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Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Value in Failing

I didn't really mean to indicate in my race report yesterday that I thought that time was bad. I was just a bit disappointed because this 5K was the last one of the year where I had the opportunity to try and break my PR of 28:28, and at the Turkey Trot a month ago, I missed that by 5 seconds -- this 5K, I missed it by a wide berth of a whole minute and some change. That's the only reason I was grumpy about the time.

Breaking that PR has been important to me because it was the last chance of the year to actually realize one of my running goals for the year, but now I know that the year will expire and all of my goals I set for the year will be left unfinished.

Last year, after I completed the Disney marathon, I made my year's running resolutions:
  • Complete another marathon
  • Complete a half marathon
  • Break my 5K PR
  • Run a race distance I never have before

Simple goals, right? Well, let's see what happened to them all:

  • Trained for Chicago, but only completed 8 miles of the race before bowing out due to heat exhaustion. Thus, I did not complete another marathon. I trained for it. Ran it. Did not finish it.
  • Trained for the A1A Half last year but training after Disney was plagued by IT pain that I kept ignoring. Race day? I was hurting so bad 2 miles in, that I walked off the course in tears because I knew I wouldn't be able to finish. That was the only half marathon opportunity I created for myself, so I did not complete a half marathon.
  • I only ran 4 5Ks this year: Corporate Run in March when I was still suffering from IT pain (this was the last race before I decided to take all of April off to really rest and attend to the IT), 4th of July 5K where it was a bazillion degrees out, the Turkey Trot, and the one I did yesterday. Never beat that 28:28.
  • Lastly, for all the running I did in 2007, it was mostly focused on Chicago, which consumed most of my running time and energy, and I never did accomplish a race distance that I'd never done before.

Therefore, in many ways, 2007 was a failure in terms of reaching and achieving my goals. I'm disappointed in this, but I also think failure is important. It can teach us humility, resilience, and mental/emotional flexibility -- all immeasurable things that are important to a runner, and to a person, nonetheless. So, even though 2007's running goals weren't a success, I tried my best. That's all I can ask of myself.

And now, I get to look forward to 2008 and set some new goals! Stay tuned for those.


Erin said...

I can sympathize with you on the goals and training your butt off only to not accomplish them. Skating was much the same, work/freeze your black and blue butt off for a year to either A) bomb at a competition or B) fail your test -one shot deals. I have to agree with you, I think I learned alot more during the journey than just the accomplishment.

The one thing you have to remember in your goals for next year is that dang it, you have only been at this for a short time and set goals that most experienced runners do not. 2008 will be the year of the runner we call Jessica!

Neese said...

great post Jess. I was going sign on to tell you this anyway today but it seems even more apt now after reading your post.... lastnight I dreamt about you, and in my dream you were a ROCKSTAR!!! (yes with a band and all LOL, so weird.)

Sorry about your running disappointments in 07, but to me, you are a ROCKSTAR and will shine bright in 08 and continue to be!

Rock on.

brunettechicagogal said...

I really hesitate to call it failure. If you want to be literal, yes, you failed to reach your goals, but to label it failure just seems to give short shrift to the effort and perseverance you put forth. Can we call it "coming up a bit short?"

Who is SLB+? said...

It sounds like 2008 will be your year, all that training will not go waste, you'll have a huge base and will be tougher mentally.

Do not let the weather and injury undermine you 2007 achievements.

A suggestion, if I might; build in some races into your training program, a 5 or 10k can double up as a tempo run, a half marathon makes for a good long run etc, that was you can avoid putting all your eggs in one basket and you can pick some race experience and PR's along the way both of which are good mental boosters.

teacherwoman said...

You're right. We can learn so much from what we weren't able to accomplish... and not for a lack of trying either.

I know I am not too please with 2007 and my goals, but there is always 2008! I can't wait to read your goals!

Marcy said...

2008 is sooo going to rock!!! Maybe you can con Wendy into running a marathon with us? I'll supply the beer.

Wes said...

That's why it is so important NOT to carve our goals in stone. Reality happens. Here's to a great 2008 :-)

Anonymous said...

Well you gave it your all and its just a shame the weather gods couldn't participate for most of those goals. But, any way you look at it you still ran a lot and are a running goddess! Good luck with your 2008 goals - can't wait to hear what they are.

L*I*S*A said...

I think there are always lessons to be learned in failure, and it gives us reasons to strive for things unachieved.

Run on...

Mendy said...

Jess, you accomplished a lot in running this year, regardless of the goals. I understand your frustration and can relate to it as I didn't meet my running goals too. But, I know that I had other reasons that I didn't meet my marathon goal and it simply wasn't pure laziness, it was an injury and so was yours. You trained hard!

You're a great role model for me in running, and I admire all that you did and your determination. Great year, and I'm sure 08 will be even better for you!!!

J~mom said...

I couldn't agree more with you about failing. That is a great lesson to be able to pass on as a teacher. But I think you have been wonderfully inspiring this year. Here is to a fantastic 2008!