Pain is only temporary

Two hours before the beginning of the Eugene marathon, I warmed up by jogging a mile to Autzen Stadium, hm_1_m.jpghome of the U of O Ducks football team. I stopped near the entrance to stretch and noticed several plaques engraved with the inspirational words on leadership, teamwork, courage, etc. I repeated several of them not realizing then that one phrase in particular would come back to me during the last several miles of the race, to rescue me.

But first, I must explain how the tapering phase of my marathon training did not go according to plan. I came down with a horrible chest cold two weeks before the event which prevented me from running but for a few times. The day before the race, I was still coughing up phlegm but at least the congestion and overall physical weakness had seemed to have subsided.

There were about 1500 marathon participants at the start line and 2000 or so doing the half. The atmosphere was exciting and the weather at 7:00 am was mild with only a slight breeze.

To my surprise, by 10k I was feeling great, just running smoothly without extending myself, doing a steady 6:45/mi pace. To the half way point, I still felt fine coming in at 1:29:07.

Then everything changed. I remember slowing down drastically while runner after runner glided past me. I remember my legs feeling slow.15403-207-009t.jpg I remember being restricted to taking partial breaths so as to avoid triggering a cough reaction. Enduring this up to about 18mi, seemed like too much and I simply wanted to stop. I thought seriously about it and even rationalized that I may be getting chilled in the breeze and was perhaps putting myself at health risk to continue. And I’m sure it didn’t help that runner after runner continued to pass me by. Fortunately, I recognized these self destructive thoughts and diverted my focus to moving my legs, to simply keep moving.

By 21mi, my stride had shortened to a mere shuffle and my quads screamed but I knew that, with only 5mi to go, I had to finish. I was trying every mental trick in the book to keep myself moving and then I remembered one of the quotations I had read earlier that morning:

    Pain is only temporary, no matter how long it lasts“.

I repeated the phrase as a mantra for the rest of the race, numbing myself to the physical torment I was inflicting, right up to the finish line, crossing in a time that is neither my best nor my worst, but memorable because I pushed my boundaries, never stopped and proudly finished.

Yesterday: Marathon 3:16:54

p.s. one day removed, the pain still continues — mostly in the quads !

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One Response to “Pain is only temporary”

  1. Keith Granger Says:

    Good job tixxx! Way to power through it!!

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