I hurt myself today, to know that I still feel. I focus on the pain, the only thing that’s real
My wife loves to tease me that I’m secretly a masochist because of the way I exercise. I get her point: I will go running in foul weather with a grin, I’ll go cycling in stormy weather while shouting defiance at the wind.
For the past 2 weeks I had been struggling with the winter blues. Sunlight has been very rare and pretty much continously hidden beneath a thick layer of clouds. Add a lot of changes in my life and a fair amount of uncertainty about my future and my anxiety had been off the charts.
So, today on my morning run when I was about 3km in I just decided on the spot… fuck it: I’m running 10km today. I hadn’t managed to run that far in months, I certainly hadn’t been doing any buildup to it.
The first half or so my brain was still going full speed, spinning through everything that had been on my mind for the past weeks… but as my body started to protest and my muscles started to ache it all slowly quieted down. I started softly growling at every breath as my primal side woke up and slowly started to take over.
The last few km the world had not dissappeared but it shrunk to just the rhythm of my feet on the ground, my breath, the pain and the slowly climbing numbers on my watch. Nothing else mattered, just attaining that 10.
After I made it I sat down and let the deep feeling of peace wash over me… runner’s high is a real thing and this was the first time in a long time that I got it.
To go back to where I started: all of this will obviously sound familiar to any masochist. I have seen all of this happen in my play partners. So, is my dear wife right? (Side note: “You’re right honey” is the strongest aphrodesiac known to man 😂)
I’ve thought about this a lot, but I don’t think so. There is no surrender here…. in fact quite the opposite. It’s the fight I crave, the adversity, the struggle. It brings out my primal side which is the source of my strength, and it doesn’t quit… ever. It would spit blood in your eye before blowing out its last breath, but never surrender.
So yes, I hurt myself today… but I did it by setting myself a goal outside my physical comfort zone, by giving myself a battle to fight. The pain and resulting endorphins helped me a lot, but ultimately it was the fight I needed.