|On an island off the coast of Europe, I was hunched over on a curb, crying. I had just got pulled off a course for a marathon and pocketed my very first DNF, Did Not Finish, and it broke my heart. I had really trained for this race and put in the work. It was an extremely challenging race, and at mile 9, I was already negotiating my exit plan. ‘Just make it to the next aid station, just make it to the next mile, just make it to the next volcano, just make it.’ But the ‘just make it to the finish’ wasn’t even on my mind. It took me 9 hours to complete 19 miles. Yep, that’s not a blazing 5-minute mile. I had not anticipated the continuous muddy and precarious stairs, (up and down 7,000 feet) my lack if technical trail knowledge and a surprise visit from the hormone fairy, which left me weeping and just a sad sack of a person. So, at mile 19, I got a “ride of shame” to the finish and was done. At the finish line, I was trying my best to be curious with my new found heartbreak.|
“Why was I so upset?” “Why does this sting?” “What could I have done better?”
I realized it just wasn’t my day, that I really REALLY hate quitting and I sure love the feeling of crossing finish lines. So, was this a fail? Yes, but a good fail to find out what’s true, and what to do better next time and try to get over myself so I could celebrate my teammates who did amazing. Little pockets of knowledge in that little DNF.
Back to the Tuesday Tip is a review of why to have goals for any race, event or big deal thing you have to do. It helps to break it down to 3 different scenario’s.
Pie in the Sky Goal: All the angles are with you with all the good mojo, the weather is perfect, and you knock it OUT OF THE PARK! This could look like a PR, placing, or a specific time goal that you are after. I like these goals to be specific so it takes out any kind of negotiation when things go bad.
Attainable & Realistic Goal: This is the most logical outcome that you have trained for and you are pretty sure you can do it. It could also be a time goal or a heart rate you want to maintain that you have practiced before and are comfy with maintaining.
Let’s Just Finish Upright Goal: This is the one that you pick when things go bad. Your stomach is screwed up from the Indian food you tried last night, and your cat threw up in your shoe, and you are wearing different shoes. Your baby kept you up all week, and your husband snored all night and you got no sleep. (All of the above has happened to me before marathons) And despite all of it, you still show up and do your best, reset your goal to “Let’s Just Finish Upright” plan. It helps keep the mojo of racing still fun so you will stay motivated and not keep crying on the curb in another country.
Go Get It!
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