually pull off, or a stop sign will magically appear. At some point, you’ll be soft pedaling and will recover enough to begin again. Running—not quite. Even when running downhill, you’re still working.


Anyhow, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I’ve managed to have better relationships with my riding friends.  

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