“To the pain…” is such a great quote don’t you think? From a movie filled with great quotes. “To the pain and beyond” is how I deal with running. I was having a talk today with someone who runs 3 to 5 miles and she says after mile 1 and until that last mile running is fun for her. I had to acknowledge it’s not quite that way for me.
The first half mile for me is running through the minor aches and pains of getting things moving again, ankles, shins, knees, abductors, glutes, back or whatever. At any given time there is something or somethings bitching for attention and complaining about being forced to move at all, much less move at a pace faster than a slow walk.
It’s a whole lot of boring painful foreplay for each singular, brief happy ending.
And after I beat those into a dull murmur then I have the effort of moving my large forward on a continuous basis. At no time have I had an experience that was ‘effortless’ where I ‘felt like I could run forever’. The runners high is a lie to quote Portal.
Yet I continue to do this an average of 4.2 days a week over the last 2.5 years. Why do I do it? Because of the sense of satisfaction I get out of doing something I didn’t think I could do and that the vast majority of people will never, ever try to do. It’s a whole lot of boring painful foreplay for each single, brief happy ending.
And in reading race reports and books and blog posts and talking with runners that seems to be why most do it. To take everything they have and haul it up to that giant wall of pain and then punch through it. The pain doesn’t get any less, it doesn’t go away, once you break down that wall and you may get hit by falling bricks and you claw your way through the hole but for most of us just getting through that wall, even though we know another wall is coming up, is enough.
The end justifies the pain so to speak.