A Proud Fail

Proud Fail

My very first guest post is from my friend Beth Carter! Find her on LinkedIn.

Beth is an amazing runner who is just as comfortable pacing a 3:30 marathon as she is pacing a 6-hour marathon.

She intensely trained all winter (a rainy, snowy, and cold Portland winter at that) for the Arizona Rock n Roll Marathon with hopes of finishing with a personal best and a Boston qualifying time.

Things didn’t go as planned. 



Blunder. Flop. Flounder. Faux Pax. Defeat. Bomb. Bust. Botch. Bungle. Implosion……

I could go on with synonyms, but you get the point.

My last race was bad. BAD – bad.

That kind of bad where you question your goals, your training, your ability, your pants size, and your sanity. Yeah. THAT BAD.

I Trained Hard

I spent 18 weeks of long, hard training to test my limits. I ran on a frozen track, with yak trax on snow, in headwinds, and on days when sane people shouted me down for the poor choice of running outside with below freezing temps. [Really, a waste management associate in Colorado Springs shouted: “You’re CRAZY, lady” from the cab of his heated truck and it was legitimately an assessment of my mental health.]

I ran with amazing friends and alone.

I ran in the rain, the cold, the cold rain and more rain and in wet shoes and kept going.

I hit my workouts and I feverishly confessed the ones I didn’t make to my running buddies. I missed 4, for the record.

I Ran Hard

And then, I raced hard.

I put it all on the course. I was sore to prove it and with a mild fever as a souvenir confirming that I had raced sick.

My best running buddy would probably trade me a bra cup size for the time I turned in, but I wasn’t happy because I missed my PR.

I missed my goal.

And I missed the supple, powerful feeling in my legs on race day.

I Missed My Goals

I didn’t hit my goals.

Some might say: “You failed.”

There is some sadness in facing your doubts. In realizing that maybe I’m no longer being capable of doing something I love and doing it really well.

But I’ve thoughtfully chosen to be proud of what I DID accomplish. And as life is wont to do, it handed me this quote –

The only real failure is the failure to try, and the measure of success is how we cope with disappointment.

Coping with Disappointment

Rather than take out the uber-critical, self-deprecating lens to over-analyze all of my faults, I’m taking a step back to be proud that while I didn’t hit my goals I did well. And I have a huge amount to be proud of.

I am proud of the fact that I haven’t immediately booked a “redemption race” and started to train much too hard.

I am proud of the fact that I learned some tricks to allow 2 hours of training to fit into weekdays when I work a “normal” sellout schedule.

I’m proud of the fact that I quit counting calories and focused on nourishing myself while training.

I’m proud of the fact that I managed to get all the laundry done each week AND put back into the closet.

I’m even proud of that marathon. I’m proud of the fact that despite an incredibly powerful desire to quit at mile 2, 4, 5, 6 and every mile thereafter, I kept going. I fought hard, I went back to my visualizations and my training and I ran hard.

Never in the prior 18 marathons had I wanted so badly to bail out. Not even close. And yet, I gutted it out. I finished hard, I adjusted my goals as I went and I kept going. I fueled, I watched my pace, I hydrated. I executed the tasks at hand and I got to the finish line.


It wasn’t even remotely the race I wanted to run. I failed to hit my goals. I was disappointed.

But that doesn’t make the race a failure.

I will regroup. I will reset goals and I will race another race.

But for now, I’m going for a run with some amazing friends. And frankly, I’m proud of that too.



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