I am always excited about the prospect of a race because it involves testing my physical and mental limits. The goal is to push the boundaries further each time. The fact that I do not succeed every time is what makes the excitement great when I do.
As a runner, I've been very focused in the past 3 1/2 years, with some great results. Some came much sooner than expected, others took more time than anticipated.
Racing to your full potential - and testing if and by how much boundaries can be stretched - cannot occur without the willingness to endure extreme discomfort at times. But this is what allows us to find that pace that, as Alberto Salazar says, you can barely sustain. When we do, the mental payoff is the biggest reward, leaving us as satisfied as it does make us wanting more.
Excerpt from Running Within by Jerry Lynch and Warren Scott:
"Peak experiences, although they may involve a release of such natural opiates [that cause the runner's high] from the brain, have a much broader scope. In their book The Psychic Side of Sports, Michael Murphy and Rea White make it clear that when we push our psychobiological limits, the brain tissues record a remarkable range of mystical pleasures: extraordinary inner vision, peace, stillness, calm, detachment, freedom, floating, ecstasy, power, control, immortality, unity, mystery and awe. These are but a few of the psychic rewards of sport, otherwise known as the peak experience."