Monday, October 29, 2012

Are Triathletes Masochists?

Tonight was the last Monday of the month.  Or, as my swim coach likes to put it: Last, Fast, Fun Monday.  She says it with this evil glint in her eye.  Occasionally she'll apologize with a very insincere expression.  I don't think she bothered with the fake apology tonight.  She just scared us by telling us it was going to be hard while refusing to be specific, and then sent us off on our warm up.

After warming up and doing some drills, it was time to really work.  Fast 50s.  Truth be told, it wasn't quite as bad as I expected.  (Crap, if she's reading this, now I'll suffer.  It only wasn't as bad because I was expecting it to be really really hard.)  But, it was still hard.  50 metres is long enough that you have to pace, but short enough that you can really make it hurt.  Then 50 metres recovery, and off again.  And again.  And again...  Sets of 4 (5, if you were in the fast lanes, which I'm not), a rest set, then repeat, and repeat, etc.

The awesome thing is that I was almost holding my time in these sets.  Now, "actually" instead of "almost" would be even more awesome, but pacing over multiple sets has long been a weak point for me.  To be *almost* holding pace without sandbagging was great.

And that brings me to my point, and the title of my post.  Are triathletes masochists?  Because, even as I was inwardly cursing the workout, and my arms were screaming for me to stop, I was simultaneously loving it.  Even though I had to push off again when I felt like I could have rested another 60 seconds, I rejoiced in doing so.  It might hurt, but it's an absolute adrenaline rush.  And when you finish you feel amazing (and are unable to sleep, so instead sit at your computer blogging).

I know why I do this.  The payoff is huge.  But, is this something that exists in a lot of us?  Are we wired to enjoy that pain we get from pushing ourselves?


  1. There's a new Masters Swim class where I live. I know I need to go. Having a coach put together a challenging workout will take me much farther than where I've gone on my own. Good job!

  2. Those intervals are certainly the way to get faster. We do it because we know it works. There's a fine line between sandbagging, and seeing stars at the end of the last one, and needing a bucket. So far, I haven't crossed it, but then, I don't have a coach pushing me these days.

  3. hahhaha I think you guys are nuts, so yes, you probably are masochists ;) lol

    I love that you do so well with your swim coach though. It seems like you're always pushing yourself in those workouts. I think it;s amazing that people can pace themselves while swimming. I hardly use the pool with my new schedule, and I am such a novice that just bilateral breathing is difficult for me - so to hear you doing speed drills in the water makes me think you must be an Olympian ;)

  4. I always realize this on my runs or bikes more than swimming. I think, if I am doing 18, why not 20, I do not want to start over, so why not!

  5. Yes Yes you are. But not like runners are much better. hahaha