The Fear and the Pain

Mar 05, 2024


I haven’t had any psychosomatic pain symptoms in quite a long time. However, that winning streak ended a couple weeks ago when my right foot became painful. Or was it real structural pain? That’s always the question we all struggle with. 


I was in training to run the Saguaro Desert Half-Marathon in Tucson, AZ: 13.1 miles through the desert with lots of rocks and giant saguaro cacti. Running longer races is hard but there’s a real feeling of accomplishment and you get a medal for finishing. 


In fact, race medals were the inspiration for the Sarno Medal of Freedom that has become so popular with our students. 


However, the week before the race, my foot started to become more and more painful. Was this a real medical problem? I theorized that it might be from running on the treadmill (that I don’t normally use) vs. outside because of the extreme cold winter weather. The treadmill is not my natural gait. Maybe that’s how I hurt myself? Or did I? 


Each day during the week before the race the pain in my foot became worse and worse until the day before the race when I could barely walk! So, I can barely walk on Friday, but I’m supposed to run through rocky, uneven terrain for 13 miles on Saturday. That sounds really hard if not impossible. 


Huh, maybe I was just scared of running 13 miles? After all, I’m no spring chicken. 


What I’ve learned over the years is to never give in to what is likely TMS. Never automatically categorize a new pain as “real.” Make it prove it to you. TMS is very tricky. It will try to fake you out every time. 


So, I didn’t give the foot pain any attention in the days leading up to the race. I was committed to starting the race and giving it my best effort to finish. No matter what. Entry fees alone for races like this are $150. I wasn’t going to run (or walk) away without a fight!


On Saturday morning when the gun was fired, the crowd of eager runners moved across the starting line and for the next 13 miles (2 hours and 50 minutes!), I had no pain whatsoever and I still don’t. 


I had a great time. I got the medal. It all worked out in the end. 


THE LESSON: There was no specific physical trauma that I could point to that had caused my foot pain. So, I assumed it was TMS and I acted accordingly.
Challenge your pain: Every. Single. Time.


Run YOUR TMS Recovery Race and Win! 


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