Thursday, September 15, 2011

On Pain

The following was written by Dr.George Sheehan who was a long time contributor to Runner's World. Dr. Sheehan was unique in the sense that he was more than just a guy who wrote a monthly column answering medical questions submitted by runners. He was also an excellent runner,philosopher and prolific writer. His book, Running and Being is considered a classic. I really miss the fact that there isn't someone like him around today to answer the medical concerns we runners have. The following quote is informative,insightful and profound as it pertains to the subject of pain and running. As an aside,until I read this I didn't know the physiological origin of pain. Doctor Sheehan wrote:" I do not seek pain,but when it comes I accept it. Pain is simply a symptom of lactic acid accumulating in my muscles. You could as much say I like lactic acid as I like pain. Pain is a private affair. My pain cannot be felt by another. When I am in a race I know the others around me are also in pain. But each of us is in a separate cell. I can never quite know what the runner next to me is going through. There is but one answer to pain: go out to meet it, plunge into it,grasp it as you would the nettle. If your instinct is to withdraw,you are done. There is always the chance that you will push through it into an area of calm as the eye of a hurricane." Have you ever been in a race when at some point you felt like withdrawing from the pain?

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