National Running Day: perspectives in failure

“…in what I have done and what I have failed to do…”

The first pair of Nikes I ever wore belonged to my mother: red and white Cortez. She bought them at a yard sale for a quarter or fifty cents or something like that. We were fairly broke, so to me, Nikes were only for the cool kids. And now we had some in the house. And I wore them even though they were too big for me.

Because I wanted to be cool.

Now I am, officially, a real runner. After starting off not being able to jog to the end of my block, then progressing to the stop sign… And my first ever 5k run. My husband drove the minivan beside me down a dark and buggy farm road, kids snoozing in their car seats, music from the dash scaring cows from the rusty barbed wire fences. That was 9 years ago and I still feel victorious when I think about that run.

It is impossible for me to think about running races and not think about the Marine Corps Marathon. Impossible. I have tried three times; the last time with a friend to pace me starting at mile 12. The wheels have fallen off 3 times. I have failed 3 times.

…no. Not failed.

I began to think about perspective: glass half full or empty? Here’s what my half empty looks like:
3 DNF’d marathons
1 DNF’d half-marathon
1 DNF’d 10 miler
———
5

Here’s my half full:
2 completed full marathons
14 completed half marathons
2 ten milers
At least 4 completed 10k’s
More 5k’s than I can count
———-
At least 22 finished

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I’m terrible at math, but even I can see that my glass is most certainly half full. Full to the top. Running over.

My cup runneth over.
(Snort snort…puns…gotta live ’em.)

The Bataan Memorial Death March 26.2 will forever make me proud. I cried. I bled. I stumbled. I finished. And I think I’d take that one finish over all the others if I had to.

…so, no; I am not a failure. I have not failed. I have not finished 5 races. 5 Out of…guessing…at least 40 events. That’s pretty good.

 

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On this National Running Day there will be those who brag about mileages and events and podium finishes and I will join them. I will remind myself that I get to join in on the Facebook festivities and the running shoe shop games because, quite simply, I rate a seat at this party, too. Those first painful and humbling miles, the next ten thousands of miles less painful but still more humbling, the tears on the sag wagons, the high-fiveing dozens of water-station volunteers, the 0300 wake ups, and the cheers at the finish lines rate my ticket.

Coach Jeff at Team PRSFit has helped me in ways he will probably never understand, but along with the workouts and nutrition consultations, he gave me the best advice I’ve ever been given: “no more bull crap. cut the bull crap.” Feeling like a failure all the time is bull crap. So I don’t do that anymore.

My coach has prostate cancer and is working with Zero to put an end to the stigma, the stubbornness, and the disease. He’s running across the whole country, the whole fricking country , with prostate cancer, raising money and awareness along the way. You can donate to the cause here.Coach Jeff and Zero put together a team for MCM. I’m helping. I’m training. I’m running.

I am not a failure. I am a runner.

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