Tuesday, May 10, 2016

It's all in how you say it

Her breath came in ragged gasps. Her words, half-formed sounded somewhere between a sob and a moan. Our hearts pounded. It was starting to hurt, but we couldn't stop until we'd gotten her where she needed to be.

She'd asked me to do this with her. She said she could do it by herself, but it never seemed to work as well. She's my friend. Even though it was something I swore I never wanted to do again, she asked with such sincere desire that I could not refuse. So now, here we were, committed to see this through, not once, but over and over, to the limits of my dissipated endurance.

I tried getting verbal, but she hadn't really told me whether she preferred gentle encouragement or rough talk. This was happening on its own schedule, without much of a plan. Should I tell her to prove to me how much she wants it, or just tell her she's doing great? Mostly, I was too out of breath to speak, anyway.

Since I got married, I hadn't done this with any woman but my wife, and with her it hadn't been this vigorous. My wife and this woman know each other. There'd even been some inkling that we might all three get together for something like this. My wife and I had done some group stuff at this woman's house, in a special room she had made, with straps and devices... My wife had been more into it than I was. She went pretty regularly until the group disbanded.

My crotch was on fire. She said that hers hurt, too. It's only to be expected, going at it like that.

When we had finished, she asked if I would meet her again. I said I could only do it until my wife gets back. She said she understood.

It sounds racy, but it was only training.

We were riding intervals. My friend suffers from a problem that many competitors face: finding training partners. When I raced, I did a lot of riding alone. I also rode with groups, but you have to keep up the schedule, whether a group is handy or not. My friend remains highly focused on competition. As luck would have it, an indolent commuter and tourist like me still has enough residual energy to be able to accompany a female triathlete in her early 50s on a set of four, 5-mile intervals and only completely blow up on the last one. Not sure how much of that is beginner's luck. But she's asked to do it weekly for a while, so I'll get to find out if it kills me or makes me stronger.

I can do it weakly. That plays into another sex joke: the stages of sex life are tri-weekly, try weekly, and try weakly.

As a writer, I have a lot of things going through my head at any moment. On the first interval, when I felt okay and we had a nice tailwind, she was half a bike back, hammering hard, producing noises of effort that were, well,...evocative. Not surprising really, considering that effort is effort. Absolutely nothing else about the situation was evocative, but my brain just snatches up a bit of imagery and takes off like your ill-behaved dog with the half-eaten steak you left unguarded for ten seconds on the picnic table. It made me laugh, silently, as I breathed just as audibly as she did. I had no goal but to help her get a better interval workout.

As we discussed it in the cool-down after the last heart-stabbing, thigh-rubberizing fiver, we concluded that someone like me would be a good training partner, because I have absolutely no athletic ambitions of my own. But I have to tell you. This shit hurts, and I'm not all chuckles and smiles looking forward to the next session.

I had forgotten the energy that follows a workout that demanding. My legs feel like lead, but I didn't just flop when I got home. I resumed domestic tasks and I'm still awake now, without my usual afternoon coffee. The real stiffness will no doubt catch up to me in a couple of days. But tomorrow starts the commuting week, so I'll be spinning that sludge out of those thighs.

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