Facing the darkness, admitting the pain, allowing the pain to be pain, is never easy. This is why courage - big-heartedness - is the most essential virtue on the spiritual journey. But if we fail to let pain be pain - and our entire patriarchal culture refuses to let this happen - then pain will haunt us in nightmarish ways. We will become pain's victims instead of the healers we might become.
Pain? Yes, of course. Racing without pain is not racing. But the pleasure of being ahead outweighed the pain a million times over. To hell with the pain. What's six minutes of pain compared to the pain they're going to feel for the next six months or six decades. You never forget your wins and losses in this sport. YOU NEVER FORGET.
Grief does not end and love does not die and nothing fills its graven place. With grace, pain is transmuted into the gold of wisdom and compassion and the lesser coin of muted sadness and resignation; but something leaden of it remains, to become the kernel arond which more pain accretes (a black pearl): one pain becomes every other pain ... unless one strips away, one by one, the layers of pain to get to the heart of the pain - and this causes more pain, pain so intense as to feel like evisceration.
Pain in life is inevitable but suffering is not. Pain is what the world does to you, suffering is what you do to yourself [by the way you think about the 'pain' you receive]. Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. [You can always be grateful that the pain is not worse in quality, quantity, frequency, duration, etc]
But pain may be a gift to us. Remember, after all, that pain is one of the ways we register in memory the things that vanish, that are taken away. We fix them in our minds forever by yearning, by pain, by crying out. Pain, the pain that seems unbearable at the time, is memory's first imprinting step, the cornerstone of the temple we erect inside us in memory of the dead. Pain is part of memory, and memory is a God-given gift.