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Worth It

May 27, 2010 Fitness, Friends No Comments

I am not a tattoo person.

I’m not a tattoo hater, mind you. I don’t care if other people have tattoos and I can appreciate the artwork and the talent that is involved. As I have pondered getting a tattoo in the past, the questions that come to mind are, “What would I get?” and “Where would I put it?” In answering the first question, there isn’t anything that I feel so strongly about that I need to etch it into my skin. And for the second question, my answer has always been, “Somewhere that no one could see it.” In my opinion, this kind of defeats the purpose… So, while it’s not for me, I can appreciate other people who do feel strongly enough about something, even if it is hidden from the world.

My friend Jane just got her third tattoo on Saturday. Her mother passed away in February this year, and Jane wanted a way to remember the special bond they had. She was careful in choosing her design (her mother loved irises) and artist, and the day finally came to go under the gun. She sent me a note on Monday morning that included this blurb:

My ink is just now starting to settle down. “Ouch” doesn’t begin to describe the discomfort with this piece of artwork! I had to muster a lot of courage and some biofeedback + deep yoga breathing to endure the final 75 minutes of inking on Saturday. The past 48 hours have been filled with waves of throbbing, tightness and hobbling. Now don’t get me wrong! I’m well aware I voluntarily signed up for this S&M experience. And trust me, the payoff will be/is worth it. The artist did a fabulous job and now my mom is always with me!

Take out the first two sentences, and I’m pretty sure I’ve said or written something similar when talking about any number of the events I train for and race in. Friends wonder why I “torture” myself this way and how I can so quickly forget the agony I was in yesterday when I head back out for more tomorrow. I am like Jane and her artwork: what we endure in the short-term is quickly forgotten with the satisfaction of the final product, whether it’s a tattoo or a strong finish in a race.

Truth be told, there is body marking involved in triathlons as well. Permanent marker isn’t the same kind of permanent as a tattoo, but the effects (both positive and negative) are often the same. And they’re worth it.

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