...but so is pleasure.
Ever since I heard the LA quote, "Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever." it has been the mantra that gets me to dig deep and push through my athletic goals. It reminds me how relative time really is, and how as much as I think I'm hurting at any given moment, I'll soon be looking back on it from the other side, and wondering, "Could I have gone harder/faster/farther?" With that thought in mind, I push through the pain of the moment to find my inner potential, and never quit.
So if we understand the impermanence of pain, why do some of us struggle so with applying the same concept to pleasure? Oh, get your minds out of the gutter (there's not enough room for all of us in there!)... I'm speaking of the pleasure of the pallet! For one week, I abstained from my guilty pleasure of vanilla lattes and scones, and I FELT GREAT! Then came bike expo, with it's long hours, and high energy expenditure... we all fell off the health wagon at expo. But apparently the wagon took off at lightening speed because try as I might, I can't find it to GET BACK ON!
I know it's that damn hypothalamus! And if you're a fan of the Set Point Theory, you'll agree. I am currently at my lowest adult weight, but still carrying 23% (+/-) body fat. That's quite a few useless pounds that I'll be carrying over 140.6 miles. Improving body composition is one of the easiest (easy for who??) ways to improve VO2max, and hence, race performance. But if your body is happy where it's at, who are you to argue?
These are the kinds of things I contemplate on long runs or rides. Not long swims... on long swims I'm too busy trying not to loose count of my laps! Ha!
Another thing I've wondered about lately is self-imposed stress, and how people from all walks of life seem to do it, just in different ways. This idea started rolling around in my head when I started running downtown, passing by countless homeless on the streets of Seattle. I started wondering what they must think of me running by, with my matching technical outfit, $100 running shoes, ipod, etc. How ridiculous & indulgent I must seem to them, as I put myself through this rigorous training while they struggle to survive another day. I know that beneath the surface crap we're really not all that different. Bear with me here...
Any Matrix fans out there? Of course. Remember when Agent Smith tells Morpheus how the first matrix program gave everyone a perfect life with no struggle? And that it was a failure because the population rejected it? Well, I am not homeless (at least not today), so I train for Ironman.
I should have majored in philosophy. Did I tell you about the time I wrote a paper that won the class "think off" in Philosophy class? No? Well, another time...
Reprinted from No Try