I’ll take the good pain

I have been enduring a significant amount of pain in my shins for the duration of this season, thus far. It has been draining and defeating, and before every run workout I dread failure. Tonight was different. For whatever reason, tonight everything was in sync.
As per every typical run workout I had snot dripping down my chin and flying off my cheeks as I sucked in each breath of oxygen and demanded driving power and stamina from my legs. Hail had begun to pour down on my warm, pink skin and I smiled with each step through the slick mud on the narrow trail. I felt refreshed by the cool, fierce pellets of icy rain and the harder it poured, the harder I pushed to keep up to the group ahead of me.
We were putting in a set of interval hill running in Kenna Cartwright park and I instantly felt incredibly free. It’s the only place where I can run as slow as a dying snail with spit dripping from my chin, and mucus plaguing my lungs, and then run as fast as the Kenyans with my arms flailing as wildly as Phoebe in Central Park, all in the same interval. It’s like a sweet mixture of pain and pleasure, and in some sort of weird masochistic kind of way, the pain becomes pleasurable. The more I sweat, want to puke, fall over, or die, the brighter and wider I smile, as if opening my arms to torture. Either that, or I was just relieved to feel the good pain. The kind of rewarding pain that tells you to keep going. The kind of pain that every good athlete feels when they are pushing their limits, without risking injury.
As we hit the seventh interval I felt even stronger, well perhaps mentally stronger. I had already felt the urge to puke my guts out, and my heart rate was pounding hard, but still I was good to carry on. With my legs dripping with mud, my hair matted from the rain, and the salt of my sweat dripping off my lips I bent down to run my fingers through the mud and swiped two streaks under my eyes. Sometimes a little mud on the face is all you need to feel a little bit more tough and little bit more like a warrior before tackling the final leg of a really bad ass workout.
Once at the bottom, I was grateful and relieved to have not only survived, but to have survived strong. Usually at the end of a run workout, especially after enduring miles upon miles of shin pain, I resemble somewhat of a deranged, flailing drunk trying to catch my breath before submitting to defeat in the fetal position on the cold, hard ground. But like I said, today was different; and I’m holding onto that for as long as I can.
Sometimes when I tell people my training stories, they ask me when I have time for fun in my life, and I tell them with a smile on my face that I have fun every day. Reaching milestones, conquering mountains, pushing through the pain, pushing my limits, refraining from puking, and painting mud on my face are some of the funnest and most rewarding things I have ever done.

4 thoughts on “I’ll take the good pain

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