No pain, no gain

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On Saturday Feb 18, I biked from my house across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito and back again. Why? For funsies. Why didn’t I take the ferry back like almost everyone else? Because I’m crazy I love exercise.

It doesn’t sound too bad and probably isn’t for a few people or most people visiting my blog, but I’ll get a few things straight. I was dehydrated and I don’t bike regularly (yet). In fact, since moving here, I’ve biked more than I have in the last 10-15 years of my life. If I had biked just once since moving here, that would still be more biking than I’ve done in the last 10-15 years of my life. Oh wait, I lied about that second part. I used Capital Bike Share twice in DC. I’ve gone on a few rides here. My longest being 15 miles, but that was broken up between mile 10 and mile 11 by a 2 hour stint laying on the beach. This ride was straight through. Not even a stop in Sausalito!

Here is a map of my general route:

This is only one way. I biked back too.

Again, this is only showing the to part of my adventure and I didn’t take this exact route. This map says 9.6 miles from my address to “Sausalito, CA”. My route was actually a bit longer.Β  I missed a turn when I went through the park, so I added probably another 1/2 mile there. One of the roads was closed to the bridge so I had to go around. On my way back, I went a different way adding another 1/2 mile. And I went past the middle of the town where most people generally turn around. So I think in total my trip was about 21-23 miles. Its biking, not running, so I don’t think the few miles that were added made much of a difference.

The way back was the worst. My legs hated me. They were screaming for water, calories, and rest. Every hill I had to go up was pure torture. On top of that, the wind really picked up. It blew me toward a few cars which I managed to narrowly avoid. I hope a few bystanders had a good laugh.

Was it worth it? Yes. I mean, I ended up getting really sick a few days later and I definitely think that my bike trip in my physical state didn’t help. Physically, I felt great the few days afterward before I got sick! My legs hated me the next day which doesn’t normally happen unless I run hills. I had some issues walking up stairs at the movie theater later that night which was comical to my cousin and her friends. Exercise sore is the best sore.

Unfortunately the bike now has a flat back tire which I need to learn how to fix soon.

I don’t want this post to be me complaining or about my ride and what I did. I’ll start with that, but really I want to talk about pain. Not really in the physical sense, but in the mental and emotional sense.

Here we go.

I have never been to Sausalito before. I think that really the only word I can use to describe it is adorable. That is a lie. Wow I’m just lying left and right in this one. There are other words to use too, but that is what comes to mind right now. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos to share because of my camera situation, so Google it. I plan on making my way back over there some time this summer and taking photos and spending more than 5 minutes there.

Now to the real partΒ  – the main reason for this post.

I was taking a break mid-hill on the way up from Sausalito to the bridge when I received a text from my friend giving me an update on the score of the Penguins game. I replied telling him that the hills were slowly killing me and his response was “No pain, no gain”. I’ve heard this phrase many times before – generally for physical activity related things like sports practice, training for things like Iron Man, or even when I was at skating and we talked about falling. I never really considered how it related to other aspects of your life – the mental and emotional downs you hit as your grow. I spent the rest of my ride thinking about how this little phrase can mean so much when considering your own character.

From the moment your born and your lungs yearn for their first taste of air to your very last breath, pain and gain are part of your life. Though, at birth, your mom is probably in way more pain than you are, but she gets a little person at the end of it, so I think that is fair. As you grow, you learn from your bad experiences. You learn what is and what isn’t appropriate at school. You learn to fail and how hard work pays off. You learn from feeling disappointed, angry, sad.

Each time you’re tested mentally, and I don’t mean through a school exam, you learn how to cope. You gain a greater understanding of the world and how you deal with issues and bad experiences. Over the last few years, I’ve learned a great deal about myself as a person and what I’m capable of. What I need. What I want. All of the bad experiences I’ve had either through work or in relationships – it has made me stronger.

Over the past few months, actually maybe starting once I graduated, there have been a lot of down moments for me. Dealing with dating someone who was emotionally abusive, moving three times, living in a city that I was not ready for nor did I actually enjoy, being away from my close friends, being homeless for a solid 3 months, dealing with student loan debt, dating, and one of my best friends being hospitalized twice in 3 months for a very serious health issue – and not being able to do anything about it. I learned how much I can deal with before that mental and emotional stress manifests physically. I’ll touch on that another time, though.

The point is, I’ve grown. I’ve learned. Each and every downfall or hard time I’ve had over the past few years has made me a much stronger person. Has helped me decide what I want, what I need, and more importantly, what I deserve in a relationship. It has helped me see how to be a good role model or mentor, how to deal with issues at work, and how to grow as a good manager. I’ve learned to actually be picky when it comes to making friends. Having the wrong people around you affects your life in negative ways.

If I had the choice to make every pain or every hardship go away for the rest of my life, would I take it? No. If there was a way to make sure that every moment I came upon an obstacle, I could just bypass it and get to where I wanted to be, would I use it? No.

That would take the fun out of living and I would be a pretty boring, spoiled person if you ask me.



81 thoughts on “No pain, no gain

    Mikalee Byerman said:
    May 10, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    This was quite the enjoyable post — despite your apparent sociopathic liar tendencies. πŸ˜‰

    I live just over the Sierras — in Reno, Nevada. And I can tell you from experience (in a car) that your route was a HUGE one! Nice job.

      paperballpotluck responded:
      May 10, 2012 at 6:17 pm

      Thank you! That was the laugh I needed today πŸ™‚

      I’ve never been to Reno. I’ve only made it to Tahoe once, but hopefully I change that!

        Mikalee Byerman said:
        May 10, 2012 at 6:27 pm

        You totally should — Reno is a beautiful place, and it’s only 30 minutes to an hour from Tahoe (depending on which shore). Just don’t expect it to be a “Little Las Vegas” … the people with that preconceived notion leave entirely disappointed!

        paperballpotluck responded:
        May 10, 2012 at 6:29 pm

        Its on the list! I’m not really a vegas person/gambler so I definitely won’t come at it that way!

    abichica said:
    May 10, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    awesome post!! i enjoyed reading it!! πŸ˜€

    Katie Raspberry said:
    May 10, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Very interesting post! Look forward to reading more! πŸ™‚


    Eagle-Eyed Editor said:
    May 10, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    I’m of the philosophy that bad experiences, un-fun though they are, help you better appreciate the good experiences. Great post and congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

    And wow! 23 miles! I’m in awe.

      paperballpotluck responded:
      May 10, 2012 at 7:40 pm

      Thanks! I was NOT expecting this today and was confused when my inbox filled with new followers and likes!

      Haha it is a distance for me, but I dated a guy that raced competitively and not too long ago did a 96 mile race. Crazy dude!

    Lyssapants said:
    May 10, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    props to you for doing that ride! Did you take any pictures along the way?

      paperballpotluck responded:
      May 10, 2012 at 8:48 pm


      I guess i edited out the part about my cameras… I was camera-less so unfortunately no! But I plan on doing this ride again in the next month or so, and hopefully will have a camera with me!

        Lyssapants said:
        May 10, 2012 at 8:51 pm

        Yesss! Must document!

    nazarioartpainting said:
    May 10, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Very interesting post

    ladyrara67 said:
    May 10, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    I took the Ferry to Sausilito & saw quite a few Bikes parked there once I landed. I’m scared of heights so you won’t catch me on a suspension bridge riding a bike across it anytime soon but I admire the people who do!

    ladyrara67 said:
    May 10, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    Reblogged this on ladyraradotcom.

    blissghana said:
    May 11, 2012 at 12:25 am

    am new here but loves the health and constructive comments made in this forum or site. Am really impressed.

    Am grateful to Dounia for introducing me to this site. happy here.
    I always love to meet new people, network and learn from each other

    Ammon said:
    May 11, 2012 at 12:27 am

    I usually think “no pain . . . hey no pain!” Seriously, I love pushing through the pain and getting in that last rep, or shaving a few seconds off my time, or even just pushing myself to total exhaustion.

      paperballpotluck responded:
      May 11, 2012 at 12:30 am

      It’s addicting πŸ™‚

        blissghana said:
        May 11, 2012 at 12:33 am

        Paper i strongly agree with you.
        you indeed need to put in some effort to get back on track. lol

        blissghana said:
        May 11, 2012 at 12:38 am

        I think what matters most on this topic is endurance. because if one does not endure it becomes very difficult to go through th pain before going through the gain

      blissghana said:
      May 11, 2012 at 12:39 am

      my big bro your analysis is fairly true. or ?

    lijiujiu said:
    May 11, 2012 at 1:11 am

    Excellent post.
    I appreciate your efforts behind that. I’m crazy too, because I love exercise.

    segmation said:
    May 11, 2012 at 3:23 am

    What a wonderful and beautiful ride and long one! Thanks for sharing!

    Grumpa Joe said:
    May 11, 2012 at 3:30 am

    I’m from Flatland and I rode the route from Sausalito to the Presidio. I agree with you about how painful an experience it can be. Thanks for sharing.

    sarahvercoeimages said:
    May 11, 2012 at 3:42 am

    Love that!

    Dreamz Infra said:
    May 11, 2012 at 5:52 am

    awesome post like it very much..

    Nelandir said:
    May 11, 2012 at 7:26 am

    You know that by saying you did 23 miles on a bike, you did some serious damage to automobile industry… well to public transport service at least πŸ˜€

      paperballpotluck responded:
      May 11, 2012 at 3:06 pm

      Oh don’t worry, I use public transit every day!

    Roshni said:
    May 11, 2012 at 7:35 am

    I think the same way as you! I’ve always wondered about whether I’d choose to delete all the bad times from my life, if ever I got the chance. But the reply always comes down to a NO. Those bad times and experiences are what made me strong, they helped me discover what happiness means and how I can endure tough situations. Loved your post! Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

      paperballpotluck responded:
      May 11, 2012 at 3:06 pm

      thanks! my friend made fun of me for taking so long to post this after the actual trip, but I had to gather my thoughts!

      I’m very overwhelmed with all of this sudden attention!

      Nelandir said:
      May 11, 2012 at 5:17 pm

      Erm, who wouldn’t delete bad times from his life if he could?! The point of life is that you can’t delete them. If you really wouldn’t, you haven’t experienced real bad times. The stuff paperballpotluck told us is hard and tiring, but, ultimately, she chose it. I agree though that life is shit without challenge, so yeah, you gotta push yourself but that ain’t bad πŸ˜€

    mycoignofvantage said:
    May 11, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Thanks for a motivating post. I am two semesters away from my undergraduate degree at the ripe old age of 37 and I may end up without a car. As I don’t live in a city this is going to pose a problem after graduation. I am on public assistance and have been unsteadily employed and currently unemployed for quite awhile. But I havne’t been homeless. thanks for keeping me focused by reading your post!

      paperballpotluck responded:
      May 11, 2012 at 3:08 pm

      Congratulations on your degree!! My mom just finished hers last year and she is almost 50 πŸ™‚ It’s never too late. It will all work out, just keep your chin up!

    The-Marnray said:
    May 11, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    I bike every day from home to work and back again, mostly at 7 in the morning till the evening. From that I estimate that I travel 40-50 miles each week on that two-wheeled frame of aircraft grade aluminum.
    I feel your pain.

      paperballpotluck responded:
      May 11, 2012 at 3:09 pm

      That is my goal actually, to bike to work every day. I just have to get the flat fixed on my cousin’s bike which I’ve been riding and then hopefully to get a bike of my own. It will be about 7 miles each way. Have to take a non-direct route as SF has some huge hills.

    tomp12 said:
    May 11, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    The word I’ve heard the most used for Sausalito is “quaint” – My problem with a ride like that is that I stay away from biking for months after!! Of course, I’m a lot older than you. Sausalito is a great destination! Next time bike over and take the bus back, or the ferry! You can jump on either from the square downtown right across from the old hotel! Check out my photograph from the top of the GG Bridge at my blog – haven’t written about that day yet but do have the one pix up. You’ve landed in a great place – keep up the writing.

    RunnerKM said:
    May 11, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    I’ve never biked before (other than the occasional mountain bike trip) but i am a half marathon runner, so I can totally relate to this!

      paperballpotluck responded:
      May 11, 2012 at 3:11 pm

      After forcing myself to run instead of bike lately as the bike tire is still flat, you definitely win out on this. I am a horrible runner and really don’t like it unless I am chasing a soccer ball! Good luck!!

    allshrink said:
    May 11, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Once I hiked 22 miles and had wished rather to bike next time. haven’t done it yet, but i can probably lie about it now.

      paperballpotluck responded:
      May 11, 2012 at 3:13 pm

      That is quite the distance! When I first moved here 7 months ago, I signed up for a 13 mile hike thinking it was going to be fine. But didn’t really think about the fact that I hadn’t done that kind of walking in about 2 years and definitely not up and down steep hills!

    Emily Josephine said:
    May 11, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    “no pain no gain,” or as my running buddy likes to say- “pain is weakness leaving the body!” This post has perfect timing, as yesterday we attempted a painful speed workout run. Thanks for the reminder that these experiences make us grow!

    Peter Parkorr said:
    May 11, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    You sir, understand! There is no gain, without pain. Everything that doesn’t kill you, eventually makes you stronger. I love biking, over the Golden Gate would be epic. I would add that you probably dont need extra calories to do that kind of distance, but if you get a good nights sleep beforehand and have drank plenty of water, take 2 will feel like a breeze compared. Enjoy, keep it up!

      paperballpotluck responded:
      May 11, 2012 at 5:49 pm

      Well I hadn’t really eaten anything the day before either, so I could have used some sort of fuel other than water in my system, but definitely next time will be MUCH easier. And a camera. definitely a camera.

      I’ll accept the ‘sir’ part….. for now…. πŸ˜‰ Sounds better than you Ma’am…

        Peter Parkorr said:
        May 11, 2012 at 6:27 pm

        Ouch, sorry! πŸ˜€ I would have gone with “You, Miss Potluck, understand!”. Yeah, I guess a carb or two would also help, hah.

        paperballpotluck responded:
        May 11, 2012 at 6:28 pm

        Its ok, most of my replies to work emails from people i haven’t spoken with on the phone or met in person are Dear Mr. ____. Its a surprise when they meet me and I’m this short, young chick. πŸ™‚

    Wanyasi said:
    May 11, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Nice post. I’ve always wondered about people who get really into running and marathons and all that but your point about the similarities between sport and the challenges of life is an apt one – there are so many facets of our existence that we can’t control so it must be nice to knock a challenge off and know it was all you.
    Maybe I’ll dust off the running shoes and get into.. actually scrap that, running is dull as hell.

      paperballpotluck responded:
      May 11, 2012 at 5:48 pm

      That is 100% how I feel about running. I hate it, but I make myself do it. Though, I’ve pulled a key muscle playing soccer yesterday, SO that will have to wait a bit…. I’m so… heartbroken…. πŸ˜‰

      I will only run for more than 2 miles or so if chasing a soccer ball.

    Richard McCargar said:
    May 11, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    I can relate to doing this under duress. I started blogging guitar licks/solos and songs, while recovering from a couple of strokes. It has been quite a challenge, but definitely worth the time. Congrats on your freshly pressed.

      paperballpotluck responded:
      May 11, 2012 at 6:06 pm

      That is amazing!!! Congrats and I hope that you’re recovery is swift. Good luck πŸ™‚


    dmayol said:
    May 11, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    Read your blog about biking to Sausalito. No pain,no gain is a bad myth in the physical sense. You don’t have to suffer to become a stronger, better person. We all go thru ups and downs and we learn usually not to make the same mistakes or how to better cope. I think you have managed very well for having gone through so much strife recently, incl. being homeless (which is for me devastating). I count my blessings now. You must remember to do so from time to time. And keep cycling!

      paperballpotluck responded:
      May 11, 2012 at 6:41 pm

      Well i wasn’t sleeping on the street homeless, I was broke and moving between short term stays and hostels for 3 months, so I did have a roof over my head most of the time. There were a few nights where I wasn’t 100% sure where I was sleeping that night, but thankfully had some great new friends to help me out.

      Not something I ever want to experience again though unless I’m backpacking/traveling.

    sleepyxyz said:
    May 11, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    I loved your post!

    karmacopia said:
    May 11, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Wow! thats awesome, great work!!
    I love working out too, its nice to just zone out and enjoy the ride πŸ™‚

    Kelly Guymon Photography said:
    May 12, 2012 at 1:35 am

    Loved the post! I’ve been in SF only a couple of times, long enough to get lost. It’s amazing how any experience like this can have profound meanings and be applied to any part of life. Thanks for sharing.

    Novelty said:
    May 12, 2012 at 5:36 am

    Many people miss the point that life without hardship=boredom.

      tomp12 said:
      May 12, 2012 at 12:16 pm

      I’ve seen plenty of hardship, and plenty of joy and so much more, but to miss smelling the flowers along the way, is the missed point to me!

    on thehomefrontandbeyond said:
    May 12, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    you made the phrase “no pain, no gain” make sense–

    cricketmuse said:
    May 12, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Yeah, sometimes we do crazy exercise stuff. Who knows why? Maybe just because we get “Little Train Attitude” going (“I think I can, I think I can”). Mine? I went roller skating a couple of weeks ago. I used to roller skate all the time. Letting ten years go by before sliding on the four wheels isn’t advisable. Also, it isn’t advised to get too show-offy. I have scheduled an appointment for my knee with the doctor. But it was fun until I yard-saled on the boards!
    Happy Pages,

    Micknail said:
    May 12, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    I’m an older guy (53) who has been around a bit, so you can disregard what I say because I’m ‘over the hill’ or maybe learn something! 1. Absolutely! No pain, no gain! Well done for the long ride, and your philosophical approach; much of life is like that, so push yourself out of your comfort zone as often as you can, and enjoy the view / ride! I surf-ski’d out beyond the line-up on my own today for the first time: old hat for many but terrifying for me! 2. Get a decent phone and put something like Garmin ‘fit’ or ‘Eldomondo’ on it: they give you a detailed map of every turn you make, your times and calories burned, etc. Fun to see exactly where you have been (check out my afternoon paddle on facebook 3. 100km cycling races are very popular where I live (South Africa); in fact we have one in Cape Town called the Argus which claims to be the biggest timed 100km race in the world (up to 25000 participants)! Preparing for that race I found your Lance Armstrong has the most amazing book with preparation schedules for beginner, intermediate, and advanced cyclists. They are great for training, even when you are not racing. My cousins in Vancouver belong to a cycling club that regularly races (but socially) distances of over 1000km (! Maybe you could join them someday! Carry a couple of rolled up spare inner tubes in your saddle-bag. With a puncture you can change a tube & be on the road in about 10 minutes and fix the puncture later at home! 4. I’ve got a mate I used to play rugby with in Natal South Africa about 30 years ago who lives in San Francisco. Maybe you can look him up sometime (Peter Burnett)! God bless, and enjoy the ride!

      paperballpotluck responded:
      May 12, 2012 at 5:22 pm

      Hey! thanks for all the advice. I’ve always wanted to get to South Africa. Its near the top of my “Places to Travel” list. Eventually i’ll get a nice phone, for now I like my silly one that doesn’t do anything other than Call and ttext. I kind of like disappearing from the online/connected world sometimes. I’m not 100% sure if I’ll get into competitive cycling. Not sure its my think yet, but you never know! If I do, I’ll add that race to my bucket list.

      Take care!

        Ad-lib Traveller said:
        May 12, 2012 at 10:56 pm

        Fab post, my first visit to your blog but what a way to start! This sounds like a fantastic trip to have taken and one that sounds as though it was a true learning curve. I did something similar last year with the 24 Peaks walking challenge which really made me look at what I am capable of any pushing beyone the barrier that I set for myself.
        Best of luck with the rest of your ‘Places to Travel’ πŸ™‚

    Sid said:
    May 12, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    Hey this is very nice indeed. Wonderful thoughts and very nice description.

    Joe Labriola said:
    May 13, 2012 at 6:48 am

    Just got my bike fixed B)

    liviagiordano said:
    May 13, 2012 at 9:03 am

    This is absolutely true. See how my blog on achieving success is related to yours:

    shortcutting said:
    May 13, 2012 at 11:07 am

    I did a similar cycle about a year ago (a bit shorter but very hilly) and I’m still saddle sore – I salute you!

    rishithink said:
    May 13, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    it is the pain that i love to take……….and i am taking ……………

      Nelandir said:
      May 13, 2012 at 4:22 pm

      You obviously haven’t experienced true pain…

    socialbridge said:
    May 14, 2012 at 1:17 am

    I am writing from Ireland and you bring me back to a sojourn in San Francisco for 3 months in 1983. It had ups and downs and I was stunned to find how immediate your post made it all feel. One of the up and downs was getting my fringe cut on Day 1 as my hair was a total mess. The hairdresser obviously didn’t understand my Irish accent and had one half of my fringe chopped before I could say – ‘ Hang on!’ So, I spent the 3 months there with a fringe that looked like legs cycling. One half up, the other down.

    Thanks for the memories! There are many really positive ones.

    Alyssa said:
    May 14, 2012 at 3:50 am

    Just done reading this post… and the irony on the bike issue… I can’t relate ’cause I don’t know how to ride a bike. But then again, you will never appreciate the beauty of life unless you have gone thru the ups and downs of it.

    colorado springs divorce lawyers

    harunfarah said:
    May 14, 2012 at 6:03 am

    Reblogged this on haroonfarah.

    Kayi and Zara said:
    May 14, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Interesting thoughts!! You have to take the highs with the lows otherwise life would be pretty flat. Nice work.

    […] when I started getting more and more ‘like’s and comments on my blog post – No Pain, No Gain. I was confused. Who were all of these people? Why were they visiting a post that I wrote so long […]

    Sheila Hurst said:
    June 7, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    We biked over to Sausalito too – but took the ferry back like everyone else. Those hills are crazy. It was nice going down that hill into Sausalito though! πŸ™‚

    “Get higher” she said | paperballpotluck said:
    December 29, 2012 at 1:09 am

    […] that is. More recently – figuratively. I’ll get to that. Remember when I wrote this post about my biking trip to Sausalito and back? Well this was kind of like that – a great idea on […]

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