Thursday, August 15, 2013

Failure: Fearing It And Embracing It

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.
My friend, Dr. Deming knows what that's all about.
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.”
Carry on, my friends.  And I’ll be swimming in the dark next week.

1 comment:

  1. Sonya! I don't really know how I came upon your blog but I love it and this post could not have hit any closer to home for me tonight! I competing at the fair tomorrow in the push/pull contest (bench press/deadlift) and I'm thinking why am I doing this? I'm not gonna win, I not even going to come close to being the strongest girl there. and the other part of me keeps saying it's not about the other girls, it's about what you can do. For me it's my perfectionist attitude that gets in the way. If I can't be perfect at it then I must be terrible. There's no in-between. (A fault I'm working on)

    Anyways, this isn't about me, it's about you clearly your hardworking and already achieved some amazing milestones! Looking forward to reading more!