Pain is essential to growing both physically and emotionally. Just three months ago I was finishing my first Ironman. With 138.3 miles finished, I had to stop. I had to lie down on the ground. People quickly rushed to my aid to make sure I was ok. I held onto that pain; it was that pain that kept me awake, that kept me from fully passing out. I think back to all the nights when I came home after a long day, and the last thing that sounded like fun was going to run or workout. It is easy to avoid pain. It is not easy to attack it, to allow it in, and to love what it gives you. It gives me strength. When I endure pain, I know I can endure more the next time around. The harder I can push today's workout, the more I will get out of it one month from now.
We all love success, but it is not the time that you put in, to get success, it is the amount of pain you are willing to put yourself through in that time. Without pain, nothing changes. With less than one week until my half marathon in Florida, I feel I have endured enough pain to put myself through the finish line in a time that will please me, glorify God, and reflect the hard work that has been done.
Recently my relationship with my girlfriend ended. I know from this past summer that I can train very well when I am angry, and I am spending a lot of time trying to better understand God's will. To give him thanks and realize his plan is working whether I understand it or not. Anger can be a tool that leads to good workouts, but it will not lead to a race that will glorify God. I must harness the anger, disappointment, and stress to better allow myself to race. For me to race well, I must be relaxed and not emotional. Being a bit excited or having adrenaline is fine, but I cannot let it get the best of me. A half marathon is relatively short compared to my normal races, but it is just long enough for too quick of a start to destroy the whole race or running a stupid mile.
I must take advantage of all the pain and punishment that I have put my body through in order to race the way I am capable of. I never want to shy away from pain because the path of least resistance is a path I want to be nowhere near. Anything worth keeping, saving, cherishing, comes from hard work. Anyone can give up and avoid pain. It takes a strong person, both physically and emotionally strong, to achieve greatness.