I went out to do my prescribed training after work today: 45 min ride followed by a 30 min run at ¾ race pace. Off I go, riding riding riding running running running. About 2km into the run portion I see a pack of mountain bikers headed towards me. As I get closer to them and their features come into focus I realize it’s a bunch of people I work with out for a group ride. I wave and continue on, but not without thinking about the differences between our post-work activities. I’m comfortable with my dedication to my sport and the nerdy stigma that goes along with it, but in that moment I felt like that kid in the lunch room that sits at a table by herself. All the cool kids are laughing and having a good time and she’s reading a book in the corner. This also had me thinking about the different types of fun.
I’ve been witness to more than one conversation about “The Fun Scale.” I think the standard Fun Scale has three levels:
Type 1 Fun: fun while you are doing it. This is the type of fun my coworkers were having out there tonight. Riding, smiling, just all around having fun.
Type 2 Fun: maybe not fun the entire time, but when you look back you recall the activity as being fun. I love running and riding my bike, but there were moments out there tonight when I wished I wasn’t Spandex clad and pushing myself into pain. I too could have been riding my mountain bike and feeling like part of the “it” crowd.
Type 3 Fun: is NOT fun. It’s like when someone convinces you to come do something like rock climbing, sounded like fun at the time, but you get out there and realize you hate heights or just hate rock climbing.
I would argue that there is also a Type 4 Fun. Something like dancing until2amwith access to an open bar is Type 4 Fun. Fun at the time, not so fun after.
Obviously the Fun Scale is subjective. If I find swimming fun, you might rather put a pencil in your eye. If putting pencils in your eye is fun to you then your Type 1 fun is probably pretty broad. If you live near Type 2 fun fairly often as most triathletes do, then you probably hear those Type 1 fun people asking why you do what you do. I think it would be unfair to say that triathlons are always fun. If you haven’t done one in a while here’s a refresher of all those less than fun moments: chafe, snot, gels, cramps, GI distress, vomit.
There are advantages to being a Type 2 also. If you work hard at Type 2 it can make Type 1 even more fun, like Type 1/2 Fun. From all my Type 2, I’m fit and strong so when I head out to mountain bike I can enjoy it more. Same could be said for skiing or surfing. In fact, I wonder if there is a sport out there that never has a Type 2 moment. Skiers have to deal with the cold. Surfers have to deal with the reef (and sharks). I really can’t think of any sport that doesn’t have a down side, pole dancing maybe? I might have to try it just to find out.
I think just knowing that these types of fun exist is a good step towards having more Type 1. Maybe when you are out there cranking away on your carbon bike in your aero helmet you should stop to look at the view, or sing a song, or just laugh. Make it fun while you are doing it and you’ll probably do it longer and harder. Which would make you faster. And then you might win. And winning is always Type 1.
p.s. there will be a prize for counting all the times the word fun appears in this post.