It Hurts So Good | Teen Ink

It Hurts So Good

September 16, 2008
By Anonymous

If you attend a high school cross-country meet anytime soon, there’s a good chance you’ll see the motto, “If you have to ask me why I run, you’ll never understand” on the back of someone’s tee shirt. Even as a die-hard cross-country runner, I’m not always positive why I subject myself to the constant torture of running.
It definitely isn’t waking up at 4:45 am each Saturday morning to ride on an out-dated school bus for two hours to a meet. It couldn’t be the crippling pain a runner must face every time they willingly submit themselves to excruciating training sessions. And I highly doubt that it’s the high risk for serious injury such as stress fractures and torn ligaments that can keep a person from running and even walking for months. So why in the world do thousands of high school runners participate in this grueling sport? Well, despite the myriad of reasons for staying as far away from the sport as humanly possible, many runners, including myself, have seen the other side of the story.
Envision the camaraderie that exists between people that have pushed themselves through so much pain and misery together that they know every intricate detail about one another. Think about the sense of elation and success one gets when finishing that last point-one mile of a 3.1-mile race. Visualize the extreme high you feel seeing hundreds of people leaning over barricading ropes just to cheer you on. And finally, imagine seeing a runner from a rival school just ahead of you and try to imagine pushing yourself harder than you ever dreamed to pass this person and gain a point for your team. This is my world.
The ten-mile practice runs that seem to stretch on forever and the intense speed workouts that make you throw up everything you’ve eaten in the past week are absolutely nothing compared to the unique and fulfilling pride that fills you after each race. Even when the times aren’t as good as they could have been, the mere fact that you just ran as hard as you could for three miles can give you a high that most people can’t even fathom.
The runners on my team have come up with an expression that epitomizes these paradoxical feelings into a simple four-word phrase: “IT HURTS SO GOOD!”

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