Pain is an often misused or misunderstood word. There is pain due to an injury: something hurts, there is mental pain or anguish, and there is pain associated with pushing your own physical limits.
One of my workouts is a 90 minute inquisition starting with high-rpm drills (1 min x100,110,120 rpm, 3X through), followed by six repetitions of 6min near-maximum effort 90-100 rpm riding, then 4 min 90-100 rpm lower effort recovery. Six minutes is a long time to pedal at maximum effort. It’s hard to not look at the watch, because each time I do, only 30 seconds have passed. It reminds me of the 20-minute time trial when I competed in the Cadence Kona Challenge in October. After eight minutes, I stopped paying attention to my heart rate and just focused on keeping my rpms up. The next twelve minutes were an eternity, the last two of which were agonizing.
I am amazed by the physical ability of others, which in part is what helps to motivate me. Pushing physical limits can be painful, but in some sense, it is“purification through pain.” Next time the limit is a little further. Hence, the Spanish Inquisition photo (just in case you didn’t get the Monty Python reference). “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise!”