Situated less than an hour from NYC, the area I live in is semi-rural, mainly mountainous, and full of impassable one lane roads. This morning on my commute to work (for a 5:30 am practice of all things) I got stuck behind someone on one of these one lane over the mountain roads. It was frustrating as it is the other 1-2 days of the week that it inevitably happens. While the roads are admittedly somewhat treacherous in some areas, the speed limit is 55 mph other than a few blind curves where the speed limit drops to 35 mph. As I was stuck behind this person today it really struck me how patient one has to be to become a truly great distance runner….at least given the recent history of championship racing. By great I mean someone who not only is capable of putting up blistering WR times but someone who is also capable of winning the highly tactical and inevitably slow distance races that almost always take place at major championships. I think I'm pretty patient when it comes to dealing with people (at least up until a point). But patient when it comes to hurry up, on the go, get something done, get somewhere fast….that's just not me. I find myself too competitive and too type-A to let things drag on. If I know I've driven my morning commute in 10 minutes I want to drive it in 10 minutes (or faster) everyday and not get 'stuck in the pack' for a 30 minute or even 11 minute commute. It bugs me. I suppose that begs another question, why if one were capable, as most of the record breaking athletes are at the time of major championship races, would one risk staying stuck in the pack at a slow pace when that strategy only opens the door to others who are far less physically capable. I know it can be emotionally, psychologically and physically draining to lead an entire race but for God's sake if you knew that were the only way you could ensure winning why would allow it to happen. The only logical reason to use such a tactic if you were one of the best runners would be because you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that you could finish MUCH faster than everyone else.