I had a nice 17 mile run today.
I guess I should clarify.
There were parts of my run that were GREAT! I kept a steady pace. Some miles were so rhythmic. The weather was nice. And who doesn’t love to see their watch say they ran 17 miles at a pace of 8:45/mile? (Well, if you run like me, you think that is pretty cool).
But there are the those miles that hurt. The first 2 miles for me, it was my foot. I had stretched it. I had prepped it by sleeping with it in the boot last night. I iced it last night. But alas, it still slightly ached as I ran my first 2 miles.
Knowing I was setting out for a long run today, by no means was I going to be a happy camper if I had to stop running because of my foot. So what do most of us do in this situation?
I’ll give it another mile and see if it goes away.
Sure enough, by mile 3 the foot pain was gone. I was enjoying my time out on the trails running. As I ran I saw other runners out on the trails, some battling a visible ailment – a woman ahead of me for a few miles had her ankle taped. Lots of knee braces were out today. A couple of limpers. A LOT of smiles, but yet, some grimaces. Made me wonder:
Why do we do it? Why do we push ourselves into a place of pain – and then ask for MORE! Are we INSANE!?!?
Running Pain. Hurts so good.
There are times, in my head, I just start singing the John Cougar Mellencamp song, “Hurt so Good.” I can’t say I know the song very well, but I got the chorus down pat. So when I am running, I am in physical pain from my love of running – I just hear the chorus in my head:
“Hurt so good
Come on baby, make it hurt so good
Sometimes love don’t feel like it should
You make it hurt so good”
Makes me smile….
But there is more.
WHY I let running hurt so good.
I know when it hurts, I am growing as a runner
My speed workouts hurt! They are short. They are meant to push me. I go fast, I recover, I go fast. The more I do this the faster my legs go the next speed workout. I can go faster. I can go longer. I build off what I achieved before. Come race day, I should see the benefits of all my hard work, which I have. I grow as a runner.
Pain is temporary
I watch runners push themselves. I watch some runners come across the line and break in the pain they have pent-up for the past mile or so. You go for your goal. Reach your potential. Yes, it is going to hurt – but when you achieve what you set out to do, the pain is forgotten. You just reached your goal – it was all worth it!
I am getting stronger
Some pain is good. Moving my body in the same way, for hours at a time can be hard on my body. My muscles get sore from simply doing the same thing, over and over again. But they are growing. Adding miles helps those muscles come marathon day, for sure. We build up our muscles to hold that kind of repetitive pain.
I am building my mental game
Learning how to cope with pain in a training run, helps me cope with pain come race time.
** Side note**
Of course, some pain is not okay to push through. I was out running 10 miles one day and my foot hurt so bad the pain went from the bottom of my foot, up the back of my leg, all the way to my back. I had to stop. I hobbled home, gave it a few days and still couldn’t run. I went to the Dr. and was diagnosed with a heel spur.
I was grounded.
Yes, I learned my lesson. I do not mess with knee pain. I do not mess with Achilles pain. I do not mess with hip pain. Those are pains I listen to right away. I have had those pains briefly and go right into R.I.C.E. mode for those bad boys (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate). Those are pains, like Heel Spur from Plantar Fasciitis, that if left untreated can balloon into something much worse and require a long recovery time. I am prone to knee pain having injured my knee so many times – I know how debilitating it can be. First signs of strain, I’m off! No good hurt there!
Running can hurt. And I keep coming back for more. Running makes me feel good. Running to my nth degree can feel good once I look at what I was able to accomplish.
SO, I say: “C’mon baby, make it hurt so good!”