Monday, January 23, 2012

Just Like Riding A Bike

On Friday night, two of the members of our curling team were in Florida so Erika and Perry were kind enough to fill in.  Erika threw first, I was second, Perry was vice and Doug skipped. We had a scary first end (lost three points) and we all thought "uh oh, this is NOT going to go well".  Then we took two points in the second end, another few in the third and then we went back and forth giving and taking points.  The last end we were up by one and managed to take another for a satisfying win!  Yay us.

After a curling game, the winning team buys the losing team their first drink.  We all sit together and get to know each other a little bit.  I had only met Perry that night so we chatted about all sorts of stuff.  Talk turned to running, as it often does, and he said that he had tried running.  In fact, he ran his first Santa 5k in December.  "But it's really hard" he said.

I agreed that starting to run is really hard.  So is running even after you've been doing it for years.  I compared running to cycling.  This is probably a huge generalization but I would argue that anyone with even basic fitness can climb on a bike and cycle for 30 minutes.  Not necessarily far or fast but they could do it.

Running for 30 minutes.  Now that takes weeks of training.  Most regular humans do not pull on running shoes and run 30 minutes on their first try.  Or their second.  Or their 10th.  There is a whole other level of commitment needed to run. You have to be willing to be humbled.  You have to be willing to struggle through ten minutes and then go home and try again the next day. And again.

On Sunday, my friend Shane (hi Shane!) mentioned on Facebook that he had gone swimming.  And he also mentioned that he had forgotten how hard swimming laps was.  I agreed because swimming laps was ridiculously hard when I started back in October.  One does not just hop in the pool and swim for thirty minutes.  It takes time to build up the endurance to swim two laps without panting and holding on to the side of the pool.

Endurance and fitness in one sport does not guarantee anything when you try another sport.  I would argue that fitness in one sports makes fitness in another come a little faster but that's about it.  The learning curve is pretty steep for anyone who starts.

Except cycling.

Yes, it's true that it takes time to get the strength needed to cycle long distance, cycle up hills or cycle at a fast pace. But even on day one, I would argue that a person could keep their legs moving at a nice leisurely pace for thirty minutes.

No wonder people say that it's just like riding a bike.  Once you've found your balance, you're off!

And no wonder it's such a celebration when someone runs their first 5k.  Everyone who crosses that finish line has put in weeks and weeks of heart wrenching, humbling effort.  And I would argue that, at some point during the training, most people never thought they'd be able to do it.

And that, my friends, is an entire blog post written thanks to a one minute conversation over victory drinks on Friday night.

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