I was recently reading an article in which one commenter referred to a lack of patience as “the microwave mindset”. Meaning, with today’s standards, “three minutes is too long to wait for popcorn to pop”.
Don’t read article comments, by the way. Sometimes you’ll find little gems that make you nod in agreement and other times you’ll feel like earth is a horrible place and you might as well take Elon Musk up on that offer to go to Mars and never come back. (Speaking of which, does that totally freak anyone else out? SCIENCE IS SCARY.)
I blame smart phones for this. Our collective impatience. Most of us are too damn impatient to be bored, a fact that’s obvious any time you see people standing in line, sitting on a train, waiting at a stoplight. Our phones are always there to distract us during down time and now I can barely wait at a crosswalk without pulling my phone out. I’ve tried and it makes me feel all itchy and uncomfortable. And bored.
Anyway, this actually is NOT about smart phones or microwaves and yet here I am with three paragraphs about them. MOVING ON.
I was feeling that way about running. Impatient. Bored of and uninterested in my limitations, especially during my not-injured-but-something’s-weird month of August, stemming, I’m SURE, from not giving myself enough time to build up to speedwork before I jumped into it. A month is too long to wait. Ain’t nobody got time for that, I’d think, like when you learn your Amazon purchase is on backorder. Antsy and impatient. Because my MRIs always said “nothing is broken or torn”, I searched tirelessly for some kind of instant gratification, the thing I could do that would make me say “AHA! That’s it!” and instantly run healthy again.
It doesn’t exist.
Honestly, for awhile there my legs just weren’t feeling good. And not in an “I’m sore and tired” kind of way, but the kind of way when you try running and feel tightness and pulling that doesn’t totally hurt, but feels like something and takes your brain through a downward spiral paved with worries and what-ifs. I continued to try weekday runs in the 3-mile range, no expectations, taking it the cliche “one day at a time”. Runs I’d begin tentatively, each step full of trepidation and hope that please dear God let me feel healthy and let me improve. I stupidly believed with just the right combination of massages and foam rolling and chiropractors I’d be good as new the next day.
Fortunately for me, I (for once in my life) realized impatience does me no favors, and I had no other option but to be patient and let go of that microwave mindset. So, I’ve run what my legs have allowed, adding very short speed workouts (on the treadmill for a little cushion) and bumping up my long run mileage slower than me searching for one specific thing at TJMaxx. Because we all know you can’t go into TJMaxx with a plan, you just gotta wait and see what you come out with. <—new running motto?
These challenges (if, in the grand scheme of life, you can even call them that) do pass, though, and that’s a big lesson I’ve only truly accepted this week. What you felt last month, what you struggled with last month…those feelings will not last forever. I stopped looking for the magic answer and started being patient, and, surprise! My legs are no longer rebelling.
The point is: I’M BETTER.
Saturday I’m aiming for 10-11 miles, my last long run before raceday next weekend and I’m pretty sure my first double-digit run since July 2015. I’ll be treating it like another training run. I had hopes of long-running over 13.1 miles in training and having a race – a race race that makes you have nightmares about oversleeping or tripping over untied shoelaces or forgetting where the start line is. A race race you talk about with your friends so much they start avoiding you, going to sleep early every Friday night and spending Saturday afternoons on the highest of runners highs, swearing off wine for weeks (or at least just Fridays). A race with potential for a PR.
Those hopes have turned into hoping I get a good parking spot, hoping I’m not too slow, hoping for decent weather. But with a little patience, maybe my next race can be the one. Or the next after that. I’m not giving up my PR dreams – I know this all will pass. The popcorn will pop eventually. (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?!)
What are you doing this weekend? Are you a patient person or does it take a lot of work (like it does for me!)?