Pain Can Be A Wonderful Gift Or It Can Tear You Apart

“What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.” Mark Twain.

Hi folks, welcome to another day on planet Earth.

Excellent discussion of love and falling in love (limerance). Based on a PhD thesis, if I remember correctly (after 20 yrs). From:

Excellent discussion of love versus falling in love (limerence).

A while ago I wrote a blog post entitled, “How do we become aware of that which we are unaware?” As I am setting out to write a book on my journey into increasing emotional and physical awareness, I was reminded of this post. I concluded that the answer, in my case at least, was pain – but pain combined with a willingness to learn.

I know that we all encounter pain in our lives, some suffer pain so severe that it destroys them body and soul. This is the kind of pain I have been fortunate enough to escape, so far. I’m talking about milder forms of pain, such as the emotional pain of a breakup, or physical pain associated with training injuries. I suspect that before the breakup, or the physical break in your body, such as a running injury, there was probably a milder form of pain that you refused to acknowledge (red flags) or post-workout discomfort that was more than that associated with healthy exercise (bad pain as opposed to good pain), a physical red flag for the athlete. So, how do we employ pain to avoid even worse pain?

triathlon, FitOldDog, over the mountain 2008,

FitOldDog suffering from good pain – finished first in my age group; all was well the next day.

The answer: We learn to become aware and we learn to more correctly interpret our reality! We re-open our minds – not a natural state for any human over the age of five, in my opinion.

Why do I say this? Well, we tend to create a road map of life in our heads based on our experience, especially those during childhood, defining or listing responses that worked at the time. Then these become locked into our minds and bodies as a reality, to be later trotted out where they no longer apply. My mom (dad) loved me, so why did my girl friend (boy friend) leave me? I ran like that when I was 18, so why did I hurt myself playing an easy pickup game of basket ball now I’m only 40?

FitOldDog suffering from bad pain - two weeks later of was having my first aortic surgery for my abdominal aortic aneurysm. Took me a while to put two and two together - bit this pain saved my life!

FitOldDog suffering bad pain; two weeks later I had my first aortic surgery. Took a while to put two and two together – this pain combined with the study of body awareness saved my life!

In both cases your road map was incorrect for the situation, and what you lacked was awareness of your reality.

  • What you learned about women (men) from watching your mom (dad) is a very poor predictor of how you will be treated by potential mates – they have different objectives, the majority being unrelated to your desires or wellbeing.
  • Your 40-year old body, if you’ve neglected it, is not so resilient as when you were a teenager.

That’s why I love to study both emotional and physical awareness – it improves my life no end. Give it a try!

OK! Back to writing my book!

-k @FitOldDog



  1. Glenn Jones says

    Hi Kevin,

    Glad to see you are still alive and kicking. I was wondering whether you have a timetable as yet for your pending ‘engine overhaul’?

    Best regards,


    • Hi Glen, thanks so much for asking.

      It’s been quite a trip, and now I’m scheduled for surgery with Tara Mastracci (marathoner – YES!!) at the Cleveland Clinic, as part of a clinical trial for a stent extension into my common, internal and external iliacs. Left side. This should stabilize the stent, stop the aneurysm from growing (which it is), and permit me to swim, run, and with caution, ride the bike.

      So, I’m going stir crazy not being able to train – just too dangerous. I’m signed up for Eagleman (half), Lake Placid and Mont Tremblant (full) next year, and if all goes well I should make the start line of each. I won’t risk my life to continue Ironman, but if I have to ride the bike standing much of the time to reduce hip flexion, so be it.

      I really appreciate you keeping in touch, and checking on my above ground status. I hope your training and other aspects of your life are going well?

      Kind Regards,


      • Glenn Jones says

        Hi Kevin,

        All is well at my end, though I think I overdid my weight workout today as a few things hurt more than they should right now (1.30am). Still, I’m back benching 95kg and am gradually working my weights upwards. I’m not aiming at 150kg power cleans or 300kg dead lifts as that is all in the past. I will settle for half those amounts and be very happy if I can get there and philosophical if I cant.

        You mention problems with hip flexion in the saddle. Have you tried an eliptical trainer instead of the bike until you get through the surgery? I use one a couple of times a week mainly for cardio training, but occasionally wind up the resistance all the way as a kind of simulated step workout (think hills in your case). It also has the benefit of providing some upper body resistance training while being relatively gentle of my weary knees. Just a thought.

        I admire your ambitions for running. As we both know, goals are really important. I look toward to reading your continued progress and wish you well.

        Best regards,


        • Hi Glenn, yep, elliptical trainer is one of my standard standbys with respect aerobic and general physical conditioning for the run. I use the ones that also employ your arms, working up to 1000cal/hr in time – not sure how long it will take to get back there. I really enjoy lifting, and it sounds as though you are on a sensible track. Keep up the good work, and I’ll be keeping people posted on my surgery. Can’t wait. Have a great holiday season. Kind Regards, Kevin

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.