Why do we seek suffering?

I am often asked if I enjoy suffering.  The short answer is no, the long answer is yes.  I talk a lot about how we are all wired differently.  I’m either blessed or haunted with the ability to be thin and fit with little effort.  I say haunted since if I wanted to be ultra muscular I would have to work extremely hard at it and would still be behind others that are naturally built bigger.  Fortunately I’m happy with how I look and enjoy the fact that I can be strong and efficient in the mountains, water and adventure races.  God created us all differently for a reason so we should accept who / how we are and focus on more important things in life than societal values. Do I like to suffer?  Climbing mountains is constant suffering as I prepare for the climb with 50lbs weighting down my pack and attack the local peaks in my backyard.  But the reward is worth the effort.  This past weekend I ran the 200 mile Ragnar Relay from Blaine, WA to Langley, WA.  We had a team of 12, but one couldn’t make it due to the fires surrounding her house in the Winthrop area.  So we had 11 members, which meant we had to fill in the additional legs of the race with the folks on our team.  This actually put us into the ‘ultra’ category for this race.  We had a range of speeds per mile on the team, but didn’t go into trying to win.  It was all about the camaraderie and experience.  How it works is each team member runs 3 legs of the race (3-9 miles).  It’s continuous, start to finish, so you have to really find time to eat and pull in a quick nap.  In the 2 days we raced most of us only got 2 hours of sleep.  The great thing is that we suffered as a team! My race legs were:

  • 6.8 miles (mid day) – 7:52/mile pace
  • 6.5 miles (3am) – 8:02/mile pace
  • 3.8 miles (mid day) – 7:28/mile pace

The event had over 500 teams (12 members) all suffering, so at least I wasn’t the only one in misery.  Fitness events have definitely changed since I was a kid in the 80’s as they really didn’t have races like this.  Now they are the craze and I think it’s fantastic.  Anything that gets people motivated, in shape, having fun with friends, experiencing the outdoors and providing purpose is awesome!  There may be a few thousand racers having a hard time walking today, but very few that are regretting it.

Hebrews 12:11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. GSD GSD1

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