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Eating a Pain Sandwich « Jocelyn Wong's Blog

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Eating a Pain Sandwich

How to Become an Asian Triathlon Superstar, Step #25: Learn to deal with pain (the good kind).

Over a year ago, my motto going into the Vineman 70.3 was “I eat pain for breakfast.” I made myself hurt during the race and had a big PR, breaking 5 hours for the first time. That was before I started attending training camps with Coach and teamTBB, and now I’ve been learning to eat pain for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Just to clarify, this pain I speak of is not the “oh I’m injuring myself” kind of hurt. This is the good kind of pain, the extreme discomfort that comes from pushing your body harder than it wants to go, but is necessary to get yourself to go faster than you think is possible. (So Mom, stop freaking out whenever my Facebook status says something about how my legs are hurting…it’s a good kind of hurt… otherwise I will block you from seeing my status messages, I really will.)

So it amuses me to no end that here on the French side of Switzerland and all over France, there are shops you can go to where you can buy pain. You can even buy pain sandwiches! How about that. The Frenchies are a masochistic bunch.

shopping for pain, what kind would you like today?

shopping for pain, what kind would you like today?

Over in Embrun, Blue Steel and I went to one of these pain shops. If I was going to be experiencing the pain that was Embrunman, I wanted to be prepared. I figured I should eat a pain sandwich the day before the race.

good race preparation, visiting the pain shop!

good race preparation, visiting the pain shop!

Inside the pain shop, the pain sandwiches stared me in the face…and SMILED.

a little creepy but cute, huh?

a little creepy but cute, huh?

What was this?! Pain should be eaten with a smile!

eat your pain with a smile!

eat your pain with a smile!

Blue Steel and I enjoyed eating our pain sandwich, and the next day at Embrun we were ready to hurt. We embraced the pain…we learned to hurt. Coco once told me to not fear the pain, because when you learn to deal with it while training, you can really push through it on race day.

Coach says dealing with the pain is different in the three disciplines. Obviously I’m still learning to hurt in the swim. Swimming pain is the hardest for me to embrace, but every morning I try to hurt a little more in the pool. I can make myself hurt most on the bike, but this has yet to manifest itself in my racing. On the run I don’t ever appear to be hurting…I take the pain with a big smile! Just like the pain sandwich at the pain shop. Smiling has been shown to have an analgesic effect on pain. But maybe I have yet to go hard enough in the run to make it really hurt. I am sure there are deeper levels of pain that I have yet to experience and embrace. But when I do…my times should drop to much lower!

At the moment I am merely a student of pain. I have much to learn.

in case you havent figured out what pain is in French...

in case you haven't figured out what "pain" is in French...

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