There’s an old Taoist story about Confucius, a Chinese philosopher and teacher, who witnessed an old man slip and fall into river rapids that led to a dangerous waterfall. Confucius and his followers rushed downstream to save the old man, despite the likelihood of his survival. To their surprise, they found the old man unharmed, walking along a path, and singing to himself. Confucius approached the old man and demanded to know his secret, “how does one survive such a fall?” The old man replied, “I go down with the water and come up with the water. I follow it and forget myself. I survive because I don’t struggle against the water.”
The old man learned about the balance of nature in his youth, and he has been practicing it ever since. My blog “finding your stride” is about my journey to find equilibrium. We can’t expect running to go smoothly all the time and the same things goes for life. Breaking barriers can’t be forced, instead we have to practice flowing with the river rapids. Here is my take on the Tao of the 800m.
What is the 2-minute barrier?
For a female one of the biggest barriers in the 800m is the 2-minute mark. For a runner to accomplish the 2-minute barrier she’ll need to average just under 60 seconds per lap. Now, let’s put this feat into perspective. Last year, 5 American women ran faster than 2 minutes, and 9 American women clocked in right at the 2-minute mark.
Chasing the 2-minute barrier reminds me of the old man is the story. You go up with the water (good races) and you go down with the water (not-so-good races).
About a month ago I had a not-so-good race (2:07 at the Oregon Relays). Naturally, everyone was asking me what happened. I was even asking myself the same question. I spent the next few hours trying to figure out what went wrong before realizing I was wasting energy.
Two weeks later I raced at the Payton Jordan Invite and ran a season best (2:02). Good and not-so-good races are a part of chasing the 2-minute barrier. Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing because when you do nothing, and just flow with the river rapids, things always seem to get done.
I am racing at the Oxy High Performance meet in at Occidental college in Los Angeles, tomorrow, May 15th. Please visit the official website for entries, results and live streaming: http://oxyhp.runnerspace.com/
My race strategy this Thursday is to do nothing.
Thank you for reading! I hope this story adds value to your journey of “finding your stride!”