I have this theory that endurance athletes are wired differently than non-endurance athletes. I think our brains receive sensations of pleasure when enduring lactate threshold efforts, when our muscles are aching from a long workout and when we push ourselves toward the brink in training or in a race. I tend to call the physical sensation “discomfort,” to differentiate from the pain of an injury; but no matter how you slice it, going fast, long or holding lactate threshold effort hurts. Arm-in-arm with the pain is pleasure.
I suspect this pleasure is similar to the pleasure sensation found by the danger-seeking crowd, it's just in a different location in the brain or maybe it’s the same location but stimulated differently.
My question to you is, do you find pleasure in the pain? Can you describe it? Can you describe a situation where you were definitely hurting (in training or in a race – cycling, running or triathlon) and at the same time you were hurting, there was this warm sensation of pleasure?