Monday, February 20, 2012

Putting The Positive Spin On Failure

"How you enter a situation determines the outcome."

This was said during one of the presentations during my CASA training. This can apply to just about any situation in life, I think. It certainly applied to the 10k I didn't run on Sunday. Yeah, didn't run.

I was pretty excited when I signed up in January. I decided The Lost Dutchman is going to be the marathon I run next year for my first marathon when I'm 40. So I figured a 10k would be a good way to check it out and see what the race  is like. I all ready know it's beautiful. The desert lacks so much beauty so much of the year, I want to have a decent backdrop when I'm running 26.2.

The downward spiral started when I realized that no one was signing up with me. My friends were scared off by running the half marathon last month. Seriously, they may never run again. Their loss. ;) So, first thing was running with no one there. Sure, I end up running alone anyway. But knowing someone else is THERE is quite motivating. Then as the day closed in I found out my family wasn't going either. My younger one wanted to, but I am not quite comfortable yet with leaving her in a crowd of people while I go run (I don't think she's quite comfortable with that yet either).

I tried to get into a better frame of mind. Make it a personal challenge, get my first official 10k time. Enjoy the day, enjoy the surroundings. Nah, none of it worked. From the moment I woke up I felt totally alone. Worse, I felt unsupported. Totally fabricated in my brain, but all the same it's how I felt. By the time I pulled into the parking lot, and saw all the groups of people who came together, the families, etc., I just kept on spiraling.

Then the back pain started. It was pretty cold before the sun came up, and I left my jacket in the car. And my money, so I couldn't buy a cup of coffee to warm up. So I stood and kept moving around, which started putting pressure on my back. Seriously, running is the only thing good for my body. Standing hurts. Walking hurts. Biking hurts. Running works!

After an hour of waiting, I was pretty tight and no amount of stretching was helping. By the time the race started I began by walking. Half a mile into it I went into a slow jog, but it was no use. The pain, plus my mental state at watching the happy people around me with all their friends did their damage. I went back to walking, but by then it hurt too much to even do that. When we passed the parking lot at the mile mark, I turned and went back to my car, crying like a whiny loser baby.

So there it is. I lost my first race. Even walking the whole thing would have been better than quitting, but I quit. It feels awful. All I could tell my kids when they asked how it went was "ok", because I was too ashamed to tell them I quit. Eventually I did tell them, once I finished wallowing in self-pity.

Really, it's a learning experience, as is everything. What did I learn? If something is important to me, I need to express that more clearly. I said it was ok that my family wasn't there. When I got there, I realized that it wasn't ok. I honestly didn't know it would bother me as much as it did, but regardless- say what you mean!

Also, if I don't have a buddy to run these races with me, or at least someone coming to meet me at the finish line, then I won't do them. Races to me are how I show how my training and hard work pay off, and yes it seems selfish but I want to share that with someone. More importantly, I need the support. It's motivating, and also way more fun than just going to these events by myself. Sure I like the solitude of running, but races are different. Most of the time I feel really alone because I don't think anyone loves running the way I do. It always means so much when I know there's support out there waiting for me at the finish line. Perhaps I'll get past that at some point, but for now, that's what I need. What I want.

Moving forward now- and I think I'll put the phrase on a plaque:

"How you enter a situation determines the outcome."