MICHAEL LOVATO | Professional Triathlete




Pain Bank Account

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Bob Roll is talking about the Pain Bank Account. The Tour de France is on, and today’s stage is one of the most famous: Alpe d’Huez. Bob Roll is a funny man with a funny vocabulary; a funny way of expressing himself. And right now he’s talking about the Pain Bank Account. It started me thinking: is there such a thing?

He reasoned that the cyclists who are truly competitive in the Tour have several years’ training, racing, and ‘pain-building’ in them; therefore, they are able to make withdrawals from their accounts when the going gets tough. They can only make those withdrawals when the account is full; after years of suffering. The younger amateur racers are not able to tap into the account, because it’s not been topped off. In essence, they have not put in the work; not paid their dues. Is this why Lance has been so successful with the sport? His Pain Bank Account has had many deposits, from years of racing to battling cancer. Perhaps Bob is onto something.

It starts me thinking of my own Pain Bank Account. It starts me wondering how much of an impact my prior Ironman races have had on my success at my most recent race. Did the suffering and pain I endured in Lake Placid in 2000 help me hold on for the win in Tempe? And by that logic, did the pain I handled in Arizona serve as a hefty deposit to my Account; one that will be there for future races over the Ironman distance?

Only time will tell if my ability to endure the hardships; to accept the pain; to manage the discomfort will have reached a new level. From my current experience in training and training races, I feel I have already managed to up the ante with my personal pain tolerance. I feel that the effort I extended in April at Tempe Town Lake has enabled me to grow my net worth, in a Pain Bank Account sort of way.

Come October I’ll be interested to see what’s there when I begin to make some withdrawals. I look forward to seeing what is there when I go a-lookin’.

1 Comment(s)

Bolder on 7/19/06 said:

we’ve been talking about this for awhile in blogland… ie. making deposits in the Bank of Ironman to be withdrawn on race day.

miles, time, pain, sacrifices all go into the Bank of Ironman — but not suffering.

we’ve been discussing a theory that triathletes don’t suffer, but just experience pain. chosen pain.

unchosen pain is what leads to suffering. like say what lance experienced in your example going through his battle with cancer.

pro racers in the TdF choose their pain for compensation and glory. at any point in the race, they can pull off their race number, and their pain will soon be over.

people that have unchosen pain, like cancer patients, don’t have that luxury, and truly suffer.

what’s interesting about your post, is the connection between unchosen pain preparing your for chosen pain.

it’s a work in progress, a worthy discussion, and i appreciate your thoughts on the subject.

i like the concept of a pain bank account, i hope yours is flush with deposits and generous dividends, when you make that big withdrawal in October!

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