When running an ultramarathon, you build a house of pain and learn to make it your home. I kept reminding myself of this while participating in the 2017 Everglades Ultras 50K trail run. Pain came in the form of a tight left quadricep that never loosened up and pain rained down from above as the sun baked me while running across the open prairies of Fakahatchee Strand State Park.
A runner must befriend pain to be successful in completing an ultra. Pain is the house that we build by putting our body and mind up to an intense physical challenge. The foundation of the house are the hundreds of training miles stretched out behind us. We hammer the nails in the walls with each step we take towards the finish line. From within these walls, there are windows into our soul and doorways that can lead us in new directions.
But this house of pain is only a temporary dwelling. We make it a home and learn to be comfortable with the discomfort. If we put our energy into trying to reject this place, we will miss out on all the lessons it has to teach us.
The end of the run will come. All things do pass. So enjoy your house of pain during your stay. Revel in it. Let it be your classroom. Look out its windows and see that many of your fears are smoke and mirrors and your daily worries trivial things. When you leave, walk out its door stronger than you could have ever imagined.