A friend suggested I write about failure. I admit, I’m quick to write about my successes – miles run, miles ridden, miles swam. And who doesn’t like bragging about the races completed, the medals received, etc…
I don’t like talking about my failures - who does? And for now, I’ll confine it to my workouts (I have more failures than I can count in other aspects of my life).
I failed this morning. I intended to swim with a group at Gray’s lake at 5:15 this morning. My intentions were good. I set my alarm, even got up and made coffee. It’s a morning ritual – and for those who know me – part of my “cleansing process.”
Then, I saw rain. The back deck was wet – I think I even felt a sprinkle on my bed-head hair as I let the dogs out. One can only assume there's lightening on the horizon. Bottom line: It was my out!
Truth be told, I didn’t want to swim at 5:15… in the dark. Frankly, I’m very uncomfortable with it. Frankly, it scares me to death. Someone described it to me as, “being in the womb.” And I was out! And I'm a pretty good swimmer, but this freaked me out.
I don’t know why I can’t swim in the dark. I’ve conquered a lot of physical and psychological challenges in my life. But this is an obstacle for me.
I felt defeated for a large portion of the day. And to beat myself up for not swimming in the dark, I beat myself up by running and lifting excessively.
I know this is all a head game.
I’ve felt failure upon finishing a marathon, for God’s sake.
That's me finishing the San Diego Marathon in 2009. I’m the one in the blue shorts – the one who looks like she’s walking, not running!
I finished about 35 minutes later than I thought I would. To me, that was a fail! But was it really? First of all, I did it for my brother, who was battling Hodgkin's Disease. So, there was no "fail," because five years out, he's cancer free.
I don’t have pictures of it, but my bike chain came off twice during last year’s HyVee Triathlon.
After that, I decided I was defeated. I took my time in transition – even went to the bathroom! Again, I considered it a fail. Then, when I checked my time, I learned I'd qualified for the 5150.
That's why, when I really ponder these events, I no longer consider them failures. Why? At least I did it. I accomplished my goal – and in the case of the San Diego Marathon and many other races, it was a goal bigger than a finishing a race.
I've come to realize, the only time you fail, is when you relinquish a dream or a goal.
Winston Churchill probably said it better. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”