Thursday, 2 June 2011

Coping with "Failure"

I love having goals.  I love having a plan in the works.  Dreaming of the goal, sitting down planning it out, imagining what it will feel like when I achieve that goal send shivers down my spine.  Well maybe not shivers, but I do get excited when I think about my next potential "achievement".  In fact, I enjoy the planning and execution of a training schedule so much I feel a little antsy as I enter into my taper period of my training schedule and start thinking about my next race.  I now have a rule against signing up for a big race until I have completed my current race.

I think everyone has goals they set for themselves... I'm going to loose 20 pounds, quit smoking, stop buying coffee every day (and no it doesn't count if you switch from cappuccinos to regular coffee).  I have set and achieved the first two goals. I'm working on the coffee.  Lululemon has an entire section of their website dedicated to setting goals - short term, long term, work, personal.  Its actually a pretty neat part of their website.  Goal setting is everywhere around us. 

I'm no exception.  Every year after Christmas I start thinking about what I want to accomplish in the up coming year.  This year I wrote 10 goals I had set for myself - 4 of which were running related.  In the middle of May I wrote down 10 goals again - some were the same and some new.  The idea behind writing down your goals is to commit yourself to it.  You are even more committed if you tell people and with the Internet the number of people who can bear witness to your goals is huge.

Runners are a huge goal orientated group of people.  When I first started running, the goal of everyone in my group was to be able to run 5k.  Some people continued increasing their distances, some people stayed running 5k and some people quit.  From the start some people said they wanted to run a marathon or run a specific distance in a certain amount of time.  I set running related goals all the time.  I'll even put them out on the world wide web so my mom and all her friends can read them. 

Crazy Mother's Running Goals for 2011:

1. Run a total of 2,500 k during 2011.
2. Run a sub 4 hour marathon.
3. Run a sub 50 minute 10k.
4. Run a sub 23 minute 5k.

So what happens when we set these goals for ourselves and "FAIL"?

I just ran the Ottawa Marathon - finishing time 4:18.  It kind of looks like I blew my goal.  Time wise I did.  But in my mind I am proud of my accomplishments.  I threw up - and I didn't quit.  I saw the most wretched road kill and I didn't quit.  I followed a pace bunny who had pulled out for almost five minutes before I found out he had quit and I still finished.  For all of those reasons and the fact that I covered 42.2k of ground makes me proud.

Here's what else makes me proud - the screen shot of the Ottawa Marathon app and my progress throughout the race

At 30k I was in 2699th spot.....

I finished in 2489th spot... I passed 210 runners.  Even though I didn't meet my time goal, I toughed it out and finished strong.

Anyone who completes a marathon regardless of their time, whether they achieved their goals or not should be proud of their accomplishment.  I should also thank Simon for texting me and saying that I did something that 99.9% of the population won't even attempt after my marathon. 

Here is my next goal: To stop writing mushy posts for the next little while - let's blame the post long distance run euphoria. 

For now I leave you with the following quote.

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

Henry Ford

Cappuccinos and marathons rock!

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