Friday, January 30, 2009

Pain versus pleasure

Be careful if you run into this character to the right.

He's dangerous and will cause you much pain.

That's Wayne Gregory, my ultra buddy from Sidney, Australia. Went I went "down under" in 2007, Wayne adopted me and took master competitor on two epic outback runs - Great North Road and Six Foot Track.

On one run, the Aussie boys told me about the highly poisonous snakes. One bloke told me "if you get bit, mate, just sit down and have a cigarette; that's all the time you'll have left!""

With that warning in mind, I took on some of the most amazing trail I have traversed in years. But the point of this story is the levels at which I can - and want to - train.

Wayne and his cronies are wide open, lactate dripping, endurance pain maniacs. The first run I did with this posse was the Sydney Running Club's weekly Sunday run...we did an 18-mile loop around the city, a wonderful journey, but at a pace that nearly exploded my ticker. I could barely hang on through the hills, but made it. That was a slight indicator of what was to come.

Wayne has been over to the USA to run the Western States 100 mile. Regular training sessions prior to that race were unsupported 50 mile sessions in tough terrain. What I realized during that time was that the intensity level of Wayne and his cohorts was way above mine. They ran harder and dug deeper on every occasion.

I may have that sort of fire deep inside me, but at this point I just don't want to push the button on the pilot light. My jogs and wonderful slow runs in San Felasco State Park are a great place for my soul to rest. It's exercise, a lightness of being that is conducive to deep thoughts and thankfulness for my place in life.

So, I admire Wayne and his ability. But that's not where I'm at and may never be again. For at this moment in time, pain is not directly correlated to pleasure. They are separate and distinctive points, and I can enjoy one...without the other.

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