It has been a really great couple weeks of running. My miles are building, my leg has behaved and I can picture myself toeing the line at Boston for more than just a qualifying 3:40. Tomorrow, I will do my first speed workout post-surgery, with 4 miles at a 7:30 pace. It’s funny to think that my pace will be slower than the pace at which I ran my last marathon. My test will not be whether I can run that fast, but whether I can be patient enough to let a 7:30 be enough.
Patience has never been a virtue. My mom recently retold the story of me going to sleep away camp a full year before I was technically eligible. Somehow, I convinced the camp to let me attend, despite being 7 when I needed to be 8. In fact, I came into the world impatiently, arriving a full two months before I was due. That’s why it is a bit of a surprise to me (and to my loved ones, I’m sure), that I’ve been patient with my recovery. When I went into surgery, I expected to be running in 6 weeks, training hard by the end of the summer. Instead, it’s November. As I start to feel strong, I find myself pushing too hard in workouts and tacking on extra miles. My brain knows that this is the easiest way to end up on the injured reserve, but my competitive side wants to make up for all the lost time.
Patience in the context of a marathon is an interesting thing. Those who are successful in the marathon must have at least some level of it, as the distance punishes the hare and rewards the tortoise. Perhaps the strongest warning we offer to novice marathoners is that “there are no shortcuts.” Why, then, is it so hard to remember this for myself? When I run with friends or give advice to new runners, I always caution against too much too soon, about taking easy runs easy. It seems that with most advice, it’s easy to dole it out, but not as easy to observe.
As I wind on down the road this weekend, I’ll be working on waking up my fast twitch muscles again, but also on practicing patience. It’s a long road to Boston.