Recently my greatest struggle has been about waiting, particularly waiting to get back to full-blown training, pain-free, and finally competing again! Coming back from surgery hasn’t been easy, but I know taking a smart approach to my return-to-running will be worth it, so meanwhile I must remind myself to be patient.
I consider myself a patient person but let’s be honest, no matter how much patience we have, nobody likes waiting. But to write a long blog complaining about how impatient I’m getting would be foolish, because the truth is we’re all waiting for something, and we always will be.
It’s crazy how our minds can become so fixed on that one thing we are waiting for, we feel like nothing else matters. I’ve been there, it’s an easy trap to fall into, but then I remind myself that even while I’m “waiting” I need focus on living in the present.
Although I may identify myself as “a runner,” I’m also a wife, daughter, sister, friend, coach, writer, and a Christian. All of these “roles” come with some sort of duty, or rather opportunity to devote myself to, completely separate from my own running. People have asked me how on earth I’ve managed to stay positive during my long period of injury. The truth is, I haven’t always stayed positive. I’ve broken down many times and had to pick myself back up. The thing that keeps me going each day is my faith. The days I am most positive are when I’m focused on fulfilling my other roles instead of putting all of my worth into a sport I can’t compete in at the moment.
Although our society typically portrays “waiting” as a negative thing, it can also be a blessing in disguise, a time for necessary growth, and a producer of character, “For suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, [produces] character,” says Romans 5:3.
Leather, jeans, a cast-iron pan, pickles, art, technology, antiques, wine, and cheese; all of these things get better with time. As a distance runner, I’ve conditioned my brain to believe that time is an enemy. Every second (or hundredth) extra I spend hurling my body down the rubber-track’s straight-away could be the difference between achieving my dreams or missing out on them. But in life, time is not the enemy. Time is valuable and precious.
The running community was reminded last week just how precious time can be with the tragic news of former UC Davis runner Sarah Sumpter losing her battle with cancer and former Zap Fitness runner Cameron Bean’s death after being hit by a car while running.
I did not know Sarah or Cameron personally, but I do know that Sarah did not wait around for cancer to go away before pursuing her running dreams. Instead she fought hard earning second team All-American and training for the New York City Marathon while undergoing treatment. Then there’s Cameron’s story that reminds us how important patience and persistence can be. Coming out of college he wasn’t considered a world-class runner with sponsorship and coaching offers coming his way. Instead of waiting around for some post-collegiate coach to call him up with an offer, he took a chance and moved to Blowing Rock to train with the Zap fitness team out of his own pocket. His success in running was not instant, but by the end of his third year at Zap he became the tenth-ranked steeplechase runner in the U.S all because of his patient but ferocious persistence.
We’re all waiting for something, whether something good to come, or something bad to end. But sometimes it’s not about what we are anxiously waiting for; instead we should be asking ourselves, What am I waiting for? as in, What opportunities do I have today? Opportunities be a better person, a blessing to others, a light among the darkness, and an example of hope to others out there struggling while we’re all waiting.
Another great read on “waiting” from my blog: The Waiting Game-when I was waiting to find out if I would get to race the 2012 Olympic Trials.