Saturday, March 3, 2012

Stockholm Trainer Syndrome

In 1973, a small group of people were hanging out in a bank in Stockholm, Sweden. I suspect that they were minding their own business, drinking the free coffee, chatting with bank employees, and trying to figure out how to remove those pens nicely chained down in the lobby. As if to ruin their bliss, another small group of people comes in to rob the bank.

The bank robbery lasted for about 6 days. Everyone was quite civil with each other. The hostages and the bank robbers eventually became friends, despite the fact that the bad guys had guns. No one got hurt and the victims defended their captors. This was the birth of Stockholm Syndrome.

Nowadays, the term has been expanded. You no longer need to be in a bank. Or have a gun. There only needs to be a situation where one party is an aggressor while the other party is the aggressee. Next, there must be some kind of trauma: bullying, belittling, pain, suffering, abuse, etc. If the end result is a positive bond formed out of the negative interaction, BAM, Stockholm Syndrome.

I have Stockholm Syndrome. My aggressor- the bike trainer. It awaits for me in my prison cell of a basement. The 8 x 11 space has a sink and a TV with only basic cable. Riding on the trainer is pure torture. I spin my legs in tiny circles. Like a hamster in cage, I go nowhere. I am bathed in a pool of my own excrement (sweat). This corrosive material damages many of the moving parts on my bike. Let's not even think about the smell.

In fair weather, I love riding my bike. I go for hours on end with the pure bliss of being out in nature, wind blowing through my hair. It doesn't feel like work. However, after 15 minutes in the dungeon, I am in agony. There is no nature (I do not get the Discovery channel on my cable package). There is no wind (flatulence is not the same thing).

Recently, my attitude towards the trainer has changed. I am doing a lot more work in the basement. I ride about 5 days a week. I am mixing up the intervals. Even as I write this post, I am thinking on heading on down to the bike. I am feeling faster. I am feeling stronger. I believe I am faster. I believe I am stronger. I am crediting the trainer for my cycling fitness gains.

As I check the weather forecast, I know that I am destined to be on the trainer for the next couple of weeks. And you know what, it doesn't bother me. In fact, I am looking forward to the times. I have some repeated workouts that I want to compare my paces against. The trainer is devoid of the elements that can hinder efficient comparisons. The wind can work against you. There are no traffic lights in the basement. No cars are going to run you off the road. The risk of getting hit by a gazelle is at an all time low.

In short, I am growing to love my trainer. It will be a sad day when I hang up the rollers for the open road. Gone will be the bad movies. Gone will be the stink. Life, as I know it, will have changed and I don't know if I want it to.

This is Stockholm Trainer Syndrome. May God have mercy on my soul.

No comments:

Post a Comment