Success and Failure

I’ve been running again.  I have been running shorter distances, but working on building speed.  A few months ago, if I didn’t run five miles at a time, I felt like I wasn’t working hard enough.  I honestly can’t remember off the top of my head, the last five mile run I had. In the back of my mind, I know this is not going to get me to a marathon in October.  But right now, it is good enough.

All my aches and pains have vanished- I have not had any more knee pain since I stopped pushing as hard as I was.  Since I am injury free, and working my way out of the physical and mental groove I have been in, I decided to enter a race. 

I felt like I needed a challenge I had not taken on before.  Since I know I am not ready right now to tackle a half marathon, and my body seems to be doing well with shorter but faster runs, I signed up for a 3K  (1.86 miles) in July.  I checked the top times from last year, and was pretty excited to see the times I was currently running were in the range with the finishers in the competitive field.  My current time is nowhere near the top level, but it was there.   With competitive runners

I stared at the computer screen for several minutes, wondering if this was right.  If I had to run this race today, I would finish somewhere in the middle among competitive runners.  I would be near the top for my age group.  The race description said the area’s fastest runners show up for this race, and with such a short distance it is quick!  And it is going to be hot!  It is outside, at 6PM. I am NOT a warm weather or heat runner. The last few weeks temperatures have been in the 90’s at 6PM.  This is definitely one of the most challenging things I’ve tried. 

But I was not going to let heat stop me, so I signed up for the race, in the competitive division. So I am now training for what will be my first race in 2 months, and my first competitive division race.  I have three weeks until race day to get faster and deal with the heat.  It has been hard.  I have dropped an average of 30 seconds off my time so far, and I hope I can keep adding to that.  I want to finish well, but even if I am the last person to cross the finish line, it feels good to be running and training again.

I’ve realized I might not make the goal of running in a marathon by October.  I never gave myself the option not to.  But when trying to reach any health or fitness goal, you have to have a little wiggle room.  If you never allow yourself room to fail or to be unsuccessful, then I don’t think you can ever allow yourself to reach the level of success you want either. Success and failure go hand in hand- you can’t have one without the other.

Not every training run for this fast intense race, is a success.  Sometimes the heat gets to me.  Sometimes my time is slower than the previous time.  But all of this is paving the way  for me to have success- hopefully in a few weeks in my first competitive race, and when the time is right- a marathon.

(Cross posted at Choose You Blog- a new campaign by The American Cancer Society to help encourage and support women to put their health first in the fight against cancer. )