AKA Why are we so hard on ourselves? + Lessons on Failure
On Sunday, I ran the Broad Street run, which is the country’s biggest 10 mile race and kind of a big deal in the City of Brotherly love.
It’s a wonderful race – 10 downwardly sloped miles through the heart of Philly and some diverse neighborhoods. It was my first long distance race ever back in 2011, so it holds an extra special place in my heart.
This year was my second time running and I had big dreams of cutting close to a minute off of my per mile pace… I know that seems absurd, but my running and recovery has vastly improved since adding Crossfit, T25, and most recently P90X3 into my training routine over the past 18 months.
My training runs were on target to meet my goal, but about 2 weeks from race day, my training fell apart. I got distracted, I had competing priorities, it rained a lot, and running just really wasn’t that attractive to me.
Fast forward to race day.
There are about 40,000 runners who run Broad St. (not counting any rogue runners) so it’s PACKED to say the least. I crossed the starting line probably 25 minutes after the first heat, but I was distracted and I didn’t catch the clock time. Instead of focusing on my time, I put my phone on airplane mode and decided to focus on the race, my feet on the pavement, the cheers, the change in neighborhoods, and the excitement of the day.
When I finished, I had NO CLUE what my finish time was like.
Of course, I obsessively checked the results page every 5 minutes for it to be posted.
When it finally was, my heart sank.
I had PR’d (set a personal record for the non-runners out there), but only by 32 seconds a mile. Even though I’d run one of my best races ever, I was disappointed to still be so far from my goal.
Writing that now, I want to smack myself. ONLY by 32 seconds a mile. It’s absurd.
Cutting 32 seconds off your pace is INCREDIBLE. I should have been jumping off the rooftops, but instead I was down in the dumps.
Here’s the thing: I expect a lot from myself, not just with my running, but in every aspect of my life. So, when I didn’t reach my goal, it was a huge blow to my ego.
I set the bar as high as freaking possible, but sometimes I don’t give myself true freedom to fail.
It really got me thinking… it’s something I see a lot with my clients (and with myself) – not just a fear, but an apprehension, about failing. It manifests itself in all kinds of different ways – from working around the clock to meet unrealistic deadlines to never actually starting and pretty much everywhere in between.
But, the thing is, failure is a remarkable teacher. We learn more about ourselves through failure than through any of our successes.
“Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.” –Morihei Ueshiba
This week I learned that I need to consciously practice kindness towards myself, that sometimes the experience is more valuable than hitting a goal, and that all wins (even if they aren’t the wins I want) are worthy of celebration.
What’s one lesson you’ve learned from failure?