Monday, November 19, 2012

Coming Short on A Goal Does Not Equal Failure

Just a little FYI on this post. I wrote this after my April Marathon. Never posted it, but thought it might be relevant to some now. My parents both picked up running shortly after this race!

My friend Roger Ortega & myself before the Country Music Marathon

We are all guilty of setting goals to which sometimes the end results leave us coming up short on our goals. Running is a very goal oriented sport. Most runners set out with goals, whether it is to run a mile without stopping, run your first 5K to first Marathon or to qualify for Boston. It is a sport in which your biggest competitor is actually yourself. So naturally, there are times in which you fall short. The lesson you learn from that experience and your response is probably more important than actually achieving your goal.   

To give you an example, I had trained extremely well heading into my last Marathon this past April in Nashville, and I was determined that I was going to finish that marathon between 3:20 and 3:25. I had put in the miles, running 50 to 60 miles per week, I cross trained and I had strength trained. I am in my best physical shape of my life and I was coming off a marathon in which I finished 3:30 and did so on a weak right hamstring. I felt great heading into that race. Unfortunately, there were some circumstances that I could not control like weather. The day of my race, the starting temp was in the mid-60’s with high humidity and the temp rose into the 80’s by the time I finished with a time of 3:29. I was mentally exhausted and fatigued from the heat by mile 21 and struggled to get to the finish line. Your first reaction of coming up short of a goal is usually disappointment, and that was the case for me. Sometimes we let the disappointment get in the way of what we actually accomplished. It took me a few days of hearing how well I did, looking how others struggled equally as I did and realizing how good my results actually were to convince myself that I did many more good things along the way of trying to reach my goal than I did negatively by coming up short. There was nothing in my training that I could do to prevent the weather from being an issue, and sometimes that is tough to swallow. There are always going to be unexpected obstacles and challenges along the way of trying to reach a goal. Sometimes it is just hard to see that and understand it.  

Anna and me after the race.

I admire people that are trying to achieve something that they thought was impossible. In being a member of Team All Ears, we have runners on the team that are true beginners trying to finish their first race to more seasoned runners that are trying to run for a better time or even a new distance. We all have goals. It is very exciting to see people share their goals and how they are progressing along the way of chasing their goal. It is a wonderful feeling to share your experiences with others along the way or after an event, because it sometimes takes others ability to look from the outside and seeing what you “have” accomplished in order for you to gain a little perspective on the situation and to actually enjoy what you have attempted, even if you came up a little short. It is much better to train for a race, start a race and not finish it than to sit at home always believing that you could not do it. If you are out there trying to run, then you are doing something very good for your health, and I admire you for taking that leap.

My Family with me after the race.

 I am a new member to Team AllEars this year, but this group already feels like a family that is good for leaning on and encouraging you when times seem tough.  Everyone goes through their disappointments and self-perceived failures along the way and it is great to have others pick you up when you need to be lifted. The simple fact is that you are not failing, just encountering stumbling blocks along the way. What defines you is not in what you have accomplished, but how you have handled the adversity along the way in order to keep reaching for that goal. If you continue to keep fighting and working towards that goal, then in due time, you will be rewarded. Just be sure to give yourself a pat on the back along the way, because whether you know it or not, you are more than likely inspiring and motivating others around you without even realizing it. 

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