My long runs are getting long which means they are also getting a little more uncomfortable, both mentally and physically. Physical is pretty obvious. Today I ran for 3 hours and 42 minutes (12 extra minutes due to getting a tad turned around on the trails) and around 2.5 hours I usually start to feel discomfort in my feet, my leg muscles start to talk to me (not angry yet, just a little annoyed), and I start feeling a little chaffed. The mental games start about 30 minutes later–“What the? Melissa, why are you spending your Saturday doing this?” “How will you ever finish a 54 km race if you’re already falling apart 3 hours in?” “You’re not as tough as you use to be…”
I was pulling myself up a long steady hill, 5.5 miles from home, feeling a little pissed off at myself for feeling worse than I believed I should, and my thought of the day came. “Its supposed to be uncomfortable, Melissa. If it wasn’t uncomfortable, it wouldn’t be worth it. Embrace it and push into it.”
When you set a goal, its usually because you want to in some way be better–getting your health in line, being a better parent, friend, spouse, employee…whatever. Being better requires being uncomfortable for a while. It means telling your ego to leave (not always fun to do). In relationships, for me, it means not having to be right. In running, it means being okay with a little chaffing, muscle ache, and over all fatigue– When I look at the pain/unpleasant sensations as something that is suppose to happen–like a growing pain– it hurts less and I’m able to push harder towards my goal.
Of course there is a time and place for comfort. Like right now, I’m going to make myself as comfortable as possible in my bed (air-mattress, we spent our bed money on plane tickets and tuition but its not so bad after sleeping with roaches and giant spiders in SE Asia and India)!