Three hours, eight minutes and some change. After 26.2 miles that was the time displayed on the official clock. Did I experience defeat? Certainly. Was I defeated. Not a chance in hell.
So close. A mere 3 minutes less and the outcome is completely different. The emotions and feelings are one exhilaration and less despair. Rather than experiencing defeat experiencing success.
As much as I was disappointed, I am already excited at the next opportunity to give it another shot.
Regardless of the race, there is a high probability that each racer has a goal in mind. Beating their last race time, setting a new PR or even qualifying for arguably the pinnacle of running events – The Boston Marathon.
In the marathon world, there is a small phrase that has haunted thousands of runners in their shot at obtaining something special. As if a hill at mile 5, 10, 15 or even 20 is bad enough, imagine rounding the final street corner at 25 and staring you down is a hill in your path. Not just any hill – heartbreak hill. This change in elevation (no matter how little or big of an incline) is enough to set your quads on fire and make you borderline furious.
99% complete and out of no where your world is rocked. Whether you knew it was coming doesn’t matter. Here you are now facing the ‘hill’, and it’s something that must be overcome. This is the point in time where you dig deep and utilize every piece of mental and physical strength to push through to the end; no worries about how you finish, just that you finish.
Finishing with Purpose
After making one last push, body tired and aching from the last several hours, you finish. Whether or not the goal you set out to accomplish was attained, there is value in finishing. Once you have slowed down, and given yourself time to think, you are damn proud at what you just did. Sure, you are upset that the ending wasn’t what you spent countless hours training and working towards, but it’s the new stepping stone for getting you where you want to be.
So, how to best overcome the last climb?
- Just keep moving – Fast or slow, just keep your legs moving. I promise it’s easier to keep going than it is to start back up. At the end of a week long project and ready to call it quits? Push through until the end. Lost 10 pounds and struggling to drop the last five to meet your goal? Keep hitting the gym and eating right. Whatever hill you’re about to climb, head towards with confidence and courage and continue to do what you’ve been doing.
- Have vision and focus on the end – You can see the finish line – the end results. It is within reach and waiting for you. There will be a team people ready to support you at the end. No matter how you feel now physically and mentally, hone in on the end results and how much better you will feel when reached.
- Know that you can experience defeat, but you will not be defeated – You will not let this last obstacle you are facing be your demise. It will not be the last deadline that defeats you. It will not be the last interview that stands in the way of the job you want. I’ll be damned if it’s anything that is going to break you to the point of being defeated. You can experience heartbreak and disappointment, but it’s not going to knock you down for good.
The purpose in falling short at the finish isn’t to break you down, but rather give you the ability to build yourself back up. Begin anew and try again. Make changes to your training, adopt new methods and provide yourself with another opportunity to achieve success.
Racing through Life
It’s your natural tendency to race through life – to always be seeking something or trying to attain a certain point. Humans strive for satisfaction and will do everything possible to prevent the opposite.
Have you ever spent weeks and months training for a specific event, only to get hurt or fall short of your goal in the competition?
Have you ever spent hours preparing for a test or presentation only to receive a ‘B’ instead of the ‘A’ you anticipated?
Have you ever set out to begin a workout program and lose 10 pounds, but been sidetracked and only lose 5 pounds?
There are so many examples where you push yourselves to the extreme. You do everything in our power to arrive at the outcome you desire. When you reach your goals, all is good and well. When you fall short, you struggle with the question ‘why’. You will never grow if you choose to beat yourselves up over analyzing every specific detail of what went wrong.
True growth will occur when you accept that although you might have experienced defeat, you have not been defeated. When you haven’t been defeated, this is the sign that you are still learning, still battling and still experiencing success.
(The image embedded in this post is the elevation chart for the Cleveland Marathon. Approximately a 150 foot climb in less than a 1/4 mile – heartbreak hill!)