Last Sunday I was able to cross the finish line of the Marine Core Marathon with my brother Michael, which was something I dreamed of since beginning training on June 25. That’s 125 days (eighty-nine of them spent running), approximately 570 miles, and more calories than I even imagine. The crazy thing is this Thursday the training process starts all over again.
Oh don’t get me wrong you won’t catch me running a marathon in the next four months; at the moment I am walking around the house like an eighty year old man. But the plan is to start training again and run a half marathon in about a month. Why? Because I could have done better.
Somewhere around mile twenty my entire body started cramping up which isn’t unusual but it meant walking/jogging the rest six miles and falling short of my goal of running the marathon within a certain time frame. Of course being able to finish the race and get a medal is a huge accomplishment that I will always incredibly proud of, and there where lots of people who either didn’t finish or where slower than me. However the marathon didn’t go exactly as planned.
We have all put our heart and soul into accomplishing a goal only to fail, and in those experiences have a choice to make. Do I give up and stop trying or do I use this setback as a motivation to try again?
As a teenager I would always choose the “just quit option” and in all honesty during those last six miles the thought crossed my mind more than once. Yet failure is a part of life (I am defining failure as not being able to achieve a goal, not a person being useless or pathetic) and giving up whenever facing it would mean living in the safe confines of our comfort zone. So Thursday after my legs recuperate (with the help of icy hot and ice packs) the training starts again. Another eighty-nine training days and five hundred seventy miles; but this time I will train stronger, and definitely smarter.
Because in the end falling short of our goals isn’t failure at all, giving up on them is.
Which is why in 2013 I will run the Melbourne Marathon in Australia and put a picture on Facebook of me holding the medal…only it will be of me standing strong instead of leaning over in exhaustion.