I am a movie fan. In my life, I have walked out on only one movie (Desperado) despite seeing some horrific acting and writing. There are movies that make me think and others that make me cry or laugh. Regardless of the movie, I tend to find myself looking for the meaning behind the writing. My three favorite movies are Casablanca, Polar Express and Cars.
Each of these movies has a lesson: Casablanca is about love and helping others. Polar Express is about believing and Cars is a lesson in patience. The lesson from Cars recently led me to tell students that they need to be a Doc, not Lightning.
I could tell from their faces they didn’t know what I was talking about. Explaining that Doc, despite being ‘old,’ had years of wisdom that he could showcase to a younger student was not on the lesson plan. What I wanted to teach them was that we all have wisdom to teach others, if we would just take a moment to listen. Listening to them discuss their world today has allowed me to become a better teacher, but that happened through patience and listening. I also had to let them know that I wasn’t Doc and they were a classroom full of Lightning’s.
This perked their ears and we got into a discussion of why patience is important. They then asked me for examples of my life about being patient. This opened the door to chat about endurance sports and why patience is the key to success and longevity.
Be A Doc, Not Lightning
In today’s society we want things immediately and get frustrated when that doesn’t happen. Consider the opportunity to order a product from Amazon and have it delivered to your door in the same day. The convenience of not having to leave the house and still get what you want.
I believe that has permeated into endurance sports as well. I often see people get frustrated with not getting better, stronger, faster in a short period of time. It makes me wonder about the person’s longevity in sport if they don’t see improvement overnight and what their why for doing these things in the first place is.
That First Race Led To Today
When I started running in 2007, I didn’t think that I would be racing Ironman triathlon and 100-mile ultra-marathons. I was just trying to get through the half-marathon I was registered for. I showed up to the training runs and put in the time to get to the finish line in one piece. On race-day, I managed to finish in 2h18m.
After I recovered, I put my mind to finishing a half-marathon in 2 hours or less. I worked and achieved that goal then set a new goal. Continuing to work and put in the time and effort to reach each goal. It wasn’t my ability to run faster, but my ability to be patient with myself. I didn’t get angry when I failed. Instead, I reviewed what went right and what went wrong. I put more into the things that went wrong. Converting those into positives took time and eventually I’d reach my goal.
Canyons 100 Is Nearing
Today, with the Canyons 100 looming in the distance I have to remind myself to be a Doc, not Lightning. It has been some time since I’ve run a 100 mile race and my training for the past year hasn’t been consistent.
Taking my lessons from my past training runs as well as the knowledge that I am starting from scratch will help me build steadily and safely. I know that with 5 months until race day that I can get stronger and faster but it won’t happen overnight. Planning a path toward the starting line is one thing but understanding that it takes time is another.
With the immediate gratification of convenience in today’s digital driven world, I will go back to pen and paper. I will gauge my successes and failures based on my path and level of patience. Comparing paces or distances to what I did years ago will be a waste of time. Did I get better in comparison to yesterday? That singular focus on becoming better one day at a time will allow me to actually get better versus hoping to.
When the gun goes off on April 28th and I take that first step I will not be wishing for my fastest 100. Instead, I’ll be reflecting on the journey to that start line and knowing that everything from December to that moment was for that moment. The finish line will show a singular image but it will not show the time and effort and patience it took to get there. That will be in my memory bank.
I will remind myself that the finish line was achieved because I was a Doc, not Lightning.