Somewhere in my high school psychology class, I seem to remember something about the few basic things all humans need to survive: food, water, shelter and avoidance of pain ( I think sex is in there, or maybe that's just me?).
If you get 10 people together from any part of the world, chances are they won't agree on the kind of food, water or shelter, but avoidance of pain, that's universal, pain hurts, pain makes you feel bad and for the most part all of us do our best to avoid it.
Unless of course you are an endurance athlete, as an endurance athlete, eventually you are going to come across that good 'ol line in the sand, that moment where you come face to face with your maximum pain threshold. While most people would turn and run the other way, endurance athletes are smacked right in the face with the decision, "do I take another step, ride another rotation, swim another stroke, or do I give up and turn back."
Can I take any more of this pain?
It's the ability to spit in the eye of pain and decide, "today, I conquer that pain, today, I decide how far and how much I can take and pain be damned, today I do something amazing." It's that attitude that separates the endurance athlete from the health club posers and the Lincoln Park Trixies.
Saturday I was privileged to watch 11 people of all different speeds and fitness levels go further and farther than most of them ever have, as they turned their backs on pain and conquered The Hill.
On paper it is the makings of a good bar joke: "What do you get when
you get a world class athlete, four college girls, two 40 year old men,
a mother of two, a hung over woman and suburban husband and a dude
On Saturday there was no joking around, just work, sweat and a lot of
pain. The Hill otherwise known as the driveway leading up the Willow
Hill Golf Course in Glenview is a man eating .6 miles up and .6 miles
down, our goal was 10 miles of up and down. While this may seem like a
weird way to workout, over training your muscles like this, on
occasion, will make you stronger and faster.
Mark Twain said that " golf is a good walk spoiled." I will let you be the judge if that's true or not, the run to this golf course is epic.
There were no hidden pretenses this was going to hurt like hell, our
hearts were going to pound, legs ache and dinner may end up on the
pavement, the pain level was going be maxed out.
11 brave souls showed up including Cubicle Dad (he had no choice) World
Class Triathlete Mary Bradbury and her equally cool husband Scott, my
friend Darren, two Together We Tri. team members, Kim and Leslie who have never
run more than 6 miles and four girls from University of
Everyone hurt, everyone felt the pain and everyone worked through it. Many going to a place they had never been before in their lives,
reaching beyond anything they ever imagined they could do and then
There were blisters, cramps, a few really awful smelling burps, but
also a lot of positive energy shared as we ran up and down and up and
down etc. Everyone needed encouragement, a smile, and a high five to make it through the pain. Everyone got them.
At different speeds, different heart rates, we all fought through the
pain and did it. 11 people went out and reached that line in the sand,
passed it up and never looked back.
I was lucky to be there. We will be back, you are more than welcome to join us next time. If you want to hit The Hill the folks at Willow Hill welcome runners, they just ask that you let them know and watch out for the cars.