Sunday, April 3, 2016

My Sport's Funner Than Your Sport

Who has the most fun: swimmers, cyclists, runners, or triathletes?

This question was posed to us by 
Rudy Project North America CEO Paul Craig, and has morphed into a 2-post series. Dave Fisher (Connecticut) kicked things off with this Choose Your Own Adventure post, and here are some additional comments from a few members of our national team.

Gina (Virginia)

Credentials: Strong swimming background, in addition to having a daughter who swims competitively. Known to put her bike on the trainer at swim meet parking lot in between events. Consistently throws down at Ironmans.

Swimmers are the toughest:

  • They can sleep anywhere, anytime
  • They can look at nothing but a black line on the bottom of the pool for hours a day
  • They practice for hours a day to cut hundredths of a second
  • Have you ever tried to put on a kneeskin? Those things don’t give.
  • Meets last for 3-5 days, swimming twice a day and warming down in between, while trying to sleep and eat to keep going

Swimmers have the least fun:
  • Morning practice comes way too early
  • You only get to shave your legs a couple times a year
  • Chlorine is not the best perfume
  • Goggle and cap tan lines are not exactly cute

Swimmers have the most fun:
  • They never stop eating
  • Get to hang out with hard bodied, half naked people all the time
  • No one understands your dedication like your teammates

Joleen (Alaska)

Credentials: part fish/part human. Represented Alaska nationally beginning at a young age. Frequently 1st out of the water in her AG, even at large, prestigious races such as Ironman 70.3s.

Why is swimming the worst of the three in triathlon? 
  • No matter how hard I work it seems that I can only drop seconds from my race time. I still wonder how I ever swam a 100 free under 1 minute!
  • Outside of mixed martial arts, it's one of the few sports where you can get kicked in the face
  • I worry that so much effort increases the risk of injuries that might have been avoided if I didn’t work so hard in the pool
  • Beginner swimmers can actually be within a couple of minutes on the swim, depending on the race distance... I wish the swim were longer!
come on guys, enough with the Alaska jokes... no, this isn't Joleen's local pool

Why is swimming the best?
  • There is something about the peacefulness of the water, the rhythmic sound of your stroke and breath. Whatever my troubles are, swimming has always been the one thing I can turn to and my worries disappear. 
  • Swimming taught me how to set goals, skills I still use today
  • Swimming has brought me great friends, and through my Masters team I have friends in all age groups! We laugh together, suffer together, and encourage each other.
Stop it. No, this isn't her Masters team heading for a workout

Reece (Kansas)

Credentials: Reece the Beast doesn’t quite rhyme, but it is however accurate. Spends a great amount of his time standing on race podiums, whether triathlons or cycling races.

Cyclists are the toughest:

some have speculated Reece has
this inked in a discreet location
  • Cyclists aren't afraid to share the battlefield with motorists armed with 3,000 lb vehicles 
  • Cyclists not only pull their own weight up steep climbs, but also the weight of their bike
  • Cyclists aren't afraid to move at 30, 40 and even 50 mph risking great injury. Cyclists are involved in what are called crashes. What’s the swimmer's or runner's equivalent of a crash? Swimming into the lane line or wall? Running into a tree or bush? 
  • You are officially a cyclist when you’ve broken a collar bone. When are you officially a runner? When you poop in the woods? When are you officially a swimmer? When you pee in the pool?
Cyclists have the least fun:
  • You have to maintain and repair your bike
  • Cycling can get expensive: bike, clothes, cleats, bottles, computers, spare tubes, tools, helmets, etc.
  • As previously stated, it’s dangerous sharing the field of battle with motorists armed with 3,000 pound vehicles
Cyclists have the most fun:
  • You get to go fast, 30, 40 even 50 mph! You are rewarded with a descent after a tough climb and get to say “wheeeeeee”
  • You can see 50 to 100 miles of scenery on a single ride
  • You get to work as a team, taking turns pulling at the front, forming echelons to decrease wind drag and signaling road hazards
  • You get to chase KOMs (King of the Mountain) link --- on Strava

Check out Dave Fisher’s (Connecticut) comments on biking in Part 1 of this series:  Choose Your Own Adventure 

Elaina (Iowa)

Credentials: ran in college. Heading to Kona this year after qualifying at IMWI with a smokin run split. Kinesiology professor who does research on this stuff. Coaches triathletes & local cross country team

Running is the toughest:

  • Physiologically, running requires the most energy calorically, and the weight bearing impact placed in each step you take makes running undoubtedly the hardest mode of exercise
  • Mentally, running is the toughest as well! Some researchers support the concept that many elite runners are not actually physically superior, but may have a significantly higher pain tolerance that allows them to push themselves when the going gets tough!
Running is the least fun:
  • Because of the physical demands placed on the body, runners tend to have the highest incidents of injury. Mostly because we don’t know how to stop. Instead of taking a day off when we feel pain, we push it until we get some horrendously painful thing that we can’t get through
  • There is no glory for most of us in the sport of running…. We spend hours upon hours training for races that have few spectators, and we gain a measly medal at best. Distance runners are undoubtedly self-motivated!
Whether on dirt, snow, or sand, your only chance of beating Elaina is if she wears this again

Running is the most fun:
  • There is nothing more natural than running. It is one of the only sports that anyone can truly be good at, and the more you put in, the more you can improve
  • Technique really isn’t that important when compared to most other sports
  • Another awesome thing about running is you don’t need equipment, you can just walk outside and go! All you need is a pair of shoes, and a good attitude!
  • There are so many awesome places you can explore while running- and you need virtually no skill... Bike trails, sidewalks, grass paths, the woods, the options are endless!
  • There is nothing more mind clearing and invigorating than running through the woods by yourself! Running can also be done in nearly any climate- load up on the winter layers, and head on out!

Chad (North Carolina)

Credentials: ran in college. Ran 2:50 at Boston Marathon. Has coached on several levels.

Runners are the toughest:

  • Running has always been viewed as the punishment of other sports. No wonder why people hate running... You start running, you are sore - everywhere!
  • Heart rate is the highest and your lungs burn after races
  • Drafting is nearly non existent. Sure there is drafting, but it's not as effective as in cycling or swimming.

Sometimes a tough run will make you feel like this

Running is the least fun:
  • Because of the nature of the weight bearing, runners are more prone to injury
  • You hear "run Forrest run" daily
  • Your fitness is lost quickly
Running is the most fun:
  • It's where most triathlons are won
  • You can get lost on the smallest trails, have your dog join you and doesn't require much equipment
  • You can blast music while enjoying fresh air and stay safe

Jeff (Oregon)

Really fast. Won our president’s physical fitness challenge with a 4:47 mile. Tough as nails.

Everyone used to tell me that running was fun. So I started running and hated it. After some time, in some weird, warped way, it became fun.

I race triathlons, but I’m really just a runner in disguise.

Why is running the worst of the three in triathlon?
  • Running has to be the toughest part of a race simply by subtraction. I start with a nice relaxing swim. On the bike, I can coast but if I stop moving on the run, I stop moving. I’m tired, my stomach is turning. There is no other way to term it but, difficult.
Why is running the best of the three in triathlon?
  • I can sum up why in two simple words. FINISH LINE! There is no other discipline that propels you across the finish line but running. 
  • It is the one that you get to celebrate the most when it is over and that makes it in every sense of the term FUN

Of course as a site and national team devoted to triathlon, our answer to the question “who has the most fun” is clearly triathletes! Why not have the best of all three worlds??

Thanks to Rudy Project for being the catalyst for these posts.

Check out the full arsenal of Rudy Project sunglasses, helmets, and other products at:

As a side note, I personally had my first race of the season last week... the Iron Cowboy (he of the incredible 50/50/50 and a Rudy Project ambassador) spoke pre-race, which was pretty awesome. He talked about how he was clinging to the wall at his first triathlon (pool swim) not too many years ago. He said the great thing about doing your first is, "I guarantee you you’ll set a PR!"

Whether you're a cagey veteran or looking to do your first, get out and race! Triathletes definitely have the most fun.

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