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Pain is Inevitable

In Haruki Murakami’s book, “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running”  he writes…

“One runner told of a mantra his older brother, also a runner, had taught him which he’s pondered ever since he began running. Here it is: Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Say you’re running and you start to think. Man this hurts. I can’t take it anymore. The hurt part is an unavoidable reality, but whether or not you can stand any more is up to the runner himself. This pretty, much sums up the most important aspect of marathon running.”

With my Thoracic Outlet syndrome and my 45-year-old body, I have pain every day. It is a fact I live with. I will wake and I will have pain. For me there is a magical part of my run, about 23 minutes in, my body, hot, stops hurting for a brief time. My lungs fluid and expanded. I may start to hurt again before the end of my run. That right side of my body where my first rib slips up may elevate during a run. That rotator cuff and shoulder socket may ache. The Great Toe on my right foot may be swelling or my whole right foot may feel tight. But I choose how to accept the pain. I can breathe into the pain I live with and make it go a little softer when I am in a run. I can say, there is that pain. Awareness. Then I can say the mist feels wonderful. Or even this rain, blowing in off Lake Superior, pelting me in the side of my head is nothing like the pain I tolerate every day. I can cope. I can run on. Running heals me in a way no other therapy has.

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