Pain is temporary

A common understanding among athletes is that ‘pain is temporary.’ Many athletes know pain, but appreciate it in different ways. Here are two of my favorite.

Terry Fox created the Marathon of Hope and ran a marathon a day for 143 consecutive days to raise money for cancer research. Terry Fox was an amazing young man, who succumbed to his cancer at age 22. Terry Fox knew pain, likely better than most of us will ever encounter. But he also knew that his pain was for a greater cause – one more important than what he was feeling. Today was the annual Terry Fox Run in Canada.

English: Photo of Terry Fox, Canadian cancer f...

Terry Fox, Canadian cancer fund-raiser, during his 1980 “Marathon of Hope” fund-raising run across Canada. Photo taken July 12, 1980 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada by Jeremy Gilbert. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Haruki Murakami, author of “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” refers to pain in a transcending way. More than just a physical discomfort, it is something greater within us to overcome. To be able to consciously change a feeling is the result of dedication and of opening up to the experience.

Of course it was painful, and there were times when, emotionally, I just wanted to chuck it all. But pain seems to be a precondition for this kind of sport. If pain weren’t involved, who in the world would ever go to the trouble of taking part in sports like the triathlon or the marathon, which demand such an investment of time and energy? It’s precisely because of the pain, precisely because we want to overcome that pain, that we can get the feeling, through this process, of really being alive–or at least a partial sense of it. Your quality of experience is based not on standards such as time or ranking, but on finally awakening to an awareness of the fluidity within action itself.

Enjoy your pain. It shows you that you are made of more.

4 thoughts on “Pain is temporary

  1. My last really long run, in the midst of misery, I found myself wondering why I put myself through such pain. The answer that immediately came to mind was: because it makes me feel alive. I never even realized I felt that need before that moment, but I had to acknowledge it was there. Pain facilitates growth.

    • That was a great comment.
      It’s amazing what you can learn about yourself when you push yourself out of your comfort zone — both physically and mentally. I think it’s easy to stay hidden from ourselves, but we certainly blossom when given the chance, usually under adverse conditions.

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