I have a confession to make. I failed. Back in April, I made a goal. And I told lots of people about this goal. And I worked VERY hard to make my goal a reality. My goal? To break the American Record in the 400 hurdles in the W40 age group.
I failed. I didn’t run 63.9. I ran 65.2.
It was my last chance to do it in this age group since I go up to the W45 age group next outdoor track season. And now my season is over, I have a bad case of achilles tendinitis, and I failed at my goal. Cue pity party.
You see, I am not a “glass is half full” kind of person when it comes to my goals. I don’t look at any silver linings like the fact that I ran the fastest time of any person in my age group in the U.S. THIS YEAR, and the second fastest time IN THE WORLD, and that I won the National Masters Championship in the event by a significant amount. Nope, all I have focused on in the last 24 hours since the event is that I didn’t achieve my goal. I am out of my element. I don’t like how it feels.
I logically know that I am too hard on myself, and if you are reading this, you are most likely thinking the same thing. In fact, if I was reading this, I might also think that I was fishing for compliments because of all the things I DID achieve this track season. But please believe me when I say that each time someone congratulates me, I kind of feel like a fraud. Like I am taking compliments for stuff that I really didn’t care too much about. It’s sort of like if you had a goal of landing a particular dream job, not getting it, and then all of your friends contratulate you on your amazing interviewing skills and your choice of interview outfits. Those things were not THE thing.
I know I am not alone in these feelings. The people I have been lucky to meet through being a part of Oiselle have given me a new persepctive that I need to embrace, so humor me for a second as I get on board the cliche train.
“Failing is part of the journey.” I will never have another chance to get that record. But, not achieving that goal might make me that much more hungry next year to train hard, to rest smart, and to be a better teammate and friend to so many who have reached out to me this past year and encouraged me every step of the way. By celebrating others’ successes and listening to and talking through their disappointments, it just might help me see the absolute humanity in the highs and lows that we all regularly face. I need to stop making excuses as to why it didn’t happen and just realize how fun it was to try. And how fun it was to fail. And to just be proud of myself regardless of the outcome.
When you fail to reach a goal, the initial thing that often happens is that you don’t want to set any other goals that might be unreachable; where failure is a strong possibility. I mean, why would I want everyone to know that I failed again? But you see, I need to learn to be a better failure.
SO, here are my “Failure Resolutions” (1) attend at least ONE race that I am not running in and just cheer. Scream my head off for those who are putting themselves out there and running a race. Stay until the LAST runner goes by. Go up to people I don’t know and tell them what a great race they had. (2) Run less and do other stuff more like riding bikes with my kids and having dance parties in the living room for cardio and (3) Show more emotions to the people I love. These resolutions should probably just be called “being a better person and not selfishly focusing so much on myself.”
In a few weeks I will get the opportunity to meet teammates of mine who I am certain have similar issues with goals and failing. Those who have struggled with the saddness and self-doubt of setting goals that were never achieved. People who might be able to help me understand my own journey by recognizing that my feelings are universal.