Now that the triathlon is over I'm taking some time to focus on running, and I've noticed the biggest difference between the two disciplines.
Triathlon is very complex. Each sport has it's own skills to master, and there is the constant challenge of training for three things at once. It also has a ridiculous amount of gear; bikes, pedals, goggles, trisuits, wetsuits, swimsuits, et cetera.
Running, on the other hand, is simple. With only one sport to train for planning the upcoming week becomes a breeze. And even though there are many different kinds of workouts, there is a much smoother continuity between them: lift weights to build strength, run to focus that power, and stretch to keep the muscles loose. When it comes to gear I only need to wear three things; shoes, shorts, watch.
After the frantic pace of the last couple of months it is a relief to feel like things are slowing down, becoming clearer, more focused. Triathlon was a great challenge and one that I will return to in the future, but it isn't where my heart is. Running is my true passion. I find myself daydreaming about it's smooth, rocking cadence while I'm waiting in line at the grocery store, or imagining myself tearing around the track in anticipation for the afternoon's speed work while I'm walking home from school.
When I first signed up for the triathlon I did so as a stepping stone into regular running. I'm happy to say that my training worked; I'm out there almost every day, and my back has been pain free for months. I feel like I've returned home.