I am currently reading 14 Minutes: A Running Legend’s Life & Death & Life.  I came across this passage last night & it resonated with me – minus the high level distance runner part.

“I don’t want to misrepresent the nature of high-level distance running.  Along with pain & effort, the sacrifice, and the sense of self-loathing that arrives when you fail to perform to your own expectations, the sport is also a tremendous amount of fun.  Actually, “fun” is way too pallid a word.  The sense of exhileration you feel when you’re riding your pain, when after long & exacting work you’ve become pain’s master rather than its servant, is almost indescribable.

Often these peak moments arrive during training rather than in competition.  Maybe you’re running a series of 10 x 800-meter repeats in which each step is run faster than the previous one.  At the end of the sixth rep, you know you’re maxed out, that you can’t possibly run the next two laps around the track any faster or harder.  But after your minute’s rest, you throw yourself into the next rep & something happens by the backstretch of the first lap, some instinctive switch gets flipped.  You reach the edge that you intellectually know you can’t go past, but instead of easing back from the edge, you find yourself taking one small step over it.  That step is terrifying at first; any rational person would move away from the edge.

But a runner born, like the Kenyan or Ethiopian athletes, or a runner made, the kind that I was, learns to move toward it.  over time, you even learn to welcome it and then eventually you crave it.  What you assumed to be your ceiling actually forms your floor.  You look in the mirror & feel better about the person you see.  All you can think about is running back to the edge, and moving one more step beyond it.  You are moving on pure will.  The journey to the edge become intoxicating; dangerously so.”

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