Pain Tunnel

A year ago, in the hills of upstate New York, I was in a big van, talking to my new best friend Jennifer, who I just met for the first time in real life. We bounced and bopped around to all the 80’s music that was coming out of the radio. We had 2 hours to talk before we got to our destination and us shared stories about parenting, running, and what’s it’s like to be a bishop for an episcopal church. She was kind of expert on this since she was one, and I was not. We got back on the subject of running and training, and she was telling a story of one her triathlons and how the pain tunnel she was in was unrelenting. 
I casually asked her what a pain tunnel was like I knew what it was, but wanted to see if she knew. (I had no idea what she was talking about)

“You never heard of the pain tunnel?” 
“Well, no, I mean, no…no I haven’t.”
“It’s the hard part of the event, where you know, it gets hard.”

Oh, that pain tunnel. Yes, yes, I know that. I had never heard of it called that, and I actually thought it happened just to me. It’s the part of the race/run/event where I remember all the times I didn’t train and now regret. It’s about the time I am good at hating myself and cursing past Beth for what current Beth is going through. 

But when I had this vocabulary in my head, it all made sense, and maybe I should start thinking of ways to help me through these times besides cussing at my ghost of Christmas past. Especially when I do hard things, obstacles come up and need to be looked at, figured out so I can move past them. And of course, the parallels to everyday life are limitless. This is why I love running because of these life lessons. Here are some tips to help me get thought pain tunnels of running and life. 

Ask! Ask for help. Look up to see if someone who has been in the same boat can help you out.

Question: We all tell ourselves stories, and when the shit hits the fan and those stories are usually riding the same fan airflow. Some stories I have told myself before, and sometimes I still do are: 
 *I am too tired. *I didn’t train enough. *I always quit when it gets hard. *I hate running and everyone who runs. 
This is just your brain trying to win, and these stories are not true. 

Take A Break! Not stop altogether, but just take a moment so you can calm down, and see the problem from a different angle. Or maybe just check your body to make sure you have what you need. Maybe you need a drink of water, a walk break, or something to eat. Maybe all of the above. When you are tired and depleted, your brain will always win and then you turn into a toddler who is 5 days past on his nap and is on his 5th tantrum. I feel you, buddy. You’ll be ok.