Friday, June 10, 2016

Friday Links: On Pain

Hurt so bad
More than I expected that it would
Worse than that
It seems to be lasting just a little 
Longer than it should
~Morning Song, Avett Brothers

I am afraid of pain.

Thus, I try to avoid it if I can.  Sometimes, I get really pumped up and can lean into it while running, but mostly once it starts to hurt, I back off a bit.  

I had an "Aha!" moment earlier this week while reading the quote below from an interview with Kate Grace:  

"Also, I guess realizing that it doesn't get easier.  Training, I mean.  Normal runs do feel good if you're in shape.  But a hard workout or a fast run, that will always hurt.  I used to think that at one point a switch would flip, and I'd feel smooth and great on everything.  Feel how Dibaba looks...effortless.  I learned that if I was feeling that way in workouts, it probably meant that I wasn't trying hard enough. Improvement comes when it hurts.  I've learned to chase after that feeling.  Even if it can be a bit scary in the moment."  ~Kate Grace via this interview.

This really resonated with me.  YES!  I have been waiting for that same switch to flip.  In a run where I am feeling good and everything is perfectly aligned, I can roll with a little hurt.  (See Run Tosa Run 5K - 18:53).  But during a run where things aren't exactly perfect, I struggle so much with the hurt.  (Exhibit B: Sunday's 19:17 5K).

Why leave the comfort zone, right?


I feel like I can really drive down my 5K time but am inhibited by this fear of pain.  A 5K shouldn't be an easy run, although I often treat it as such.  I need to start practicing leaning into the hurt a bit more.  Thus, my goal for my hard workouts is to embrace the pain " keep going as if the pain of the race is an uninvited guest at my birthday party" ~Alexi Pappas via this interview I love this visualization because if you know me, I LOVE my birthday.  And if someone showed up at my birthday party, I would be pumped - the more the merrier.  

In the weird way that sometimes happen, embrace the pain was a mantra that frequently appeared in my extracurricular reading this week.  In addition to the two interviews linked above, the Mile Markers post was "On Suffering".  I finished Boston Bound by Elizabeth Clor in which I identified a lot with her type-A personality and how my mental side wimps out a lot. 

And I registered for my next 5K race - The Race for the Bacon.  I'm going to make it hurt and then I'm going to eat all the bacon. :)

(Thanks for indulging my love for the Avett Brothers.  Going to see them in concert tonight!!)


  1. I'm with you on the suffering during a race. When I was in high school, I used to go out like a bat out of hell and then crap out. Not entirely sure if (a) I was unwilling to suffer and keep pushing the pace, (b) I just went out too fast. Either way, now, in races shorter than the marathon (because the marathon, it's not clear you've gone out too fast until like mile 15 sometimes), I never go out fast which is like a self-fulfilling prophecy (if you don't try to run hard, well, you're not going to get much of a PR).

    Wouldn't it be great to live in the body of an elite runner and understand like what level of pain they are actually feeling? Like how much more painful it is than we have thus far allowed ourselves to suffer?

  2. Thanks for the shout out! I think the fact that you are becoming aware of this will strengthen you. Awareness is really the hard part, so now when you notice yourself backing off from the pain, you can begin to say "okay, here's where I embrace it." You are absolutely right- running does not get easier as you become more experienced. It's actually kind of the same, just the paces on the Garmin are faster! A good mantra for me (and I can't remember if I put this in the book) is "this is what I trained for." You train so that when it hurts in races, you are ready to push through!