Pain-what is it exactly? In the medical field, we are taught that it is the fifth vital sign and that it is what the patient says it is-a totally subjective assessment. Some people live with chronic pain and they have become so used to living with it that to look at them, one would not even know they have pain. Then there is acute pain-the type that hits out of nowhere and is the most common reason for ER visits.
I have a very high pain threshold. Therefore, when I actually say I am in pain-that means I feel as if I am about to die if I don’t get any relief. It doesn’t happen often-almost non existent. I ignore aches & pains a lot. As a runner, that has made me very in tune with my body. I know what is normal and what is… well…odd. If it is unusually odd, I take it in stride and may lay off a day or so or do some cross training. It happened this past week when the top of my right foot was sore. Most of the time, the “discomfort” goes away after a couple of days without any fanfare. I usually foam roll, soak in a hot tub, and ice the area. Not a big deal…unless it persists, which doesn’t happen often either.
This past Thursday, 3/19 I endured the “pain” of 40 miles on a treadmill. I needed one last long run before the 50 mile ultra I am doing this coming Saturday 3/28. If not for the rainy day that day, I would have done those miles outside. However, I am really not into being soggy for that many hours, although I am aware that the day of the race could very well be rainy. Big difference-I PAID for that run! Plus, that long on a treadmill was something I had never attempted (nor ever wanted to)do before. I can honestly say in retrospect, it wasn’t that bad. I can also honestly say that it is something that I NEVER want to do again! I averaged 5 miles per hour and finished in a little under 8 hours. After each hour I would jump off, stretch, and take in my nutrition. I was trying to best simulate what I would do on race day. This was the aftermath:
Distance runners are a curious lot. Trust me, there are a lot of other things I could have been doing for eight hours. But I made a commitment to myself that I would get the training in and be as strong and confident as I could be going into race day. As I said in a previous post, I have no time goal, I just want to finish strong (although I have made a 10.5 hour prediction). The joy is in the journey. That is also the joy of running. For me, it has been a journey of self discovery. To be honest, the pain I put my body through has been to conquer emotional pain. I’m no different than a lot of you. I have suffered intense emotional pain. Running has kept me sane. Running has been my refuge. Running has been my best friend and confidante. Physical pain has numbed my emotional pain. To me, that’s a pretty good trade off.
So how did I get through eight hours on a treadmill? Well, my puppy dogs were my faithful companions and I also got by with a little help from my friends-
What would life be without music?! Since I don’t run outside with music, it was a real pleasure to be able to have it on the entire time on the treadmill. No need for T.V., Netflix or DVDs- that would require too much concentration. I just zoned out on my tunes. I might also add that I had some really great twitter friends giving me encouragement along the way. Those tweets were something to look forward to. The running community is an awesome group of people.
In conclusion, I have had a LOT of emotional & toxic “weeds” in my life. But as anyone who has grown flowers knows- the most beautiful flowers can grow and thrive amongst the weeds. I plan on being a hybrid. What about you?
Until We Meet Again,
Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back into the same box.” –Italian proverb