An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Embrace the pain -- it tells you you're alive!

I just felt, for whatever reason, that this was something worth writing about today.

I'd written a while back about one of my, for lack of a better term, life mottos in
Strain is effort burdened by emotion. This is another one, mostly related to racing. A mental trick for pre-race psych-up, and maybe a little competetive psych-out.

I remember reading a quote from Steve Prefontaine, talking about a race situation, "I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more." It's the seeking of that pain in a race, pushing yourself to it, embracing it, and then finding a little bit more. One other quote that I can't find now, said, in effect, "I know we're all out there suffering. I just know I can suffer a little more than the next guy."

And that's kind of my point. Not just finding that point of pain in the race, but seeking it, ENJOYING it because it's when you're most alive. We are most alive when we give our utmost, be that the pinnacle of our artistic ability, the farthest that our minds can stretch a technology, or pushing our bodies beyond what we ever thought they were capable.

I'd often tell my team mates, as we were warming up for a race "It's a good day to die." They'd give me a strange look, as if to say, "You're NUTSO!" At which point I'd say that line, "Embrace the pain -- it tells you you're alive."

I'd say it often times at a start line as well. Sometimes people get it. Most times not. The point of the race is to find out just how far, how fast you can go. And that hurts. Not injury pain, but performance pain. And the one that's going to win is the one that can push beyond the pain, suffer more than the next guy, and maybe even enjoy it.

No, it's not masochism. It's just what it takes.

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