Cardio is a cooking of the body. To start with, skin and bone and legs and arms are wrapped in fabric. Dipped, splashed and seasoned with chlorine. Or cold air. Brushed with grass, scratched with twigs. Left to bake a bit in the sun. But the harder it gets, the body cooks. Heats up. Turns over and over and over.
At the ‘limit’, a word that every person recalls in a slightly different way, each discipline will eventually finish you off.
Running is heat. You immolate. Lungs, legs are burning in an especially violent manner. That’s what makes you grin at the end, you are grinning through flames.
Cycling is a grinding, mechanical death. You pop and explode but it’s your machine blowing up with you. Wheels and spokes root into the ground and grind to a halt. You stare at yourself like you are observing a death from a helicopter. Oh, yep, he’s done.
Swimming. What is it with swimming? Sight and sound are dulled by water. The lungs hurt but they are safer surrounded by water. Your soul leaves your body. Peacefully. Water always wants you to stop, it’s been trying for the last hour. You are only ever a couple of kicks away from stopping. And when you raise yourself out of the pool the water goes still.