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An ultra-runner’s guide to pain

By on Apr 10, 2014
running motivation video

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows…”

So begins Why do we fall?, the YouTube sensation viewed by more than 11 MILLION (that’s not a typo) runners and other sports fanatics.

There’s nowhere truer than in the crazy world of ultra-running.

Take Scott Jurek. The remarkable runner is the winner of some of the biggest and hardest events in the long long-distance world. Badwater, the Hardrock Hundred, the Spartathlon, the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run…the list is endless.

But it doesn’t come without extreme pain.

As one report described the Jurek experience:

…the familiar assault begins 30 miles into a 100-mile race. His legs feel like they’ve been beaten by a baseball bat, and his suffering will only increase over the next 70 miles. Sooner or later he’ll contend with a pitiful triad: vomiting, dry heaves, and stomach pains from the stress of sweating, eating, and drinking while running continuously. And that’s the best-case scenario…

It gets worse – a whole lot worse. Especially when extreme running meets extreme heat.

During his 135-mile run across Death Valley, Jurek described how it “felt like my internal organs were liquifying.”

For the rest of us, the challenges are more manageable.

As the video notes, the pain is temporary. It may last for a minute, or an hour or a day, or even a year. But eventually it will subside, and something else will take its place.

And our limits? Well, limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.

So, when all is said and done, is there really a good reason why we fall?

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