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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Short, fast, hard – FAIL

It has been a little while since I failed at one of my exercise sessions. It is frustrating but that is part of the game. I went outside this morning and wanted to put together a 5 mile run at a 6:30 minute per mile pace. McMillan says I should now be able to run it at a 6:22 pace (in a race and all of that) – in addition my 5k times are in the low 19’s (sure it has been a year but I am sticking to it). I set up the GPS ‘virtual nemesis’ guy for said distance and pacing. He did not start out as slow as he usually does but at a manageable pace. I thought, “Not too bad”. My legs were still sore from the speed work on Tuesday night but I have seen sore legs before. At the start of almost all of these races over the last 6 weeks my legs have been sore at the starting line. I have had my doubts at each of these starting lines but the legs have not let me down. And today it was a little warmer - the temperatures in Southern Mississippi have returned to normal – 65 degrees and 100% humidity.

I was just not on game today – not physically or more importantly mentally. At the mile and a half mark I was holding steady but then I let me slip away. I pulled up – I let the digital nemesis go – he had been holding my shoulder and waiting for a break - he passed with authority and never looked back. I turned around at headed back to base camp. I was a dejected. During the much slow run I was able to pick myself up by my boot straps. FAILING is part of the process. Every night I push that trophy just a little further away. I remember when I thought it was too far out of reach in the past. I look at those lines in the sand. Some of them took years to cross (breaking the 20 minute barrier in the 5k) – but I step over them regularly. They are easy now. Some of the milestones are now easy training days. I remember the fear and trepidation of swimming 10 laps in a row in the pool much less the panic of my first 1/3 mile swim in a triathlon. I failed in the pool way back when. I failed at my first open water swims. Those are nothing now – I mean not even a warm up!

We like to succeed. We like to succeed all of the time. It feels good to accomplish things. However, these days it seems like so many accomplishments now are so easily achievable. They require no real work and therefore they have no real value. The successes are only worth the effort involved! If I don’t push the trophy a little further away each day then what value does a trophy have if you only have to walk across the run to get it?

I failed today – I pushed the limit and came up short. I like to say – “I’m never down. I’m either up or in the process of getting back up!” Today I am getting back up.


  1. Failure is one of the more important things that happens in life. It tells you that you're trying new things, that you're still learning. A long time ago one mentor told me that if you never fail, you aren't trying hard enough.

  2. Mental fortitude is one of the training disciplines we need to also focus on. It is tough when the brain wants it and the body just says no. I would have a tough time holding 6:30's for any amount of time, let alone for 5 miles.

    I still say you are going to have one hell of a season!

  3. Failing is always tough but it helps us appreciate the victories. Great job on getting back on the wagon today!

  4. THAT is how winning is done TJ!!! U didn't fail...U just found a brand new line to cross given the circumstances you took on for that day...

  5. I think the fact that you are willing to push the limit and fail is the most important thing! Don't ever give that up!