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Impatient Patience

As a former triathlete, I was planning to write about the long, arduous road to victory in triathlon - whether one's deeply personal victory of completing a new challenge, or standing on a podium.  There is no doubt that patience is a crucial muscle to develop; and if you choose the sport of triathlon (like any sport or significant undertaking and endeavor), development of patience will be essential.

Progress is sometimes invisible.  The glory of a strong race finish is certainly often months off and may be uncertain.  We learn to trust the training, to trust the 'showing up'.  We learn that we only have the now, and to find the champion in every "now."  While urgency of desire is present in all who accomplish - the wise know that impatience will only cheat long term dreams.

Patience gets a bad rap. It is especially unpalatable among the go-getters of the world. But patience does not imply passiveness.  Nor does it imply 'waiting.'  Patience is an active muscle.

A few months after fully recovering from fractures in both feet and patiently moving back into running again (with close medical supervision every step of the way), I was hampered by hip pain.  Having already come through a months-long ordeal with my feet, I knew to immediately cease activity.  The diagnosis was a bilateral labral tear and cam impingement in the right hip.  This was followed by herniation of three discs in my mid-spine.

This setback was very discouraging to me - a lifelong outdoor athlete; and came at a time when I was looking forward to a long-sought after return to a sport that I love.  It was a stark reminder that our bodies and our lives are finite, and that recovery would require a level of patience I have not yet had to display in life.

Being physically stopped for a week as my back healed required me to dig into my repository of patience. I did the math on what this may mean for my return to this sport, and whether it would be prudent to continue to pursue this sport. Patience made giving my body time to fully heal, and embarking on a robust rehab path easier.

The time away from brought me to yoga, barre and even ballet classes as gentler complements for strength and flexibility training. I am opening myself to off-road races that may be easier on my body.  And I am honing almost meditatively in on swimming and cycling form techniques, coming into new levels of awareness with delicate body mechanics in these aspects of triathlon than ever before.  

And, I have been able to give space to my dreams of being a business owner, empowering and inspiring others through coaching.

It strikes me that the gift of patience may indeed be in the space of attention.  When we are busy 'doing,' hard-charging, training to win, there are many things slipping outside of our span of attention.  These things beckon at the periphery.  Sometimes, it is only in the quiet spaces in which patience is demanded that we can hear them. #AHAInsight

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