Disappointment sucks. There is no doubt about it. But once you are able to dig down deep (and I mean you gotta dig sometimes) beneath the gut-wrenching feeling of being disappointed, you can actually see that you are presented with an opportunity. Failure is just another means of figuring out what doesn’t work, right? Another way to give yourself a fresh start.
There is always a fine line between pleasure and pain. A fine line between anything meaningful. A fine line between good and bad. Winning and losing. Love and hate. Disappointment and opporutunity….you get the point. I have actually thought about this concept A LOT lately.
I ran the Brooklyn Half yesterday and you know what? I gave it everything I had. I did. And boy was I bad. Very bad. Very, very bad. That can be an extremely humbling experience. Especially when you’ve put in the training and you set out thinking you were going to do pretty well. I thought I was capable of around a 1:26-1:27 and I ended up with a 1:32. Ugh.
I was literally nauseous for a good part of the day about it. At about the 5K mark today I knew I didn’t have it. My legs felt like lead and my breathing was labored. In fact my breathing was labored pretty much most of the run. I totally gutted this one out. It hurt. My two friends (or groupies if you will) Meredith and Sharon were awesome. Despite throwing me off a little because they weren’t in the spots they said they’d be in, they were great. And I appreciated that support much more than I can put into words. There is something really powerful about silent communication, you know? I hope they know just how much I appreciated it. Even if I couldn’t’ smile for the camera!
From about mile 8 to mile 11, I labored next to one of my running buddies and I knew he was suffering as badly as I was and just to be there next to him knowing we were both dealing with pain was comforting in a weird kind of way. Silent communication. Though sometimes silent communication can be torture…but that’s more in “relationship-y and feelings type” situations. I actually wish people would speak more about how they really felt, despite how complex, evolving and dynamic those feelings might be. I could spend a lifetime talking about that, although I would bore most people to tears. Anyway…
So at about the 10K mark of the race I began trying to piece together what went wrong and what measures I could take to fix it. At the end of the race I had a moment of “what is this all about anyway…maybe I will just give it up.” And that lasted all of 4 seconds before I said “hell no…I don’t quit at anything when the going gets tough. I just need to figure out a way to improve. I need to start doing things a little or maybe even a lot differently than I am accustomed to doing. them” What those “different” things are…well that’s yet to be determined because frankly I don’t even know where to begin. I have some ideas. My good friend Jamie has made significant strides in her running over the last year and I need to start picking her brain a little more about what she does. Shoot she ran a 1:25 half today and a 3:06 Boston just for fun!!! I may need to ramp down the mileage. Maybe my body just can’t handle it. Obviously my weight is a constant theme and concern in my life – I just need to find the right weight for me to achieve the best results that I can and to feel good about myself. I also realized that this race mirrored many of my recent tempo training runs. Perhaps it could be a pacing issue for me also. I’m wondering if I need a few more mile repeat workouts too? That’s how I bettered my times in the past. I will continue to strive to improve in every way possible. The end. And when I improve…I will find ways of improving even more. That’s the cool thing about it!
I am 38 years old and many people may wonder what it’s all for…why do I do what I do? I actually sense that from some people I come across. Heck from time to time I even wonder it myself. Well here’s why (not that I need to explain myself to anyone…more for clarification for myself): I don’t ever think it’s too late in life to set new goals. I think it’s a shame if one doesn’t set out to achieve some pre-set goal in whatever area of interest floats his/her boat. To strive to be extraordinary or even above average in something you are passionate about or talented in…that to me is what life’s all about. Whatever your idea and definition of greatness is, go after it. Why not? Who cares if you are 52, 18, 94 or even 38?
Oy vey Brooklyn! Until we meet again….