Discover Yourself

Why Failing Doesn’t Make YOU a FAILURE!

September 23, 2015
you are not a failure

you are not a failureDo you ever have those days when it just doesn’t feel right but you can’t put our finger on it?  Have you ever wanted to do something and then failed in the attempt? It can be quite disappointing at the time and we can think of ourselves as failures.  That is how Sunday was for me.  As you may know I enjoy running and also enter quite a few fun runs during the year.  I run on Saturdays with my Saturday Sisters and enjoy a social run and friendship.  This year I’ve entered my usual events, ran them well and everything has been fine – until Sunday…..

I had recently run a half marathon in July and was just agonisingly short of the time I wanted to run it in.  Now, everyone who knows me, will tell you that of course ‘Sue will try to get that time and keep trying until she gets it’.  (I also understand that most people don’t understand the way runners think – and most think we are crazy!)

It was with this determined attitude that I entered another half marathon in September.  I worked out a training program with my personal trainer, Nikki Wakerley which also included a long run with the Saturday Sisters and some speed training.

Training was going well and I felt no different in fitness to any other time I had prepared for a run so felt quietly confident going into the event.

Well that all changed on Sunday and to make matters worse, I had entered my grandchildren into the 1km run so they were there to cheer me on in my event!

I crashed and burned in the run.  My body was not my body and was rebelling the whole way.  I couldn’t understand what was happening and at the 5km mark didn’t really know how I was going to finish the 21kms.

I have run in a full marathon and several half marathons so the distance was nothing new. However, this time I struggled so much and ran the worst time ever, although I did manage to finish.  It certainly brought me back to reality and I was devastated at the time and I have to admit embarrassed that my grandchildren were there to see the worst run of my running life.

I struggled to drive home and was physically sick so I’m sure this had something to do with my lack of performance.

I also had texts from family, friends and my PT asking how I went and I have to say my pride did take a fall.

Sue, the one who always achieves what she sets out to do – didn’t this time.

Sue, the person who is always trying to motivate and encourage others – couldn’t motivate herself this time.

My daughter, Rachel, understands me so well and knew I would be ‘beating myself up’ about it.  I was at first, however her beautiful encouraging words and those of my supportive P.T. Nikki and Saturday Sisters reminded me that I am NOT A FAILURE and they love and admire me for who I am.

For the first time, I am not beating myself up about the result.  I am accepting the fact that on this occasion I just didn’t perform well.  It doesn’t mean I won’t run again but it also means that in the end it isn’t the Olympics and it really doesn’t matter.  I gave it my best shot on the day which wasn’t enough.

I wanted to write this post because sometimes we all feel disappointed in ourselves and feel we are failures.  The new mother who feels overwhelmed with this new responsibility, the person who is looking for work and keeps getting knocked back, the person who has been made redundant, these are just some examples of how we can feel a failure even though that might not be the case.

We need to realise that although we might not have success on occasion it doesn’t mean YOU are a failure.  We can be so hard on ourselves and set such high expectations of ourselves that it can adversely affect us if we don’t reach them.

As long as you know you have tried your best at the time then that is all you can expect of yourself.

[bctt tweet=”If you give your best at any given time then that should be enough”]

My point is that life does not always go to plan and we do fail sometimes.  However, we can cut ourselves some slack and then as the song says  ‘pick ourselves up dust ourselves off and start all over again!’

[bctt tweet=”I might have failed this time but I’m not a failure!”]

I know this was one setback and perhaps my body was telling me something  and I should read my own blog about Why It is important to have fitness recovery days.  However, I will be back running and enjoying exercise as that is who I am, perhaps I will just be a little kinder to myself.

P.S.  There is still part of me that is embarassed to write about my experience but let’s not dwell on that.

Let’s Keep Sizzling



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  • Reply Leanne@crestingthehill September 25, 2015 at 20:42

    I think we focus way too much on the things we could do better and nowhere near as much on the things we accomplish. I think the fact that you ran and finished is a huge achievement in itself – my 53 year old body is in total admiration of your fitness level (even at your worst time!)

    • Reply sue September 27, 2015 at 14:33

      I know Leanne I really am too hard on myself but that is just me unfortunately. Thank you for your supportive words of encouragement it means a lot to me. Have a lovely week!

  • Reply Mackenzie Glanville September 26, 2015 at 16:27

    To feel that terrible at the 5 km mark and keep going is a sign of your inner strength! You are clearly such determined woman. I am glad you shared this, I know it must have been difficult to share, but you are such an inspiration and we all love your honesty. #Fridayreflections

    • Reply sue September 27, 2015 at 14:37

      Thanks Mackenzie, sometimes my determination is my downfall 🙂 I am very proud of my achievements so it was difficult to write, however it also reinforced in me what my priorities are and that I’m not doing such a bad job Sizzling Towards 60!

  • Reply nabanita September 29, 2015 at 01:20

    I think somehow our hearts and minds are conditioned to seek what we missed achieving..That is typically the normal response and hence the feeling that we didn’t do enough..But that’s not it…The fact that we tried is more important as cliched as it sounds..And yes failing doesn’t make anyone a failure!

    • Reply sue September 29, 2015 at 16:34

      I think you are right Nabanita we are conditioned to think we have done badly rather than looking at the fact that we at least tried. Thanks for stopping by to comment and have a lovely day!

  • Reply Nikki Frank-Hamilton November 10, 2015 at 07:52

    Um…I have never run a 5k, let alone a half marathon. I cannot imagine how badly you wanted to give up. I may have sat right down on the side of the trail and cried out in frustration. Rolled under a bush and hid. But you did it! You kept putting one foot in front of the other. That’s much harder than breezing through the race, beating your time. You have done that many times, right? But this time you had to dig deep and find out what you were/are really made of. Now, that my friend is strength and sheer willpower. Not failure. Never that!!! I’m impressed and proud to call you friend! xx

    • Reply sue November 10, 2015 at 11:47

      Yes this time was unbelievable in a bad way! I just wasn’t expecting it as I had trained like always. Anyway it did make me sit back and realise that the world didn’t end and I gave it my best shot at the time. You are so lovely I wish I lived nearby so we could grab a coffee. Take care my friend and talk soon. xxx

  • Reply MaryThe boondocks blog November 13, 2015 at 04:28

    Sue, I like Nikki have never run …period. I perfer the gentler art of walking. But I admire you with your stamina for attempting to do all these things. I get tired just thinking about it. We all have failures at one time or another in our lives. How else are we going to enjoy the achievements if there are no failures. How else are we to learn if we do not have to pick ourselves up off the floor? Like I said before, I admire you for trying. Good luck on the next one.

    • Reply sue November 13, 2015 at 13:22

      Yes Mary it certainly brought be down to earth! I have run a marathon and halfs before but this time the body just said NO! Thank you for your kind words and stopping by to comment. Have a lovely weekend!

  • Reply Life Loving November 16, 2015 at 07:25

    You definitely shouldn’t dwell on it Sue. It sounds like you’ve already achieved so much with your running. I know setting a personal goal and not achieving it this time is hard but it’ll feel so much better next time. Everyone knows running is as much a mental sport as a physical one and sometimes a single negative thought can ruin the best of intentions. Everyone is scared of failure but it’s the set back that makes us human. Without them, you would feel an achievement (and all your friends and family would think you were super-human!!!) better to be a human who sometimes misses the mark.

    Keep on running – you’ll get there.

    Sally @ Life Loving

    • Reply sue November 16, 2015 at 11:12

      I know Sally it was a real moment where I was brought back to earth! I just realised that I had to listen to my body and I have achieved what I wanted to in running. Failures will happen in life but we are stronger for it if we learn from them. Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely day!

  • Reply Lee Gaitan September 25, 2016 at 05:38

    I know what you’re going through. We hold such high “should” expectations for ourselves. I swear when I die, I’ll think spend my afterlife thinking about ways I could have “died better!” We have to do our best, let go and learn. There’s always important information hiding inside what we perceive to be a failure–just as you said maybe your body was trying to tell you something. Success comes in many forms and you are so right when you say failure only comes when we stop trying. Great post, Sue.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric September 27, 2016 at 08:55

      Thanks Lee! Like many people I do raise the bar for myself higher than anyone else. I just need to learn to be kinder to me and practice what I preach.

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