It's remarkable how tolerant of pain I have become. I don't know if the ability to zone out when things hurt is the mark of a successful endurance athlete, but I have many friends who experience the same effect. Still, I'm not sure that's so good either--I turned a stress fracture into a full-blown second metatarsal break from ignoring the pain.
Here's what I'm talking about: This morning I went to the track. I detest track work in the moment, but once I'm done and then when I experience the benefits of around-and-around I'm glad I did it. Because it had been awhile (and I'm still technically recovering from foot surgery), I went easy: 4 x 400, with 400 recoveries, after a mile warmup, and then a half-mile cooldown. My goal was to complete each fast lap in under 2 minutes, and I reached that goal--1:58, 1:58, 1:59 and 1:54. It felt good to be done!
When I returned home to log my workout I was curious to see the last time I had been to the track. It was June! But there was a notation in that log entry about my toe hurting so badly that I was going to call my ortho about enduring a second cortisone shot. Uh-oh. I had forgotten how much that second toe had really started to hurt me, but considering I eventually laid off the track for nine months, my sensible self was clearly trying to protect my foot from even more pain.
The point is that even though pain tolerance is a strength of mine (though not something really to brag about), I clearly had had enough a full six months before I finally got that foot and toe fixed (and this would be the right foot, not the left foot I broke in 2007). I guess the lesson is to listen to yourself, even if you don't like what you have to say.
And now for something sort of different: The folks at Beachbody.com have asked me to link some of their products from my blog to their website. My daughter tells me she has done the P90X workout and it kicked her butt, but that it's a quality workout all the same. I urge you to check it out (and the other beachbody.com workouts) for yourself--it's never too late to get into shape. They include the P90X2, the Tai Cheng and the 10 Minute Trainer.