Suffering: Optional

With the 2012 Olympic spirit blazing through London at the moment its hard not to get completely engulfed in it and then attempt some huge personal record breaking feats. And why not? Mo winning double gold in particular, and emphasising, “its all hard work and grafting, then anything is possible” inspired me to get out there and train. No more excuses. 
I’ve also found inspiration in another form, as I am finally reading one of the definitive running autobiographies by the brilliant Murakami; What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. He writes about the idea that pain is inevitable, but that suffering is optional. This was a philosophy he read an ultra-marathon runner discussing when coping with huge physical stress over a prolonged period of time without giving up, and its an idea he’s taken to heart with his training. 
So yes, basically it is going to hurt. Potentially a lot. There’s no getting round that, but it’s whether or not you give into your doubt or fear of coping with that pain that makes all the difference. There’s a choice there, which seems so obvious and simple. But when I’m breaking new ground, be it that extra kilometre, faster pace or steeper hill, its a choice I have to keep making, sometimes over and over again while running. 
Thankfully though I am not training for an ultramarathon, so let’s be frank and do away with my drama queen antics, the pain won’t be gut-wrenching (we hope!). 
It’s all in the eyebrow
Nevertheless, my training run today of 7 miles (11.3kms) was not off to a great start and I was feeling pretty lack lustre. That pain in the hip started niggling again and then a nasty stitch developed around the 3 mile mark (that will be that apple danish, more fool me!). But with a few well chosen mantras, some old school Chemical Brothers (Dig your Own Hole, ironically fitting) and consistently making the choice to push on through, in the end I managed a decent pace and finished the required mileage. 
Even if I did end up looking a bit like this. Ouch. 
This snapshot doesn’t quite show you how red in the face I actually go (crimson). Having pushed through the discomfort, and locked another training session in the bank, I do love those endorphins and the red face, dry mouth, salt in the eyes, burning muscles that they bring. Pretty fantastic after all. 
Plus I get to demolish a huge guilt free seared beef and mustard BOSS sandwich. Full credit to Mr R for making sure there was delicious post run food in the fridge. Gold!

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