I was surfing the internet recently and found a site called thesufferfest.com They have a great logo that is just a merge of letters: “IWBMATTKYT: I Will Beat My Ass Today To Kick Yours Tomorrow” I love this site although I would change it for me to: "IWKMATTKIHT I Will Kick My Ass Today To Kick It Harder Tomorrow." Anyhow, these cyclists post photos of their bike torture chamber. I will say that these guys get exactly what I am writing about in this entry.
I don't have an elaborate man cave like a lot of guys I know. I'd love to have a huge flat screen TV, mahogany & marble bar, leather recliners, wine racks, stained glass lamp overhanging a poker table for texas hold-em tournaments, and a library-like home office and yoga room adjoining the man cave of my creation.
I don't have this; I have quite the opposite…in a section of my basement I have what I endearingly call my "pain cave." The Pain Cave is a little different…it's bland grey painted cement floor & walls, furnace & water heater, exposed rafters , old PC on a tool desk next to a shelf of 30 used pairs of various running, cycling, & snow shoes. There is a nail spike in the wall over flowing with my medals from races, a few plaques from races leaning in various places, next to a rolled-up photo from Kala Patar in the Himalayas where I backpacked many years ago. There is another tool desk housing at least 4 tool boxes, a mounted grinder, router table, drills, saws, various tools and boxes full of well used bicycle seats, brakes, derailleurs, and bottom brackets. This is the view from the core of my cave.
In the middle I have a full Smith machine, as well as my gymnast style rings hanging from the ceiling, dumbbells and iron plates on the floor, pull up bar, an old mirror to watch my form, yoga ball, and at least one bike pulled off the wall mounted in the bike trainer ready to be ridden. The bike is mounted in climbing position and pointed at the old PC that no longer has sound, to watch indoor cycling DVD’s. There is a massive fan for the summer months to blow the sweat off me and plaster it in various places in the room.
This is not a glorious place to train in by most standards. No one sees what I am doing, no one can see how hard I am pushing myself, no one can see my cool new running gear and how awesome it is, no one is in awe when they ask you what’s the farthest you’ve ever run. It’s just you pushing it for whatever drives you. It’s not pretty like bounding down a gorgeous trail in the woods. I like to think that it’s the times that people don’t see or know what you are doing that helps define your character, builds confidence, overcome life’s obstacles, and help you to push your limitations every day. You may hear me state one of my favorite quotes “make friends with pain and you will never be alone.” Or there is “magic in misery” For me, it doesn’t mean that I am lonely and only pain or misery makes me feel complete…but at the end of the day, I need to make sure that if I have been able to push myself beyond what is comfortable, which usually involves some physical pain, that I have learned to cope with difficult situations and continued to pursue re-defining limitations. I use these learned characteristics to carry over into my marriage, parenting, friendships, and career. I’m not anywhere where I want to be yet, but I am enjoying the journey getting there. It’s no different than what I find on a long solo trail run….
There is a note to be made about this…Most of you know I am a social animal and I love to run with people, it just makes running those long miles a lot easier. But, I firmly believe that you have to make sure that you get in your solo time to really flush out those demons and learn what you are made of. If you don't push beyond your comfort levels, how do you really know what your made of?
So, no man cave for me for a while….just the pain cave.