Running led to biking, biking led to…boxing?

9 Nov

It didn’t used to be this way.

When I discovered running, I discovered an outlet – something I could do alone that was good for me, that made me happy, that helped me sleep, that got me outside in nature, that felt like an accomplishment every single time (with a neat and tidy beginning, middle, and end).

And then, after a few years, I discovered running with other people.  A pack of guys, a male coworker, a couple female coworkers. I loved running with other people more than I loved running alone. I loved sharing the experiences, the quirky sightings, the aches and pains. Being able to discuss things: work, a magazine article, a recent conversation and get in a workout and have some friend-time became very important as I was navigating the tricky waters of working full-time and getting my MBA.

The only thing missing was that I no longer had my alone time – to daydream and mull and plan out graduate papers.

I needed alone time. But I couldn’t give up my running.  And I needed to do something that complimented, but didn’t detract, from the time I spent running.

Luckily, because of the many months training for my triathlon, I knew that I loved road bikes.  And biking causes less impact on joints and, at least for me, seems to use different muscles than running.  I can, and have, run 22 miles on Saturday and biked 40-50 on Sunday.  Not a problem.  It’s a match made in heaven.

Biking is a good challenge because I can bike but I can’t really BIKE.  And if you want to know what the difference is, well, it’s simple.  I am confident on my bike. I have a healthy fear of buses and traffic lights and railroad ties but I am not afraid of them. But one of my coworkers bikes to work in a blur – he says that if he doesn’t feel a little bit like throwing up by the end, he hasn’t biked hard enough.  Another coworker sits tall, no hands on the handlebars, completely in control. When I think “bike competence” I think of him.  And then there’s the MIT kid.  He balances on his bike clutching a bowl of oatmeal (during the morning ride) and a bowl of soup (during his lunch break prowl) with one hand and a spoon in the other.  I have yet to see him touch the handlebars, even when waiting at a light.  It’s amazing.  And I’m fairly sure he is not trying to show off with this behavior either (you learn fast that everyone at MIT is special, which kinda makes their specialness less special in a way).

Those guys BIKE.  I just bike. But I’m okay with the learning curve.

The problem is that lately, I’ve realized I like biking with people more than alone. It’s an entirely different experience than running with people.  There’s very little time for dialogue and biking side-by-side (unless you’re on a nearly deserted road on the most amazing cranberry bog ride ever).  But, at the end of 40 miles when you stop to swim at Walden Pond, or eat huge cones of ice cream or stretch out on the grass at the top of a hill and cityscape-watch, you’ll be glad you have a companion to share it with.

Which is why I took up boxing this summer. Because I really needed an “alone” outlet.  Something to recharge my batteries that wasn’t a social activity.

I’m afraid the curse has followed me.  Before the cycle continues and I take up too many sports and dabble in them all without becoming good at any of them, I need to admit the truth to myself. Everything is more fun with friends.



One Response to “Running led to biking, biking led to…boxing?”

  1. Meg November 10, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

    Boxing could so totally be your olympic level sport.

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