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?
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.