Thursday, July 3, 2008

You will suffer intensely

mas·och·ism - gratification gained from pain, deprivation, degradation, etc., inflicted or imposed on oneself, either as a result of one's own actions or the actions of others, esp. the tendency to seek this form of gratification.

Last night, the coach of my running group held a clinic for marathoner wannabes like myself. I arrived at the meeting place (a running store) early, a habit that I both pride myself on, and am annoyed by all at the same time. I milled around the store and looked at various GUs and shoes. I bumped into some ladies from my group and we chatted a bit.

When it was time for the meeting to start, the coach asked us all to say our names, the race we were training for, and any specific questions we had. One guy wanted to know what we would mentally and physically experience during the race. When it came time for the coach to answer this question, he said "You will suffer intensely." Rather than becoming afraid or apprehensive, I became giddy with excitement and anticipation. I can't wait for October 18th.

The idea of intense suffering, followed by glorious, raw emotion, is very appealing to me. I picture myself hitting mile 24, and the systems in my body start rebelling one by one. My stomach cramps up and my leg muscles start to numb. I hobble along like some zombie from a George Romero film. The simple distance to the next tree seems like miles. Eventually, I see the finish line in the distance and I'm instantly reanimated. I run, as gracefully as a first-time marathoner can, through the finish area, my arms raised in triumph, tears streaming down my face.

That's how I imagine it will be. That's how I hope it will be. I even hope for a little intense suffering. I'm not a masochist, or at least I don't think I am. I just think the light at the end of the tunnel will be even brighter if the tunnel is full of pain and feelings of insanity.

Yeah, maybe I'm a masochist.


Topher said...

So, any good tips to pass on? I decided this morning to switch to the Hal Higdon plan for beginners. I had been trying to follow the beginners plan that was posted on the KC Marathon site designed by the course designer (Emilio Valadez?). Anyway, it was way too intense considering the issue I'm having with my left foot, and tons of bloggers seem to have success with the Higdon plan. Anyway, any tips you picked up last night would be great as a post. Oh, and be sure to look at my latest post about a fun-sounding Saturday run event on 7/12. I know you have your group, but maybe you could blow them off just once ;) Have a good one!

Kristin said...

You are very brave! I prefer to avoid suffering as much as possible. The whole purpose of my training is to be able to run long distances while experiencing as little pain as possible--hopefully endorphins will help me transcend the pain... but I will agree that there is great exhilaration when the misery stops!

Anonymous said...

“Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.” -Lance Armstrong

Your coach is right - there will be pain - BUT, it's totally worth it. Nothing like crossing the line of a marathon.


mongolove said...

you are awesome. i love that you sneak in zombies here and there.