Putting Patience Into Practice

I thought I “got” the definition of patience, until I looked it up.

The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. 2. An ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay. 3. Quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence.

I have heard ultra runners talk about patience and I do not think that I fully understood this concept, until I ran 50 miles and until, now, I am training for 62.

In a sport where the ultimate goal is typically to get from the starting line to the finish line as quickly as possible, it might seem counter-intuitive to suggest that one of the key skills in mastering such an activity is patience. However, after two decades in the sport, I have come to the distinct conclusion that patience is critically important for success in ultrarunning and particularly important for runners seeking longevity. -Andy Jones-Wilkins, 7 Time Western States 100 Top-Ten Finisher

And that’s where the biggest word in ultrarunning, in my opinion, is patience. You’ve got to have a lot of patience. Even when you’re running a marathon all of a sudden you feel like you want to get there. You get panicky kind of. You’re not doing what you want to do, and you panic. It gets crazy. You get so hyper about it. And you’ve got to just let it go and let it come and you’ll get there. Be patient. -Pam Reed, Badwater 135 Legend

Practicing Patience. . .

This week was a tough training week for me. I ran 13.5 on the trail on Monday. I ran 5.5 on the track and 3.5 on the road Tuesday. Then, I ran 12.5 on Wednesday with the intention of doing 24. Wednesday was HORRIBLE. I think it was the first time in the history of race training that I was contemplating a “way out”. It felt SO hard. It was not until I looked at my pace at mile 7 that I noticed I was running too fast for a 5+ hour training run. I wanted to be around 14:30-15:00 pace. My average at mile 7 was 12:35. I was lucky to finish 12.5 miles. My body was wiped out. My legs were dead.

Now, my left calf  (the one I pulled last summer) was bothering me. I went home and compressed and iced it. It was the kind of feeling, like, if I moved it the wrong way or if I did any explosive-type movement, I would re-injure it. I was supposed to rest Thursday and run 6 on Friday. I took both days off, I was worried about my calf and I needed to rest. I sat down to evaluate the last couple of days of running to figure out why Wednesday was so hard. I was hard because I did TOO much on Monday and Tuesday. Both combined left me with tired legs and probably a worn out calf going into Wednesday.

Saturday arrived with miles to run, the sunlight and two fun running partners. I am happy to say that I completed 23 miles on the trail, in 5 hours and 36 minutes. I added 3.2 miles on the road in 33 minutes. Hurt so good! It was the patience for the first 13 miles that helped me finish 26.2. Our pace was easy, 15:30 and our eating was dialed. My calf did not bother me at all.




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