Pain With A Purpose

I was talking with someone today about pain he was enduring (youch!) and commented about what a baby I am about pain.  You all remember when I literally screamed at the dentist and broke out in a sweat while I got a cavity filled?   So, this person came up with a good question:  If you are such a baby about pain, how can you stand to run marathons, where you hurt by mile 20, right?

Good question.  Easy answer.  I CHOOSE the pain of the marathon and to me it’s worth it.  It’s pain with a purpose.

I know I’ve said it on my blog posts before, but when I prepare for a marathon, in terms of visualizing race day, I anticipate the pain.  I know it will be there.  And, in a sick sort of way, I sort of look forward to the pain.  Not so much the pain during the marathon, because that is hard to deal with when I’m in the moment.  But the post-marathon pain.  The ache in every step taken for hours/days after the marathon.  The aches the come from not even moving for hours/days after the marathon.  I remember the night after my first marathon literally waking up in the middle of the night and sobbing/moaning from the pain.

But the marathon pain is SO worth it because it comes with SUCH a deep sense of accomplishment.  This pain confirms that I put in 12 – 16 weeks of hard training, dedication and sacrifice.  This pain comes from putting everything that I have, literally, on the race course for (hopefully) less than 4 hours of running.  This pain confirms that I’m a bad ass.  🙂  I can bear the marathon pain, which DOES really suck and does last a long time, more than I can bear 20 minutes of novocaine masked “pain” at the dentist because it is pain with a purpose.  For me, that purpose, of completely dedicating myself to something and making it happen, no matter what, is worth the hours/days of pain.

I’ll run a marathon over getting a cavity filled, hands down, any day.

*****

And, how sad is it that someone does a search for “Top 10 Ugly Feet” and lands on my blog??!  But, on a more exciting note, someone searched “Flat Stomach Pictures” and landed on my blog.  Sorry to disappoint on the stomach thing and to fulfill expectations on the feet thing!

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3 Responses to Pain With A Purpose

  1. Chris says:

    While reading your post I was reminded of something that I learned about a couple years ago and maybe in sick way treasure the moments I have with it.

    I forget who it was put an ultra marathoner at the top of her game talked about running with her wolf. Not the real kind one with teeth that hunts you down but the figurative one that as just as real in your mind. She spoke about fearing this wolf and did everything she could to keep it at bay but to little avail her wolf would always find her, drag her down and if wasn’t careful it would stop her in her tracks. As she became more experienced and runs got longer she learned to welcome in the wolf and run with him during her lowest points. As time went she almost looked forward to his visits.

    I guess the analogy I’m trying to make is that the fear of the pain is often worse than the actual pain itself and with training and learning to plow through the low points we can enjoy and treasure the high points.

    • Love it! Yes, we do need to train ourself to plow through the pain. I think that my first couple marathons were a failure (in terms of how far off my actual finishing time was from my expected finished time) because I was grossly unprepared to deal with the pain. I let the pain control me.

  2. David says:

    I completely agree with this post. It reminds me of the signs you often see on the marathon course–Pain is temporary, Pride is forever. It’s worth the momentary discomfort because you know when you’re done you will feel like a million bucks.

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