I enjoy pain, I haven’t always been this way though. I started enjoying pain yesterday afternoon.
I do not enjoy all types of pain. I do not enjoy the pain of loss, heartbreak, or breaking a bone. The pain I enjoy most, is that of a long run.
I run marathons every so often. Right now I am training for the Cleveland Marathon in May. My long training runs are 16-20 miles. There is no other way to describe the runs, except for painful. My feet ache from the constant pounding, my ass, thighs, neck and lower back are sore from hours of running. My inner thighs rub together so hard, they start to bleed. Eventually I lose my toenails.
The physical pain is nothing compared to what I endure mentally. My mind tortures me as I run. I hear the words, “You are slow.” “You will never finish this marathon.”You shouldn’t even be running a marathon, you are so slow.” “You don’t run enough.”
For the first half of my runs, my mind plagues me with these reoccuring thoughts. It takes all of my strength to push the thoughts out of my head.
It wasn’t until yesterday, that I started to embrace the pain and even enjoy it.
My wonderful boyfriend has been training for this marathon with me. I usually run 3 or 4 miles, at which point he joins me. Yesterday, I ran 15 miles. From mile 11 on, I felt pain. The vocies in my head were screaming at me to stop, they were telling me I didn’t have to finish.
It was at that moment, I decided to defeat the voices in my head. I welcomed the pain. I let myself feel every bit of it. I stayed completely in the moment and realized the pain wouldn’t last forever.
I told myself over and over, that this moment would not last. All I had to do was put one foot in front of the other. I watched the Map My Run app on my phone as I ran. I watched the miles change as I put one foot in front of another.
I finished my run. I was slower than I wanted to be. But, I learned a valuable lesson yesterday.
I learned to enjoy the pain. My body and my long run, were trying to teach me something. I learned that pain is not bad, and it can’t last forever.
Try applying that simple concept to something you are going through that is painful. Feel the pain, don’t be afraid of it. Remind yourself that it cannot last forever.
So, unfortunately I wrote this post earlier today, before I heard anything about the bombings. As a marathon runner, I have aspired for years to make it to Boston. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain, people are feeling because of the bombings.
It makes me sicks to even think about what happened today. A marathon is supposed to be a place of inspiration and motivation. There is such unfathomable evil in the world today.
When I first heard the news of this tragedy, I did not want to run the Cleveland Marathon out of fear, and then I realized that is completely the wrong answer. I can’t let fear take over, I must allow myself to experience the fear, just like my pain.
The only answer I have is to push through it and realize it won’t last forever.