Failure and Me, Frenemies for Life

Failure showed back up today. She’s always lurking around anyway, but today she decided to leap out from the shadows and kick my ass on the spot. She does that now and then. Perhaps she feels left out sometimes when I refuse to give her the time of day. Well, today, she won. And I gave up.

I’ve been running for 8 weeks now….sticking with the Couch to 5k program like a fucking stallion, if I say so myself.. And I do say so myself. Anyway, today was the first day that I couldn’t complete the assigned training run. Starting out in pain and full of chest congestion. Got one of these stinkin spring allergy/sinus/colds. Ugh. Hacking, coughing, and wheezing. I could tell even during the warm up walk that today was gonna be tough. But I started running and pushed through those familiar first few minutes of pain until the adrenaline and endorphins blend into that wonderful mixture that allows me to run with little pain. I searched for my rythym. But never found it today. Was wheezing and gasping for air from the beginning. I knew pretty soon that I might not make it today. Then all that mental work kicked in. Ya know, “You can do it, Stace!” “You just did this exact run on Thursday morning at 6am in the rain, you can nail it today.” And then….the negotiating, which usually works quite well for me….”Okay, Stacy, just make it up this hill, then you can take a break”…”okay, well, now you might as coast down the hill.”….”Just cross the next road, THEN you can walk if you need to.”…

And I did. Before I knew it, I apparently had “slowed to a walk.” It wasn’t a conscious decision. My legs just slowed down. WTH?!! I didn’t even realize I was walking until my legs started aching like crazy and then Bam! just seized up. Then I told myself “Ok, start running again before the pain gets too bad and you have to start all over getting into that rythym. Nope. Not gonna happen. Then it hit me. I had failed. Big time. I tried running three more times and my legs simply wouldn’t work. Not only did the shin splints come back with a fucking vengeance, but my 87 year old right hip decided that she’d rather hang out in a rocking chair knitting some booties while sipping tea. I also realized I was nausaus and had the shakes (either from the cold or from the fact that I keep forgetting to eat or just the realization that I had failed) Well, shit.

Not only had a I completely failed, but now I was a mile and a half from home and not sure how I’m gonna get home. I tried hitch-hiking but at this point any of the few neighbors that actually go down this rather deserted road are used to seeing me limping my way towards home. So I limped, slowly, back home, crying like a baby the whole way.

It was a long walk. And failure decided to join me. While I was limping pathetically towards a hot shower and some BenGay, she was skipping along next to me, cheerfully mocking me. Reminding me, again, that I set my goals too high and I should just give up now. Might as well stick to things I actually know how to do. She reminded me in her sing-song voice that fat girls shouldn’t run, old ladies shouldn’t try new tricks, klutzy dumb blondes should stick with mall walking where they might be able to also score a new pair of shoes and pretzel. And she told me very seriously, because she is, of course, very worried about me, that there is no way I will be ready for this race, maybe I should just do the 5k walk, or even better, just try again next year. She just chattered on and on, while I cried and cried (and of course, she made fun of me for THAT too). Failure is a heartless little bitch. But I’m too tired to fight her today. Hell, I can’t even run.

So, today, I’m going to listen to her. They say keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer. And frankly, she might have something good to say eventually. I might be able to get some wisdom from her bullshit. I’ve heard bullshit makes excellent fertilizer. So I listened. I listened while I made it all the way home. I listened when I took a hot shower, and then later a hot bath to soak my hot muscles. I listened while I reached out to friends who I knew would support me, tell me it’s okay that we all have failure sometimes, and remind me of my inherent awesomeness. I listened while I made popcorn and opened a beer and settled in to watch some Harry Potter.

And here’s what she said when I wiped away all the steaming bullshit.
1. Dude. Everybody has bad days and bad runs (like the jogging kind, not the diarrhea kind…thought I should clarify due to my references to bull shit). It’s about time I failed on this program. I have managed to somehow do every training run in the program so far, and it was inevitable that I wouldn’t get 100%. Let’s just say I got it out of the way. Shake it off, and get the fuck over it.
2. Don’t assume your overall goals are too lofty when they might just be too much for your circumstances today. I felt like crap before I even went running, why am I surprised that I couldn’t do what I could do when I felt healthier two days ago? Seriously, Stace, catastrohpize much?!?!
3. Specifically to running, if you stop mid-run, you might be screwed. Well, at least it is really hard to get going again. This may take some strategy for how to run the 5k. But that’s to figure that out later. This knowledge might also help you keep going in the future.
4. Just give it all you got. And if you don’t have enough, you’ll probably still get home and get a hot shower eventually. Worst case scenario, if you do just crumple on the side of the road and cry, someone will probably have pity on you and give you a ride home. And perhaps a popsicle.
5. Give yourself some credit for what you’ve already accomplished. Um, Stacy, 8 weeks ago, you couldn’t run to the mailbox and now you are close to 2 miles. Stop focusing so much of how far you still need to go and look at how far you’ve come. Failure caught up today, but she had kick up her speed a little to catch you.

So this is what Failure, my arch Frenemy, taught me today. Sometimes she can actually be kinda cool. But just so bitchy. I will learn what I can from her today.

But Tuesday I plan on telling her to go fuck herself.

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Written April 2013

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