Tag Archives: Lance Armstrong

Halfway Between Pain and Pleasure

Halfway Between Pain and Pleasure Nov 21, ’07 11:27 PM
for everyone

Last night, as I was trying to execute a complicated pose in my yoga class, the instructor mentioned something that caught my attention.  She said, “find that point between pain and pleasure in your stretch.”  A few of us gifted with more lively imaginations giggled, but it was the perfect way to describe that asana, and that got me to thinking what a very thin line it was between the two. 


I also recall reading a study published in a magazine a few years ago about the so-called, elusive “runner’s high.”  Curiously, it could only be achieved at a pace that was neither too easy nor too difficult for the person running.


Is this how it should be?  Is this the key to finding balance in everything we do?  Is this why the Buddhist teaching which shows us “The Middle Path” so important for us to understand?


In sports, if you slack off and have too many easy days, you can’t expect a good result.  But if you push way too hard, you can either get injured or will be just plain tired on the day of the big event and can’t perform as well.  And if you still insist on doing this over and over it would surely lead to extreme fatigue and burnout.


When is enough enough anyway?  Sans a heart rate monitor, speedometer, power output meter and other training devices, are we all equipped with an inner alarm that tells us when to keep pushing and when to stop?


Of course we are.  We are the masters of what is good for us.  Now if only we would listen.  I myself have wasted many a racing season because I would foolishly ignore my intuition and follow what others are doing because it sounded like it worked for them.  Comparing yourself to other people too much can be detrimental.  And this goes both ways—for I discovered that for me to do well I would have to do more than the normal share of long workouts, whereas for some people, short and sweet seems to do it for them.


Lance Armstrong (and just when you thought I would go through this whole article without mentioning him, eh), while being interviewed for a major international publication once, was asked what sort of pleasure he derived from all that hard work which he put into his training and racing.  He couldn’t understand the question and requested for it to be repeated a couple of times.  It wasn’t till later that the interviewer realized—pain was Lance’s pleasure.  Again, very thin line.  Driving himself onto this extremely high threshold makes sense to him though, and we all know that he has reaped huge successes for believing in himself, trusting in his instincts and ignoring the naysayers who kept telling everyone what could not be done. 


Find your balance.  Strive to be the very best version of yourself because you just might be surprised how far this will take you.  Testing your limits can be a truly rewarding endeavor. But most of all, take pleasure in the whole experience.


And if doing what you like the most means eliciting stares from strangers who conclude that you are one of the crazies from your weird whooping and grunting sounds on the treadmill, then so be it.  Hey, they called Galileo crazy once but he was on to something wasn’t he?

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The Fun Club

The Fun Club Apr 26, ’07 3:01 AM
for everyone

The Fun Club

By Ani Karina S. de Leon


I have to be honest-I am as much a fan of sports as I am an athlete.  At the very basic level, I think this is a requirement if you want to succeed in what you are doing—you have to be in love with it first.  Truly, madly, deeply. 


This is also of course applicable too in the realm of sports.  You act like a crazed telenovela addict and schedule your life around the airtimes of the games that you want to catch on TV.  Your wardrobe is dictated upon by the colors of your favorite team.  Your walls or desktops are decorated with various pictures of your sports heroes and you talk about their stats and details of their love life as if they were a family member or a close friend of yours.  You surf the internet endlessly on any information you can gather about them and actually own an account complete with user name and password on their website.


I’ve had a couple of phases over the years wherein I would cry (and this is really painful for me to divulge) if my basketball team (Purefoods, just in case you were curious) would lose to the opposing side.  I kid you not.  I hated having to show up in school the next day just to see the gloating faces of my classmates who supported the other squad.  Ugh.  The agony I had to go through. 


I once worshipped Michael Schumacher and Lance Armstrong so much that I would buy all the magazines I could find that had them on the cover.  Of course this proved to be a very expensive pursuit for me so I had to give it up and just accept that it was taking up too much of my time worrying if I had checked every issue of F1, Bicycling, Procycling, VeloNews, and the occasional Sports Illustrated and Outdoor Magazine Covers. 


People close to me know of my tendency to fanaticism.  A cycling buddy of mine relocated to Guam a couple of years ago and as a result had to leave most of his stuff behind.  During that period I lived and breathed the very thought of Lance and he bequeathed me with a door-sized hard mounted poster of the 7-time Tour de France Champion as he was distributing his belongings to his friends.  I placed it immediately in front of my bike trainer and would actually talk to the picture every now and then.


Being a genuine supporter, though, is even a step further than being a mere admirer.  I am aware of this because throughout my involvement in sports I have seen race volunteers and personal crews of different athletes toil much harder and longer than the participants themselves.  They have to wake up as early, baby their charge, forgive them for their grouchiness about the pettiest of things, and look after them when they are finished because they are the stars of the day—hence the royal treatment. I have been both at the giving and receiving end of this so I know what I am talking about.  My dear, dear friends once surprised me with a banner which said “Ani’s Fun Club” (pun intended).  I was so touched—if only everyone could be so lucky.


We like to classify sports into individual and team categories.  I say there is only the latter kind, and every triumphant athlete recognizes this.  Even the lone marathoner has at least one or more of the following: a spouse or partner, a coach, a training companion, a masseuse, a therapist, an agent, a manager, a sponsor, a psychologist, etc.   


No man or woman is an island, and in what we do it is no different.  The more you acknowledge and thank your devotees, the happier they will be to take care of you in every way they can. And the sooner you realize this, the faster your performance will progress.

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