Friday, April 30, 2010

The Humbling Quality of Patience

One thing I read a lot about as I peruse the blogosphere is the amount of disappointment that I see about paces, distances, and results. I like to call it the “Humbling Quality of Patience”

This is the quality that we don’t seem to want to allow into our lives. I certainly fall into that camp. Every now and then, though, I have an experience that reminds me that sometimes I just need to allow patience to run it’s course. One of those experiences happened yesterday…

I may have let it slip a time or two that I’m a bit of a poker fanatic. If you want me to DNS a race, all you need to do is tell me about a nearby poker game (well, I’m not quite *that* bad). Poker is not so much a game of cards as it is a game of position and cunning. It’s about convincing others at a table that you have better cards than they do. Sometimes you do. Sometimes you don’t. That doesn’t matter as long as they *think* you do. The problem comes when those at the table either (a) don’t believe you because you’ve given them an opportunity to see that they *would have* beat you, or (b) don’t understand the object of the game. With the increasing popularity of poker, more and more of (b) happens everyday. People betting recklessly and irresponsibly. Which is good if you’re holding good cards, bad otherwise. Yesterday the tables were filled with beginners (“donks” as we lovingly call them). I was smacking my lips, because this can be the lead to a very profitable day. If I have good cards and good draws, I can generally increase my bets and increase my winnings. The last time I had this opportunity a few weeks back, I made a wage equivalent to about $60 per hour.

There was only one problem. No one told the statistical guru to be kind to me. I started at Noon. By 5PM when I quit, I had seen four quality starting hands all day (it’s normal to see somewhere around 20 to 30 hands and to win 2 or 3 of those  – per hour). And two of those got beat by folks who drew better hands. The rest of the day was spent folding hands and minimizing damage. That makes for a pretty boring and disappointing day. Folks were losing money hand over fist. I couldn’t be part of the collection mechanism. Grrrrrrrr.

So the next time you are ready to play with the donks (line up at the start of an easy 5K or 10K, a flat HM, or a marathon in ideal weather conditions), have a real understanding of how to play the game (followed your training plan to a tee), and watch those hands being dealt to you (pass each mile marker), remember that statistics (the way you feel, the fact you didn’t sleep well, nursing an injury, stressing out) are random. Everything may not all line up for you on that particular day. Time to be dejected and hang your head low? Nope. Just remember the Humbling Quality of Patience. And get ready to do it all over again.

Speaking of patience – 223.0 on the scale this morning. Arrrrgh! Back to my start point! Too much at the buffet yesterday maybe?


  1. But what is the bodyfat percentage. That is the only number you should be tracking right now. If you were 223 and 10% bodyfat..that would be intense! You'd look like those 100m sprinters. :) If you swap just 5 pounds of fat for five pounds of muscle you'd notice a big difference. Keep at it! Keep smiling! And...steer clear of buffets for a while, silly! :)

  2. Great post Glenn! I love the anology. I'm a total donk with poker. I don't even know what a full house or a flush is. You have to teach me, I could be your ringer!

  3. Weird but I understand poker a bit better now using reverse learning..hahaha. I know nothing of poker, can't even call myself a donk! Strange name..where does it come from?

    You live on the edge...going to a buffet before Friday weigh-in. Only a confident person would do such a daring thing.

  4. I would not make a good poker player but I am very good about sticking to the plan.

    Remember to stick to the plan! Do not lose focus.

  5. I can't think of one dang area in my life right now that isn't demanding that I be PATIENT. It's just killin' me, Glenn! Great post, timely and spot on. Thanks.

  6. Awesome.

    Thanks for your positive comments on my blog. I needed that.

  7. You're right - a lot of disappointment going around over seconds. It's so nice running trails - "I would like to finish some time between __ & __ hours." LOL ;)

  8. Glenn, I'm not a gambler, but I'm still sorry for your bad day at poker!

    BTW, how much of that number on the scale is muscle? I'm willing to bet that with as much as you exercise, a lot of it. I weigh 117 and I'm about 5'1. Would make me sound on the larger side, wouldn't it? I'm a size 2. So that number's a lot of muscle.

    It's how you feel that is more important than the number.

  9. "Donk" as in "Donkey".. I'm not sure how it started, but it got popular largely due to the Poker Brat, Phil Helmuth, constantly berating other players (usually amateurs that stick him with a bad beat). I prefer the term "fish".. as in "hey bud, stop talking poker, your scaring away the fish". I love stepping up to a table where there are kids wearing sunglasses indoors with baseball caps backwards, acting all hot-sh*t. They play as if real poker is just like what you see on ESPN or the WPT (highly edited). Sit there, and listen to the FatGuy.. PATIENCE! Just keep folding and ignore the trash-talk. Let the fish come to you. $$$

  10. i am definitely a poker donk. so much so that i had a little trouble following you :) but it's ok. sorry you weren't raking in the bucks!

    good luck with the food battle... why can't we just eat AND not get fat? i don't get it...

  11. Poker, good choice :) I have a relative who is VERY good at it, he has even gone on a couple of Poker cruises!

  12. Patients!?!? Booooooo.

    Although, I have a bachelor party this weekend where the main attraction is the casino. Wish me an statistically average amount of good hands!