Monday, January 5, 2009

What are you afraid of?

Several years ago I realized that I was afraid of failure. Not so afraid that I wouldn't actually start something, but definitely very afraid of failing.

After grad school I spent three years chasing a marathon dream of breaking 3 hours. Somewhere along the way I became caught up in numbers and putting value and self-worth into a race result. I ran a number of very fast and successful marathons during this time-frame. In none of those races did I break 3 hours.

I'm now able to look back on those marathons and realize that I really had a lot of fun training for them and traveling to the different locations to race, often meeting my Dad at the race and racing together. Unfortunately, each time that I did not break 3 hours for some reason I thought I had failed.

When I got into triathlon my "break 3 hours" goal was temporarily set aside for new adventures and goals.

And the more I've gotten into training and racing, the more I've realized how much I really love the process of chasing a goal, whether the goal is accomplished or not. Goals drive me to work hard and see if I can do more than I thought possible. Finding out I can is just icing on the cake.

I'm going to revisit my "break 3 hours in the marathon" goal someday. I still believe that it can happen. But when I do, I think it's going to be a bit of a different approach - a fun goal to chase, and a fun process. End of story - no value put into numbers or times, and no feelings of failure.