Friday, May 24, 2013

Patience takes a lifetime

Back in the early '80s, when I was just entering the sport of ultra-marathon cycling, I remember someone telling me that an ultra-athlete usually peaks sometime in their mid to late 30s. By then, we apparently learn the discipline of pacing ourselves, and the patience of holding back so that we will have the reserves to finish strong, even after many, many miles have gone by.

Last year, I was experiencing that struggle with patience when I almost gave up my record attempt nearly halfway through the ride. At 140 miles, my average speed was below what I needed to break the current record, which meant I would have to actually increase my speed with another 150 miles to go. At that moment, I saw no way that could happen. But my crew chief, Brian Larson, reminded me, as I stood there feeling like a loser, that anything can happen. And it did. During that second half, over the next 150 miles, my average speed actually increased. It was another reminder of how I still needed to practice patience, even at 54 years old.

So here I am, exactly 5 months to the day after my hip replacement, and I still find the challenge of patience a struggle. There are days I get frustrated with my recovery, and I find myself needing to learn the discipline of patience all over again. And in this struggle, I am again reminded of what Brian said to me during that dark moment last August, as I stood there wanting to quit: Anything can happen.

Where is your struggle with patience?

Proverbs 3:5-6
(NIV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Roses

Sometimes I get frustrated. Okay, I'm not a spring chicken anymore at 54, even if I did ride almost 12,000 miles last year, and (finally) broke a 300-mile Wisconsin state record I dreamed of when I first rode across the state in one day back in 1982, over 30 years ago.

Sometimes I get frustrated with my recovery, which I've been told will take somewhere between 1 and 3 years. And then come the reminders from friends that give me permission to be patient, to stop and smell the roses.

Those are friends worth listening to, and worth keeping.