I’ve been in a lot of pain this week. A lot. Running a marathon has literally been the most painful thing I’ve had to do in my entire life. Not only was I hurting immediately after the marathon, but this whole week has been a blend of slow movements, ice baths and newly invented swear words muffled under my breath. My penguin walk upgraded to a hobble and is now a slight limp [Go healing!), but my ankle is still problematic and hurts as I walk so I’m going to go get it checked out soon.
Pain isn’t fun. It’s uncomfortable. So much so that people spend their whole life trying to avoid pain as much as possible. But I think pain gets a bad rap. Pain isn’ always that bad. In fact, pain is a natural reaction to let you know when something is wrong so you can change it. Without pain, you would break your arm and not realize it, because there was no pain to signal that something had changed. Pain helps you get better. When pain kicks in, you get that signal that something is wrong and something needs to be changed. It lets you know that something needs to change and gives you the chance to change it.
Pain gives you the opportunity to grow.
Running a marathon isn’t fun in the traditional sense. You spend months running outside in extreme temperatures to race for one day and you eat a diet that you don’t always want to eat all to spend 3-6 hours pushing your body harder than you ever thought you could.
But every year, more people do it. Thousands and thousands of people willingly subject themselves to that type of extreme pain voluntarily. And they do it over and over and over again…
I think we like the pain.
Or at least I do. Maybe I’m weird, but I enjoy the sting of the pain. The part of pain where you get to the edge and think you can’t go any farther. Every bone and muscle in your body doesn’t think it could move another inch. Every fiber of your body feels like it’s about to snap. Going any farther seems impossible.
And then you keep going. And going. And going…
I really love that feeling.
The challenge is fun because of the pain. As much as it sucks right now to be limping, I’m limping around everywhere knowing that I did a marathon last week.
When I pulled up to the gas station and limped to the counter with an over-sized bag of ice in each hand, everyone sort of stared at me like there was something wrong with me, I just smiled to myself knowing they had no idea what I had just been through. Same for the people at the grocery store, on main street and at work. They had no idea what was going on, but I did.
Even now, looking back at the photos from Sunday’s Marathon, I have to laugh. It’s fun to see the pain I was in and look at the really agonizing faces I was making. No, it wasn’t funny at all at the time, but sometimes it’s the worst situations that turn out to be the best stories in hindsight.
I like a little pain every now and then. Pain reminds you that you’re alive. When you’re doing fine, it’s easy to coast through life in a state of semi-unconsciousness. But instead of living, you’re really only existing. Living means pushing through the pain so you can enjoy the highs. Enjoying the hard parts of life so you can appreciate the great parts even more. When you push yourself to the limits so much so that you’ve got nothing left to give and have completely exhausted your body of all of it’s resources and finally accomplish something you’ve been striving towards for months, you get to see both extremes in a short period of time…and that is a lot of fun.