No Pain, No Gain?


I have a really serious question to ask those of you who are wannabe athletes, professional athletes, weekend warriors, or full-time mercenaries in the war against fat and bad health:

Do you hurt a lot?

I’m not talking about chronic pain. I think that’s a completely different beast. I’m talking pain as a result of working out four to six days a week.

I also think those of  you who are lithe and perfect probably don’t know what I mean. If you are elite, if  you hold records, I’m sure you push yourself to your own pain threshold, but you sure don’t look like getting through the day is a struggle for you.

When I get up from my desk, I have to stand still for about 20 seconds to be sure my knees don’t buckle or I’m not light headed. But tell me. Do any of you experience these factors:

  • It hurts to walk, and it’s easier to run.
  • When you lay down,  you can’t get comfortable because a knee or an ankle hurts.
  • When you get up out of a chair, or out of the car, you’re stiff, and  you can’t just bounce up.
  • You fear falling.
  • When you get out of the pool, you can’t lift yourself off the side because you’re too weak, so you swim over to the ladder.
  • When you get out of the pool, you linger at the ladder until you’re certain you can put one foot in front of the other.
  • When you get off your bike, you pause because you want to be sure you can put one foot in front of the other.

I am at least 25 pounds heavier than I should be and I should admit that to myself. I should also realize that if I were minus those 25 pounds, I’d probably not have these pains I’m whining about. So, yes, I am trying to figure out how to shed the pounds. I’ve also stopped taking a nightly NSAID or other painkillers. I feel like it masks my symptoms and doesn’t really help. I do like an ice pack!

I have found joy in running, swimming, and riding my bicycle. I am a triathlete in training. And if that truly is the case, then I should be more careful about what I’m using to fuel this body. Like less wine and beer, right? Less white flour. Less red meat.

We shall see. Giving up some things is also painful, but I suspect that after a while one gets used to and grows to enjoy a spartan diet.

I also think this must be that perimenopausal hiccup informing me that unless I adapt to this turn of events now, I could be an old fatso in about two days.

Tell me about your experience. How are you coping?

By lavagal

Hawaii Kai wife and mom. Melanoma Stage 3a Cancer survivor. English Language Arts teacher, English Learners Coordinator, and Paraprofessional Tutor. Super sub teacher. Dormant triathlete. Road cyclist and Masters swimmer. Gardener. Mrs. Fixit. Random dancer. Music Curator. A teenager trapped in an aging body. Did you know 60 is the new 40? It is.


  1. Hi Paula. Yeah, I have aches and pains when getting up. Not necessarily muscular, but my joints – hips knees, lower back. I think it’s a sign of joints being less lubricated and youthful. Contributing factors are a horribly uncomfortably mattress that i’ve been promising myself to 86 for a couple years. Being overweight contributes to the problem, but it doesn’t keep me from trying.

    A friend suggested glucosamine for the joint pain. I’ve started taking it about a month ago. The jury is still out.

    I have experienced (very) premature menopause. I was peri- in my early 40’s and full-on by about 45. I can literally hear the grinding gears of my metabolism slowing down a little bit more every day.

    At the beginning of this year I stopped drinking alcohol altogether for about 6 weeks, stuck to a very low calorie intake diet and worked out, jog/walk, for 1-2 hours a day… to get ready for a trip to the caribbean in February. I dropped about 12lbs. but have more to go. It’s a struggle. I can’t bear to listen to people complain about how they can eat whatever they want and not gain weight. Seems like a cruel joke that for some people it’s so easy, and for others it’s a full time job.

    I enjoy your blog…keep up the hard work 🙂

  2. Paula,

    My left ankle doesn’t work when I wake up in the morning. I hobble around the house for the first five minutes carefully to let it warm up. Same with the first five minutes of every run. It’s not a pain that keeps me up at night, but I think it’s a stiffness from lying still for 7 hours every night. I think it’s a result of 20 years of daily running, and about one sprain every 1-2 years, starting wtih 7th grade baseketball. KN and I have both noticed changes in our recovery in the past five years, for me, at 29 I bounced back from every workout just fine, ready to go again the next day, eating whatever I wanted, and now at 35, I feel slow and it’s harder a lot of days. I rarely get good workouts back to back. KN is a little older than me and reports that it’s taking even longer to recover.

    I don’t think I offered any advice, just commiseration. 🙂 A turtle-slow warm up in all my workouts always seems to help me. Even in the pool, I like to swim a long, slow 15 minutes before I even look at the workout on the board.


  3. Rachel? Seven hours of sleep a night? What’s THAT like? LOL. Mahalo for responding. Who knew? When I see you and KN, or BW, or many of Hawaii’s other athletes, I always think to myself what well-oiled machines you must be. And then I think to myself that can’t possibly be the case. Everybody has their Achille’s heel, although that was my actual problem. When I hear from others that they creek and groan until they’re sure the muscles and joints are ready to go, I think that we’re all mere mortals, it’s all OK, and we can all reach our personal goals. I’m gonna find this video a friend of mine put on FB a few weeks ago. I thought it was kinda funny in a “rusty pipe” sort of way.

  4. Paula,
    Don’t worry you are not alone. Something always hurts when I get up in the morning. I limp around my house for a good ten minutes every morning. The beginning of my runs always include something hurting, but usually things get better after a mile or so. As a lifetime swimmer my shoulders are always an issue. I find now that I am getting older a stiff neck is in order as a result of multiple swim days in a row. The weight issue is a real bummer. I find now that I am older (46) taking the pounds off involves some serious effort. Like you I love the wine, but cutting out the wine and dessert is the only way I have found to cut the weight. Ten years ago all I had to do was a couple of extra workouts and the weight came off easily. I’ve enjoyed reading about your workouts. Keep up the good work. Are you going to join us for the Waikiki Roughwater Swim this year?

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