I was talking to this American cyclist the other day at DISC. She had been here for the track world cup, and was sticking around for a bit in order to prepare for the next round in Beijing. It's perhaps needless to say that she knew what she was talking about. I listened hard (you know, playing cool at the same time). We bantered a bit, she gave me good advice for my next races and I asked her about training. "It was so tough today," she said, "I spent most of the day in the pain box." I'd never heard this expression before, so rolled with it, making jokes about the only pain box I know being when Home and Away comes on the TV. And then she dropped something into the conversation that, despite a good three years of serious athletic training, any number of stupid hill rides and a human art gallery of bodgy tattoos, never really occurred to me before. "That's really the main difference between a good athlete and a great athlete," she explained. "The great athlete knows how to cope when they're in the pain box."
Let me tell you, I totally slaughtered people on the commute home tonight, thinking about the pain box.