Persistent vs. Stubborn

Sunday’s sermon at church was about persistent vs. stubborn. It was a really great sermon, as many of Pastor Mark’s sermons do it spoke to real life issues. He has that knack of being able to speak about something that is ruminating in my brain without realizing it.

Being persistent usually has a positive connotation while being referred to as stubborn usually has a pejorative meaning. Interestingly the phrase has been used interchangeably to describe me throughout my life. I have worn the badge of stubbornness with pride.

The sermon was timely given that the day before I had done the practice fitness test to horrible results. My “sprint” was nothing more than a fast jog. My legs were heavy and I just couldn’t make my body go any faster. It literally hurt to move my legs any faster. My hip flexors were screaming at the strain and as a result my knee and hamstrings would not cooperate. It was beyond frustrating and bordered on heart breaking.

However, I suppose there is slight humor in the situation. For six years I have been forcing myself to move from a sprinters mentality to a distance runner mentality. It has been a true struggle to get my brain to stop thinking in meters and instead think in miles. Literally this year I finally get in the zone of being a distance runner and then suddenly find myself having to flip the switch back the other way….with less than two weeks before the marathon no less. It is definitely a crazy situation to be in.

I struggled the rest of the afternoon on Saturday, emotionally fighting and railing about how I have fought so hard to get here only to fall short of the physical requirements. I rambled off all my accomplishments and how it seemed patently unfair that I could get this far and fall short. I was angry that I had allowed my marathon training to take over my PFT training. I muttered about all the time I wasted “studying” or “sitting at the office.”

During what could really only be described as a pity party,  Jesi reminded me that I am persistent. I have never given up, in the five years I have working towards my dream goal of being a federal agent I have never given up. I always step back and regroup and then find another way. She reminded me that through it all I have never, ever given up or even thought about giving up so I shouldn’t start now.

Jesi’s reminder could also be applied to my running. Numerous times in my life I have been told that I would never physically be able to lead an active life or that I would never walk again. I have been told that running a marathon would not be in my best interest. Despite that I have continued to persevere and achieve that medal at the end of the race. Each successive race seems to have some improvement, maybe not necessarily finish time but something about the process improves.

I guess the sermon made me wonder am I persistent or am I stubborn? Or am I both? I have to be persistent in achieving my goals. I have to continue to fight and change those things that need improvement. And I have to be stubborn in my execution of that. Stubborn to the point of nearsightedness. Stubborn to the point of throwing caution and the naysayers to the wind.

On the persistent side I reached out to Regina and asked if we could do some sprinting practice in addition to some distance….low and behold with an adjusted mindset and some insight from Regina I managed to shave nearly 11 seconds off my  sprinting time. I kept chanting “sprinter” as I took the laps around the track.On the stubborn side, I refuse to give up until someone says that you are done. You can not go any further in this process.

Being persistent is great and despite the negative connotation that goes with being stubborn, I think there needs to be a grain of stubbornness included in the mix in order to achieve anything that you are striving for.

On an actually running/training note, I have been keeping up with my training plan. I have been juggling a crazy class schedule with training and have been so focused on that I often forget to blog. Well not often, I do forget to blog. During my runs I think of all the insightful things I will share when I boot up my computer but then I usually roll or hit the books and my blog thoughts go by the wayside.

I think that is a side effect of the taper. Things are going well but I am tired. My taper week will look a little different since I am now having to refocus on my PFT which occurs 48 hours before the marathon. It is an interesting exercise (literal and mental) in juggling two incredibly important things, the give and take has been a true test of my persistent stubbornness.

How is your training going? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Happy Running (or sprinting)!

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