Exercise is for men being chased by bears

A few months back, my wife approached me with a simple request – don’t die. She was implying that I begin to exercise in order to save the old ticker. Little did I know that exercise is one of the most gratifying experiences known to man…if that man was a self-masochist. So unless you’re running from a predator, I wouldn’t recommend it. But I told my wife I would do it, so I thought I should have a goal to keep me on track. A doctor friend of mine challenged me to a triathlon in March, and I thought, “perfect.” Swimming, cycling and running. Can’t be that hard, right? Actually, my first thought was “Crap. I want to quit and I haven’t even started training yet.”

I’m not really worried about the swimming portion of the triathlon, because I’ve always been a good swimmer, and I’ve been surfing for ten years. Sure, I’ll have to train a bit, but the swim isn’t what I’m concerned about. Actually, I can do any of the three independently – it’s just doing them all in succession that scares me. I should tell you that the triathlon I’m doing is the sissy version. The lengths of each event are quite a bit shorter than a normal triathlon, but I’m not ashamed – it’s still way more than I ever thought I would do. (Actually, I haven’t even registered yet because I want to give myself the option of backing out at the last moment).

I started running shortly after my wife threw down the gauntlet. Everyone told me that it would be tough at first, but that I would become obsessed. I didn’t believe them, but wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. I bought the right shoes, downloaded a running app, and hit the road. After months of consistent running, I’ve only got one thing to say about it. Running still sucks.

Now, on to cycling. I don’t have a road bike, so I called my father-in-law. He’s got a legit, expensive road bike, which he agreed to let me borrow. The first thing I noticed about the bike was the seat. I might as well have branding irons glued to my crotch. I rode it twenty yards to the mailbox and I’m still not sure if I’ll ever be able to father children again. I knew I had to get padded cycling shorts, but there are two problems with that. Number one, I don’t wear shorts – ever. Number two, there is nothing more embarrassing than cycling shorts. I picked up a pair on Saturday at a local sports store in preparation for my first ride on Sunday. I got changed into my cycling gear and gave my wife a quick teaser before heading out the door. I was nervous to be out in public with these offensively tight shorts because, well, they tell a little too much of the story if you know what I mean. Basically, they are socially acceptable boxer-briefs. Except that they’re not really socially acceptable. This is where cyclist fool themselves.

Ultimately, I took to the country and completed a twelve mile ride with only mild pain. I’m told that eventually, I will get blisters in parts of myself that even I couldn’t see in a room made of mirrors. This is not comforting. As bad as that sounds though, I will say this, cycling beats running any day of the week and twice on Sunday. I never thought I’d get into it because cyclists look like toolboxes, but I might have to join their spandex ranks and swallow my pride.

The triathlon is still a month away, and I’m not training as seriously as I should, but at least I’ve found one part of the race that I might actually enjoy.

3 thoughts on “Exercise is for men being chased by bears

  1. good luck on the the Tri. Karen did a sprint one last year. I am a runner guy. I didnt think I would like it as much. but I do.

    I am planning a 10 mile race in May and a 1/2 in September……ugh I need to get my butt in gear.

  2. Trav,

    I didn’t say I got blisters from that seat. Well, actually, I did say that. You need the Butt Butter I was talking about. But what I DID say that after 40 or 50 miles or so, it felt like they were using the Jaws of Life on my sit bones! Congratulations on your first 12 miles! You can do it.

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