The Art of Patience

As runners, we are taught from a very early stage that overcoming anything is only a matter of time. All you have to do is be willing to work hard and be consistent, and eventually you will achieve that goal; all you have to do is be is patience.

For me, this is my absolute downfall! I have no ability to be patient with anything! Today, I was talking with my coach. I brought up this crazy notion of switching my upcoming 50k [Grand Canyon 50k] to the 50 miler. At the beginning of last week, they released updated course details. The course is now net vertical loss, with large portions of the race being completely downhill. In fact, the first 20 miles of the 50 miler are straight down hill. What better time and conditions to just go ahead and run my first 50 miler, right?!

I took last to week to internalize what this meant. Was I good enough? Did I put in enough training? How do I feel? What does my body tell me? What does my heart tell me? With all these questions swirling in my head, I took the time just to think. What better way of doing so than to go hit the trails. Saturday and Sunday were spent mostly, with me, myself, and I. Sunday being in pouring down rain… but I digress. The alone time allowed me to think, to reflect on my training, to reflect on my soul.

Today, I emailed my coach letting him know the plan. He came back with the best, and most logical answer: no. If not for him, I would have switched today to run a 50 miler. So when my soul and my heart are saying yes, then why did I not go ahead with it? Well because I didn’t take into account my race schedule. I was thinking in here and now. Three weeks after I complete Grand Canyon 50k, I will be pacing a good friend of mine for her attempt to qualify for Western States. I will need to be fully recovered by then to be able to do my duties as pacer. Sure in my heart and soul I know I can run 50 miles. But the recovery afterwards would be hard, and I would not be ready to go for pacing.

This is where I lack patience. I find something I like, and I just want to go for it. In ultra running, I am finding more and more this is an absolute skill you need to hone to become good. I am also finding that this lack of patience has also emerged in other areas of my training. Particularly in pacing. When it comes to any slow build up in speed, I flat out suck at it. I feel anxiety when I am going slower. I feel as though people are judging me for not going faster, or that I am being looked at as someone incapable of being a runner. But this so detrimental to my training. I need to work on being comfortable with running at slower speeds. Sometimes the only way to get faster is to go slower, and I want to get faster… much much faster! This is something I am working on, though. It will take time.

However, Grand Canyon 50k will be run for a PR. Conditions are too good not to attempt. My coach did agree to let me do this, at least. The goal: sub 6! I will need to play this race smart, though! I will need patience to get through.

What are your greatest weakness or weaknesses? Take time think on this, as we only are as strong as our greatest weakness.


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