On the other hand (The one that's assumed 'the claw' position all canoeists know about. The one where getting zips and buttons done up in the changing rooms is the most infuriating struggle known to man). Of course, the weather this year started out nice and easy, lulling me into a false sense of security. Ha, I thought. I must have gotten pretty tough the last few years, I don't even need a winter cag. Speed skins for the rest of winter it is!
And it is totally, utterly, addictive. Its the best feeling in the world. It isn't suffering. The exact definition is 'pain, distress, hardship.' Well, pain comes with everything. Whether its the gym, or your eyebrows, or going for a weekly run, exercise just makes you sore, its a given. Distress; maybe when you are trying to decide which lecture least needs your attention so that you can go and spend an extra hour in bed. Hardship; of course, in the modern sense of the word. Like exercise, nothing incredible comes from not having to do a little bit extra, having to put yourself under some strain. But hardship also indicates a lack of something. Winter training, ANY kind of training, is a 'gain'. I don't do it to suffer, or to feel more like an athlete. Not for any reason other than I just really, really like it. There is no lack - except occasionally a social life, which is in the terms and conditions every athlete is subjected to. Winter training is just a new way of pushing yourself, and it's awesome.