Thursday, October 27, 2011


In grad school I had to write a paper for a psychology class on a personal issue. I don't remember what I wrote, but it was something lame and un-personal, and it was returned with red ink scrawling "REDO this on something real." Doh! So I re-wrote the paper on Fear of Failure. Ironically I got a B- on it, which at the time to me was a massive FAIL.

I like to think I've since learned how to deal with fear of failing. However, it occasionally shines through when I get a really hard workout on my schedule. I love hard workouts - the kind where I'm not sure I can complete them as written, with the numbers/paces/watts that I assign in my mind as a "successful" workout, but I know the challenge of it all will be fun. Or just hard. And in the end I usually come away from it still gaining something - either mental or physical.

I typically have to remind myself that failing workouts is often part of determining what my current limits are. And if I never reach that "fail" point then how do I really know what I am capable of?

The pool this morning, in the middle of my set where I was trying very hard not to fail. I didn't quite hit all the times I was looking for, but I'm also fairly certain the set in no way qualifies as a FAIL.


Steve said...

Wow!! what a great teacher. You remember him, because he made you open up, and challenged you.

Want to know something personal of me?? I took a couple pictures yesterday, because people always have pictures on their blog. I was lazy, and didn't put them on my blog. Michigan is pretty this time of year, and I am not sharing as I should with people who would like to see it.

I still like to get something down if possible, because I want people to know they are important, and really I guess it is o.k. for us to struggle with stuff. :)

Good luck with your workouts, and your race coming up. You really have been gifted with a very healthy ability to get the most out of your workouts.

Some of us break down, but we still love to see you succeed. :)


I'm thinkin maybe our masters coach may throw in a couple of fail sets at practice tonight.

Lisa said...

Fail has always felt like too much of an all-encompassing description. And I hear it a lot with regards to "not PR'ing" or other goal shortcomings.

What's sad to me is when I hear the generalized FAIL when it truly isn't a complete failure. Just another opportunity to get in another race to get that PR. Maybe I'm simplifying, but FAIL is not usually the word I think of when I've tried something new or challenged myself - and perhaps, didn't get the result I'd hoped.

Now, hopefully I can remember this when I run my 9th marathon this Sunday!!!!

solarpowered said...

Do you know why you got a B- on that paper? That's always the interesting part for me, as a teacher -- does the student understand why they got the grade they got... I'm guessing that's one of the more powerful educational moments you'll remember from your life. Good stuff.

And yes -- when you're staring at those numbers on the paper and thinking how HARD that workout will be, it can freak you out. But what a great sense of accomplishment when you make it happen! Great post.

Thomas Bussiere said...

If you never give up, regardless of the results, you never fail.

Snakebite said...

Going deep in the pain cave to the point of failure is a good thing. You learn what your limits are and can recognize them during an event. The theory being you know the failure point and you can work just up to it but not attain it. A person must recognize and differentiate between the mental failing point and the physical. They are rarely the same.