Thursday, February 10, 2011

I choose to battle the pain!

With just 3 days left before the Mardi Gras marathon (half marathon for me), tonight,  I read the perfect piece by Josh Cox.  How timely!  I have to say, most of my friends are NOT hard core trainers or racers.  I have to say, I am, what I personally consider to be, a hard core trainer and racer.  The drive within me to PR, before I run out of time, is awesome!  Oh, how I love it!  While I do not totally understand runners who do not share my passion, I can, on some tiny level relate because from time to time, I will run a race, "just to run it", or what I would call "jog it."   Sorry to offend with the ugly "j" word, but I personally find it to be a useful word.  When I use the word "jog", it means I'm out on an easy run.   I have no goals, I have no pressure, I have no plan, it's just easy running, it's joggingIn a sense, it can be like "smelling the flowers along the way".   While I do enjoy the occassional "jog", I really don't "get" runners who are not on a mission to improve, with a lot of passion.  Don't get me wrong, that is totally fine with me, that is their choice, I just don't "get it", or understand it.  It's foreign to me.

Below is what Josh Cox recently posted.  He sums it up perfectly for me.    So as many of us go into races over the next few months,
 
I hope WE have the drive to "keep the pedal down" and race to a new running goal.

The Portal of Pain

By Josh Cox
Running is a special sport. It’s you against you. It’s about pain, the tolerance of it anyway. Whoever tolerates the most pain for the longest amount of time, wins. There is, of course, that small matter of God given ability but the dynamics of running is the same for all involved: the more you’re willing to suffer, the better the result. We train day in and day out to delay the onset of pain; the fitter you are the faster and longer you can run before pain rears it’s ugly head. In every race and in every training session – when they’re done right, anyway – there comes a point when things get tough, when you have to choose what you want most: slow down and the pain goes away, keep the pedal down and the pain stays… but the hope of faster times and better fitness stays alive. You have to choose to battle the pain.
I’m all for the back of the packers who walk their first 5k or half marathon, it’s great they’re off the couch and pursuing fitness, but those who are content to stay there are missing something… no, everything, everything that I find glorious about this sport, anyway. There are things you can only discover about yourself when you’re pushed to the brink, when you’re on the razor’s edge, pursuing faster times, pushing human limits. It’s not a mile split – the pace is different for everyone, it’s the pace of pain. The pace when the questions mount, when you’re forced to come up with answers.
Francis Bacon once said,
“It is a sad fate for a man to die too well known to everybody else, and still unknown to himself.”
Pain is the portal to self-discovery… and I’m not just talking about exercise.
I’ve said it a thousand times: if I live a thousand years it will be tough to top my terrible 2005. Bad relationship, bad investment, spiritual oppression, my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer…  I could have been a case study for Murphy’s Law. I was in a valley, it was a year of pain, but I grew more and discovered more about myself during that year than at any other point in my young life.
How does one respond to adversity, times of crisis, or when things don’t go their way? Tough times reveal character, tough times provide answers, it’s where we’re molded and shaped.
A great way to discover yourself is to push your body to it’s limit – run, cycle, climb, lift – drop to the floor and do push-ups to failure, then try to do three more. Self-discovery is painful, but man, is it fun.

Thanks Josh - you summed it up perfectly.

Happy Running, Happy Racing, and Happy Jogging my friends!
 I choose to battle the pain!

17 comments:

Johann said...

Although I never run for time anymore I'm still a lot like this. I now push for distance and plan some crazy ultras in the next few years. I run slow, but I still push my body to the limit. To me it's all about reaching my goals and that is now distance.

Jim ... 50after40 said...

That's awesome - I love the part about whoever can endure the pain longer, does the best. This is a great post, I'm going to print it and read it again and again. Thanks!

Kovas said...

Have a great (painful?) race this weekend!

Julie Ard James said...

Good luck to you!! YOu have no idea who inspirational you are!! :)

Jennifer said...

Ha ha Ginny, this is most definitely you to the core! Some of us want to be just joggers, but no matter how I try I have never actually been able to just run for fun, almost always I get part way into the race and then figure, why not just go for it! Have a SUPER weekend! I am praying for cold.

winstead family said...

oh how i needed to read this post right now. i'm running new orleans too (the half). it was my first 1/2 last year and my 4th half since then. last year i was in a place so deep and dark dealing with the death of my mom (from stage 4 cancer) and a newborn, i just ran it to prove to her that i was going to stick to something and never quit. this year i am running it for a personal time goal and i'm scared to death...of the PAIN!!! i haven't been able to figure it out until now. i tend to be an all or nothing person...and as soon as i think i can't do it, i quit. i walk. then i get mad and go again. this year i want to go until i can't go anymore and honestly i'm terrified, but this post puts it all in perspective and i, too, want to "battle the pain." thanks for sharing!

Happy Feet 26.2 said...

you guys are so awesome!

Jenny - I hope you run the race of :your life" for your Mom.

winstead family said...

Ok I'm going to look for you!!! Thank u for the comment on my blog! I love your log :)

Chris K said...

FYI, you can race, run, or job in San Diego. Just saying.

This is a mantra that I used to carry in my wallet before it got stolen. It's from a famous Japanese poet.

We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.

Chris K said...

Ooops, I meant jog, not job.

Donna said...

Great post!!! I wish I could run just for fun - have tried many times, but I find I look at the distance, the time, the SOMETHING!!! Actually, I think that may be what took me out for a while. I'm trying to re-learn how to run now and do it for fun, but I'm only kidding myself. I am driven and will only do this if I can get faster, go further, and get stronger than before. (And let's be honest - my fast is your slow "jog"....but it keeps me moving on!)

Carlee said...

I really liked this post. Have a great race!!!

Jenn said...

Really good post Ginny! Lots of food for thought here! GOOD LUCK!!!!

Erin C. said...

Thanks for posting this...I follow Josh Cox on Twitter and he seems to be able to find just the right things to say to connect with those of us for whom running is a lifestyle and yet still a challenge regardless. I'm preparing to run my first marathon in May and all I've gotten from everyone --- family and friends--- is the question, "Why are you doing this?" They don't understand...even if I have to "jog/walk" the last six or seven miles, it's a challenge to me. I always want to push myself and learn more about who I really am. Otherwise, you don't learn much about anything, including who you are and what you can accomplish, at all...

Thanks again for posting this article!

lindsay said...

haven't read that article by josh - it was good! hope the half mar goes well today. i'm not very good at "just running" a race. i should have done that yesterday but i just couldn't handle the idea of run/walking it for some reason.

HappyTrails said...

Nice run Ginny - 1:48 - must have been your kind of weather ;-)

2 Slow 4 Boston said...

I agree/relate with this post 100%. I've been running over 10 years now, and I'm still in a position to PR, and that is what drives me the most (along with BQing). I'm not getting any younger. I want to keep getting faster until age catches up to me. Then I'll find another reason to run.

Like you, my first marathon took over 5 hours, like you, I'm now under 4 hours.