by Mark Jimenez
Running is a metaphor for life. If there is a better activity that teaches you life’s lessons, I’m not aware of it. Running doesn’t lie to you, you get out what you put in. Running will reward you for hard work. Running will not reward you for being lazy. Running won’t believe the lies you tell yourself (we all do it, it’s ok). Running will help you experience amazing highs and the sad lows that come with all of life’s other experiences. Running teaches us about health (physical and mental), happiness, suffering, gain, loss, joy, despair, patience, and many other things.
Patience is the topic of today’s blog. Patience is something that we are sorely in need of these days. Patience is something that is running thin in our society. I’ve seen people I’ve known for years get upset at the slightest inconvenience. I’ve read about random acts of violence that happen for no other reason than one party ran out of patience.
I was 11 or 12 years old when “The Most Dangerous Band in the Word,” Guns N’ Roses, released their song “Patience.” I admit that it didn’t get much play with me at the time. Heck, I don’t even think I had a radio or cassette player. My music was wholly influenced by the records my mom would put on when she was cleaning the house. So in 1988 and 1989 I knew a whole lot of Neil Diamond (Cracklin Rosie was my favorite) and Lionel Ritchie (All Night Long), but not a whole lot of Guns N’ Roses.
It wasn’t until the summer of 1992, when my dad shipped my older brother and I off to Spain to visit his sister, that I really fell in love with Guns N’ Roses. My brother, two years older and infinitely wiser, had brought a walkman (Google it, kids) and a few albums. Among the albums was Madonna’s “The Immaculate Collection,” MC Hammer, and quite a few Guns N’ Roses albums, including “Lies,” the album “Patience” is on.
“Lies” became the album of my summer. I don’t know why. Maybe it was because I didn’t speak a lick of Spanish and I didn’t understand anything my aunt, uncle, or cousins were telling me. So I needed patience. Maybe it was because I was homesick and didn’t want to be somewhere with only my brother, who I didn’t really get along with, to talk to. And no kids, I couldn’t just FaceTime my friends. I had to do something called “write a letter.” I even had to pay for stamps. It was crazy.
In any case, I can whistle the opening tune to Patience better than just about anybody except for maybe Axl himself. And lately the song has been stuck in my head as I look at what’s going on around us. We’re all on edge. We all have a short fuse lately, myself included. It’s scary and it’s sad. I don’t have the answers. People are losing patience with vaccinations one way or the other. People are losing patience with face masks. People are losing patience with lines, traffic lights, and any number of things.
To all of you with a short fuse out there, “Take it slow and it’ll work itself out fine. All we need is just a little patience.”
If you find yourself losing patience, I invite you to come out and run with us. We run three or four times a week. Tuesdays from Henderson, Thursdays from Centennial, and Saturday’s from Dunkin’ on W. Charleston. If trail is more your thing check out the trail run on select Sundays.
If you find me, I’ll gladly listen to you during a run talk about how you’ve lost your patience for so many things. I get it, I understand. I won’t judge you for your political views or opinions. Those are the rules of the run! It’s hard right now and we’re all on edge. So I’ll probably just say, “Make it slow and we’ll come together fine. All we need is just a little patience.”
Luckily, running teaches us patience. It’s also really hard to be upset when you go for a run with a group of people. Of all the wonderful things running does, perhaps the most amazing is that it has the ability to take a group of people who seemingly have nothing in common and turn them into life long friends. Go for a run, join a run group, you won’t regret it.
I hope we can all take a lesson from the most dangerous band in the world and get a little more patience. Slow down, it will work itself out fine. Remember that the person you are losing patience with has a job to do, or is trying to get somewhere, or has other considerations that you might not think about. Instead of losing patience, let’s try to be kind. We’re all in this together.
Mark Jimenez is the owner of Red Rock Running Company. He also teaches high school math, coaches Cross Country, and is the father of four daughters. Mark likes to run, having run for over 1,700 days in a row!