Monday, May 16, 2011

Guest Post: There is no pain.

Who is Kelley?
Kelley is a former 220 lb woman turned elite bicycle racer, personal trainer and all around expert on how to humiliate yourself and come out stronger for it. For more on Kelley visit

My friend Marc likes to say, “There is no pain.” As far as I’m concerned that’s bull. There is pain, serious debilitating pain. However, I think what Marc is saying, is don’t give into the pain. Any pain, whether it be physical or mental. For me pain is completely mental. I’m far too lazy to push myself hard enough to experience severe physical pain. Luckily, the worst physical pain I’ve ever experienced was that of a broken collarbone, and with drugs and my boyfriends Ben  & Jerry I really didn’t feel much physical pain.

Let’s talk about the kind of pain we manufacture in our heads. The kind of pain one wallows in when they learn that they’re the only armature racer in a field of 87 women. All of who are professional bike racers, all gifted, light, elite young women. Lets talk about how it feels to stand astride your very expensive bike at the starting line of one of the most challenging Stage Races in the country knowing that you are 10 - 20 years older, and at least 50 lbs heavier than every other woman out there. Let’s talk about how it feels to watch their strong, slim bodies get smaller and smaller in the distance as they ride away from you day after day.

Yes, it was painful.

At first I was okay. Telling myself not to give into my head. I was going to take it one race at a time and do my best. After all I was good enough to get that far in bicycle racing. Then I started thinking about what Maynard from the bike magazine said. He kept telling me that races like this one only made people like me feel badly about themselves. He was right, I was out of my league. I tried not to let it show but I did feel bad. My head was beginning to get the best of me.

For two days and 3 stages I fell farther and farther down the pit of despair. My races becoming increasingly more pitiful with each effort. What was I doing there? I wanted to go home to my cat where all old, fat ladies belong.

Then miraculously as I was grinding my way up a 15% grade in the 4th stage of the race, someone called my name. They said “go Kelley…don’t give up…you can do it!” Then a few yards farther up the road another person called my name and urged me on.  I was in Bend Oregon, the only people that could possibly know my name were miles ahead of me, also on their bikes. Who were these people? Maybe they don’t exist on this plane but the were there in my head on that day. Their cheers told me that I was doing something that they respected. Yes, I was losing the bike race badly, but I was winning the battle with myself. They saw this and reminded me that in fact I was victorious.

Here’s my point, as Marc say’s, “there is no pain.” He’s right, as long as you’re strong enough to recognize it, look it in the eyes and then spit on it. Never give in.  Stop thinking about what you can’t do and start thinking about what you can do, and then do it. Do it because you can!

For more awesome Kelley posts, check out these favorites:“why-do-we-do-this”/“do-not-crawl-on-the-stairs”/

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