Saturday, January 22, 2011

I Am Slow

This has so many implications and examples from my life that I do not know exactly where to start (ha! perfect example!). Anyone that has ridden in a car that I was driving for long enough probably complains about how fast I drive. I've sped, I've gotten a speeding ticket, I could have gotten a much larger speeding ticket many times, and I like to imagine that I learned my lesson. So I drive near the speed limit, not 10 miles an hour over it. That way I figure it, I am driving to something that I want to be at, something that matters to me, something worth my time and 100% of my attention while I am there. It does me no good to die in a ditch, get in a car accident, get a speeding ticket, or have some other problem because I might never arrive at my destination. Same for texting and phone calls when I drive. I won't answer or respond and I usually don't check when I'm driving. I'm not getting killed so that you can know I'm 2 hours and 17 minutes away.

I am not a fast runner. Well, okay, I am. But it wasn't always that way. In middle school I got lapped by all of the boys and beat by the girls. In high school it started out the same way and I got a little better but nothing to note. In college I was the rotund kid that showed up and my coach actually told me a few years later that when he first saw me run he thought 'well, this kid is never going to be any good but at least he tries'. Also, I tend to get better the longer the distance is, because I am slow, I have the ability (and I work pretty hard) to have more endurance than just about everyone else. My 400 meter personal record is 58 seconds and my 800 meter personal record is 2:11. Thousands of high school kids run faster than those times every year, but after a decade of tracking my training, that's still all the faster I run. Also, I have ridiculously high standards for myself and I would like to look back at where I am running now and think about how slow that is compared to where I hope to run in the future. For me defining "fast" as world record pace makes getting to 90% of world record pace possible because it is not that "fast".

I am not a fast climber. I try to climb faster, but I still do some routes more than 10 times slower than the fast kids. I spent two days (probably 12 hours total) on the Nose on El Capitan and I didn't even make it to the fourth belay out of 33. The speed record on the Nose is like 2 hours and 44 minutes.

Timing is not my thing. In relationships I always seem to do things too late. Yeah I don't known enough to say anything deeper about that.

I used to think that I was a fast learner. Then I became an engineer. It took me over a year of working with one specific computer program before I believed my own results. A year! I tried to tell myself that it was so complex that it would take anyone that long to understand it, but I don't really know. It took me until March 2006 to understand that running more would make me a better runner. I remember running an 800 meter race competitively in sixth grade (1998). Over the next eight years I had about five coaches directly coaching me on how to run faster but I didn't get it. I even self coached myself to a 1:27 half marathon at age 16, but I still didn't get it until I was almost 20. Eight years!

I feel like all of those examples are just the tip of the iceberg. What else am I missing out on or don't I understand?

All of that being said, some things take time and I'm not in a huge rush to do everything. Part, if not most, of the adventure is the process of progressing toward the goal. In other words, the adventure is in the journey not the destination.

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