If, at the beginning of this year, you had asked anyone in my circle about me and patience, they would probably have laughed at you for several minutes, then proceeded to tell you that Johnathan and patience go together about as well as oil and water. In general, patience is one of those skills that I lack. In fact, my uncle actually laughed when I told him I was writing a post about patience.
When it comes to our sport, however, I would argue that I am more patient than most. Patience, in our sport, is the name of the game. Ours sport is not a sport of instant gratification, literally one workout, takes six to eight weeks to see results. Our sports is like aging good whiskey, or wine. But it’s not about just about that one workout, it’s about consistency. And it’s not just consistency in your workouts, you also have to do the right things for recovery (i.e. strength, stretching, yoga, massages, eating right) consistently, to really see the improvement. But it’s also about even more than that, it’s about building on top of a base to ensure growth year after year, just building your craft greater and greater.
When I first got into the sport, I had one goal. To earn my elite license. Four years later, I earned it. Going into my pro career in 2018, I knew I was committing to a 3-year investment period. Meaning I committed to getting my ass kicked for 3 years to learn the sport and gain experience, a task that would undoubtedly test my patience and determination. This meant that each year we needed to have a focus, geared toward improving my skills and making me more competitive at the elite level.
This year, 2019, was to be the year of the swim. We had 3 goals all largely centered around the water and all centered around a back half of the year A race. Goal numero uno was to come out of the water with a chase pack (thank you Chatty 70.3). Goal two, was re-qualify for my elite license and goal three was to be in the race in all portions of the race.
Well midway through the year, I had a nagging injury that I got from a non-triathlon event (in other words I managed to injure myself playing with the hooligans). Like any hardheaded athlete, I tried to train through it. It finally came to a head when walking became a chore. We (we all know this was a team effort) finally, decided to pull the plug on the remainder of the year. And anyone who knows me, knows that I had a hard time accepting this.
I ended up taking 10 weeks off, meaning no running, no biking and no kicking in the water. I was able to put a pool buoy between my legs and swim for 12 weeks. (Shout out to everyone who put up with me during this time.)
Due to this injury, goal 2 and goal 3 were not met this year. As hard as that pill is to swallow, the injury was truly a blessing in disguise. Not only did it force me to concentrate on what I would consider my weakness in the sport, but I got some much-needed family time. Although I am still in recovery and taking it slow (hint hint), I can already tell the difference in my workouts thanks to Coach Jeri.
This year was far from what I expected. I set out at the beginning of each year expecting to set goals and crush them. Having to take a step back and slow things down and take time off when I would usually be running full steam ahead, forced me to learn how to be even more patient. And now looking back at the progress I’ve made in the water, because I had no choice but to give up everything but swimming, and the time that I got to spend with my family, I am grateful that I learned to be a more patient athlete. For, to me, “Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting-Joyce Meyer”