Thursday, June 24, 2010

Facing Failure

On March 1, I changed the way I care for my body. I started fueling instead of feeding. I focused on fruits and veggies as my main source of nutrition. I started the Couch to 5K running program. I signed up to run a 5K in 4 months. I started to really focus on running. The Couch to 5K program made it easy. Even when I hit a hurdle, I knew I was giving myself 4 months and not just the 9 weeks to get to a point where I could run 3.1 miles. 2 weeks ago, I was fighting the mental game and wondering if I would get there. Then, last Tuesday or Wednesday, I did something to my leg or knee or hip or IT band or who knows what. I iced it, I got a brace, I went for a sports massage, I took it easy on exercise (even taking about 4 days off completely). It isn't better. I tried to run at lunch today. This was it- Christy and I were going to run the 3.1 miles on a neighborhood course. I felt ready. I was a little uncertain of my leg but figured I'd just pay attention to my body and I'd know if I needed to stop or if I was fine. I seemed fine. Until about... 1.25 miles in to the run. And my body quit. I tried a few more times. I was using everything I had in my brain to overcome what I hoped to just be a mental fake out. I finally stopped close to where the route started. I sat in the shade and stretched and started rubbing my knees. There is definite pain in my left knee. It definitely felt very different from my right knee. I sat and waited for Christy (who very awesomely ran the 3.1 route- whohoo!!). And I tried not to dwell on it. At the gym, it hit me. I fought the tears- I lost the fight. A few times. It is overwhelming to me to think that I won't be able to run the entire course on Saturday. It is outside of my comprehension to think that I should possibly even consider not running at all. This is the goal I set 4 months ago. This is what I've been working towards. This is why I've been training. This is how and why I lost weight. This was the event where I was going to prove to myself that I can run, that I can completely change myself, that I can do things I never dreamed I'd do. And that seems to be slipping from my grasp. The race is less than 2 days away. And I am at my desk, icing and nursing a hurting knee. Believe me- I am proud of everything I've done the past 4 months. I know that there are other races. I know that there are other things I can work toward. I know that there are other goals I can set. I know that I have to take care of my body, my knees, and so on. But it still stings that this little goal is slipping away and there isn't much I can do about it. I'm not quitting. I refuse to quit. I'll do everything I can to get my knee as rested and healthy as possible by Saturday and I will do the 5K. I'm still clinging to the hope that my knee issue popped up strong today because there were a couple of little hills in this neighborhood... the race is on a flat set of roads so maybe... I'm not going to blow my knee out or anything. I'm not that stubborn or crazy. But I'm not going down without a fight. Coldplay's "Fix You" is a song I recently discovered thanks to a cover by Straight No Chaser. It's brought me some comfort this afternoon.
When you try your best, but you don't succeed When you get what you want, but not what you need When you feel so tired, but you can't sleep Stuck in reverse And the tears come streaming down your face When you lose something you can't replace When you love someone, but it goes to waste Could it be worse? Lights will guide you home And ignite your bones And I will try to fix you And high up above or down below When you're too in love to let it go But if you never try you'll never know Just what you're worth Lights will guide you home And ignite your bones And I will try to fix you Tears stream down on your face When you lose something you cannot replace Tears stream down on your face And on your face I... Tears stream down on your face I promise you I will learn from my mistakes Tears stream down on your face And on your face I... Lights will guide you home And ignite your bones And I will try to fix you


Lola said...

I am SO sorry that you are hurting right now. But I have to comment- you are not FAILING at anything! Your knee may be failing you at the moment, but YOU are not failing.

The disappointment is very real- and I know that feeling well. What seperates you, from others, though - you WILL dust your shoulders off and heal, and get back on that horse OR find another way to use your body to reach your goals.

I'm not going to say "shake it off" because I'm certain you are disappointed about the race, and I'm disappointed for you - but I'll be first in line to run the first possible 5K you can do WITH YOU!

Barnmaven said...

Oh, Liz, I'm sorry mama. I know you'll find another 5K to run, but I know that not being able to run THIS one is terribly disappointing.

Go see the doctor about that knee, will you? If its hurting you that much it needs more than just rest.

Hugs to you, my friend.

C. Beth said...

I know this is SO frustrating and disappointing. This has been such a huge, landmark goal that you've been focused on. I'm so sorry!

May I make a suggestion? Of course you can take it or leave it! But here's what I think: Go ahead and set another 5K goal. Whether it's a race, or just a day by which you will run your own 5K, set it now. Give plenty of time for that knee to heal. That way if your knee DOESN'T cooperate Saturday, you already have your new goal in place.

CH_BeBestMe said...

I'm so sorry Liz. I agree with the others though. YOU are not failing. You are rocking the house. I agree with Beth too...set a new 5k goal to work toward. I know the sting of not making a race goal you've been working hard for. I was trying to do a longer race, a 13k, several years back. In hindsight, I trained too hard, too fast....tried to do too much too quickly. When I got up to running about 8 miles, my knees said enough was enough. I had been training for several months. But I had to give it up. It still stings. Someday, I will run that race. Not this year. Hopefully next. But it is very disappointing to work so hard for something and then not get to do it.
Rest that knee, give it what it needs. If a doc visit is it, then go. All of your hard work is valuable and will still pay off. It has already, right? Hang in there!!!!

Mellodee said...

First, this is NOT failure. This is a setback. Second, was your goal really just about the race? Seems to me the most important part is the healthier eating, exercise, weight loss, and the pride that comes with it. Third, there will always be another race. From what I can tell this was an artificial goal, so no real consequence comes from postponing while you nurse your knee. No one is holding up a scorecard, no one is insisting you cross that particular finish line. Any finish line will do. If you are not able to run this race, no one will die and it won't matter in fifty years. I promise. Take care of your knee and don't be so hard on yourself. To keep things in perspective, some folks have been trying to achieve their own goals and don't ever reach the level you have!

(Also, if this knee continues to be a problem, it may be time to take thee to a doctor!)

Teacher Tom said...

Mellodee is spot on, Liz, but I'm sure that doesn't change how you feel.

Failure is a function of our definitions. I don't have the exact quote in front of me, but a reporter once asked Thomas Edison how it felt to have failed 1000 times to invent the light bulb. His answer, "I didn't fail a 1000 times. Inventing the light bulb was a process with 1000 steps."

I'm sorry to hear you're hurting and I'm glad you're being realistic and not thinking of making things worse. And I know you know to brush yourself off and keep going. =)