Nice post Paul!
I will have to reread it a couple of times to pick up all the details. I think that your 100% analogy and what MOD said I can definitely attest to. My 5K run time is steadily going down ever since I have started a consistent strength program.
My bike training has been much easier also.
Robb, interesting thought on the swimming. This year my swim training has been easier to get into. I think that it is a result of several things. Pull Ups and Jumping Pull Ups have increased my lat strength and my lat strength endurance. Doing the mass gain plan I have done a lot of pressing which has really strengthened my shoulders. Used to be early in the year my shoulders would be the most sore from swimming. And the final key is that interval work has really increased my ability to perform at or near LT for short periods of time across all activities.
What we think, or what we know, or what we believe, is in the end, of little consequence. The only thing of consequence is what we do. -John Ruskin