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Monday, November 13, 2006

Failure

After my fall last night, I was feeling disappointed in myself. Much of this marathon training has not gone exactly as planned. I have been too hungover, too tired, too naseous, and too over-worked to complete every single mile listed on my schedule, and trust me, it pains me to know that I have missed those miles -- miles that, in my mind, mean a better marathon, a better experience.

When I began training, I took pride in checking off the runs on my schedule and felt that adhering to my schedule was the key to my success, so veering from it wasn't thought of; yet, as the days and weeks have worn on, I have re-arranged the schedule, skipped some runs, made up some runs, and have let some go by without making them up. So the fall last night and the incomplete 15 miler felt like another example of how I had deviated, and had even failed, from the list.

Then I thought about it, and you know what conclusion I came to?

Oh well.

The training thus far has not been perfect, and often times it has been worse than hard: it has been tedious. I have failed in more ways than I care to count, but somehow I feel that this is valuable. Even though I am running this marathon seeking a sense of accomplishment and personal success, I also must remain pragmatic: I will not always succeed and I will not always feel satisfied by this experience. It's my first marathon, and as I train, I find that I am constantly learning and adjusting (I've never run distances like this before, so each long run is a new experience -- experiences frought with the peril of failure), so that maybe for the next round of training, I will improve. I'm not trying to excuse my short-comings, I'm merely acknowledging that they exist, and that, to be honest, I regard them as an essential part of the process.

Too often, runners (and all others) become obsessed with goals, and failing to meet those goals can upset us, but what we (or, at least, I) have to realize is that failure sometimes teaches more than success does. I will try the long run again, maybe it will be better, but maybe it won't.

I suppose what matters most is the trying.

7 comments:

Firefly's Running said...

Hang in there, Jess. It's your first marathon. I made the same mistakes, but I finished. The modifications in the training is okay. Take it one day at a time. (Okay...this is coming from a runner who's on cross-training duty due to an running injury.)

Taryn said...

I think you're right, oh well. Same thing happened to me... too much life got in the way and I missed my 20 miler. I was really worried about it (the furthest I'd ran was an 18), but honestly, during the marathon, I was so excited once we passed the 18 mile mark! It was all downhill from there!

Everything happens for a reason... you might need a bit of a timeout to recoup!

Erin said...

I think you have been doing a pretty darn good job sticking to your training. yeah you miss some days here and there, we all do. Don't beat yourself up over it because you know you will accomplish a marathon. If you didn't have the bumps in the way, what fun would it be to say you ran a marathon. The training is what makes all sports more interesting. Plus, without your falls, what else would you have to blog about? It would be pretty boring to hear you ace your schedule every week. Hang in there! I will try to keep you from drinking too much and using that hangover as an excuse :)

JustJunebug said...

I agree with all of the above.

If at first you dont succeed, try and try again.

Thats the real success right there! Perseverance!

Ryan said...

when you get done with the marathon and tell everyone about it, nobody is going to ask you how many training days you missed. I will, however, ask you how many times you fell down. So be ready.

miss petite america said...

best. post. ever.

i don't think there is a person on earth who can stick to every scheduled workout in their training. it wouldn't be possible. and it wouldn't be healthy to be honest. we're not machines, we're humans!

i think you've been SUPER consistent and for the most part having a good time. i read your blog and often think, "damn i wish i could run like jess."

teacherwoman said...

What a wonderful post, Jess! Great way to put things into perspective. I, too, need to realize that those "unsuccessful" runs are quite helpful in the whole scheme of things!