I paced / crewed for a buddy a few weeks ago in a trail run on the Wyoming / Montana border called The Bighorn Trail 100.  My buddy is a talented trail runner with an impressive coach (All American collegiate runner, top 5 Leadville 100 finisher) who travels with my buddy for each race.   Given that it was just the three of us out there for the weekend I was able to spend some quality time with my buddy’s coach.  Over those two days we spent hours talking about a range of topics from career to family to running.  It was a memorable trip.

A few days after I returned to Chicago I received the following text from my buddy’s coach.

“Best of luck at Leadville.  Be patient out there”

For some reason, and it took writing this post to figure it out, this advice had an immediate and profound impact on me.  It wasn’t because of the words used but instead because of how perfectly tailored the advice was for me. It was the kind of advice you only receive from a seasoned veteran who knows exactly what it takes to get the job done.

Historically I’ve ignored the word patience as it’s largely overused by parents, teachers, and other disciplinarians.  But the more I thought about it, both in the context of the upcoming race but also in other aspects of life,  the more the word took on a new, inspirational meaning for me.

Patience (noun):  the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering 

The aforementioned google definition sends chills, right?  Read it again if your answer is no.  This is a word reserved for the masters of their craft like Jesus or Chesty Puller or Nelson Mandela or Des Linden; each of whom withstood setbacks and suffering in the pursuit of excellence.  Patience.

Be patient out there.  Now I understand coach, thank you.