Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Pain only hurts

On Saturday after my hard ride with Cycle House, I was laying on the couch catching up on Facebook. It was here that I saw a post from a friend " Finished reading Rich Roll's book on his life and Ultra Tri's and now onto Scott Jureks Eat and Run. ultra marathon man. great quote I will take onboard. "PAIN ONLY HURTS" 

My response was "What I learnt today ... I overcome my fear and put myself to the mercy of the boys again. For almost 40kms I couldn't decide if I wanted to stop and vomit or if I should just keep going. I kept going! and I didn't vomit (although I still wish I could) Totally agree - Pain only Hurts. Quitting often hurts more though. That one is from the book of Bec. Now to try and vomit LOL!!" 

But it has stuck in my mind since Saturday. Pain does hurt, but sometimes it can be debilitating and makes you lose your focus. For something so physical, it takes a mental strength to overcome it. 

I am lucky in that I have a high pain tolerance. How do I know this. Well, I had 3 kids naturally without any pain relief. I am super woman!!! But in this process, I have learned to focus on pain and use it. I learned through the birthing process that you have to work with your pain rather than fight it. And I attribute my 3 relatively quick labours to this. (Sam = 9 hours, Amy = 55 minutes, Mia = about 45 minutes) By focusing on the pain and mentally pushing it away, it meant that I could then push it to the back of my mind and then focus on what needed to be done. (perhaps thinking about all that pushing helped too??)

On Monday night, I jumped on Mince out in the garage and I planned to spin out 60km. I got about 8kms into the ride (12 minutes) and the pain kicked in. My hip hurt, the ITB tightness kicked in which radiated into my knee and down into my ankle. And my lower back hurt. This is pain I get all day every day, but it is just a higher intensity when I ride. It stops me running, but it won't stop me riding! But it took all of my mental strength to keep going. 50 minutes later and I had got to 40kms. I couldn't ride any further. My whole right leg felt like it was on fire. What I learned was that I could have quit at 8kms, but I kept going. I could have got off after 10 minutes and decided that the pain hurt. But I didn't because of one thing - Pain only hurts!

There is another pain as well. Emotional pain. Through my life, emotional pain and I have become good friends. This is the other type of pain I have a high tolerance for. There have been days where I have been consumed by emotional pain. There have been days where I could not focus on anything for the pain in my heart was all too consuming and I literally could not function. Emotional pain is something that I have suffered from for as long as I can remember. But I always found a way to smile and push the pain to the back, just so I could focus on getting through the day. 

Mental toughness. 

This is where I am strongest. 

Now, I use my emotional and physical pain. I get on my bike and I think about all the shit that pisses me off. I think about people suffering. I think about people dying. I think about the toxic people in my life. I feel the pain in my legs. I feel the pain in my chest. I let my physical pain and my emotional pain collide. And this is where I can explode. I can let the dog out and get mad. I can get angry at Cancer. I can get angry at people who just don't get it. I can use that pain and put it all to good use. 

When I feel that I am suffering emotionally, I have to get out on the bike and push myself to the point that it hurts. And just when that pain threshold starts to bite, I try and kick it up another level. And I find the more it hurts, the better I feel afterwards. It's almost like I have to feel the pain to be able to process it. 

A Lance Armstrong quote:

“Cycling is so hard, the suffering is so intense, that it’s absolutely cleansing. The pain is so deep and strong that a curtain descends over your brain….Once; someone asked me what pleasure I took in riding for so long. ‘PLEASURE???? I said.’ ‘I don’t understand the question.’ I didn’t do it for the pleasure; I did it for the pain.”

Another quote from Lance Armstrong: 
"Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever." 

The people I ride for also have to face this barrier. They have an immense amount of physical pain they have to endure. They also have an immense amount of emotional pain that they face. Pain is pain - no matter what. But it is their mental toughness that gets them through the day. 


My bike is my vehicle to Fighting Back. And I will not Quit! 

1 comment:

  1. Well done Bec. Your commitment here is amazing and you do make a difference.