Mailbag Monday 01 – Navigating Failure

Mailbag Monday 01 – Navigating Failure


After I post a race recap about not finishing a race (see 2013 Leadville 100 and 2013 Silver Rush 50), I receive emails and texts. Some saying “sorry about that” and others “get em’ next time.”

To kickoff Mailbag Monday, I decided to tackle this one first.

An email I received from Mary:

I have been following your blog and on Twitter for a couple years now. This past year you seemed to have had a lot of DNFs. How do you keep going? And why?

Thanks for the longtime follow! Yes, 2013 has sucked a bit when it has come to running events. I did have some great moments, made new friends, and learned a great deal about myself. However, I set no PRs … none for time, distance, or really anything else.

I am a problem solver. It is part of my day job, how I interact with people, and certainly comes into play when reaching for big goals. Needless to say, I have spent many hours on runs and commutes wondering what went wrong. Was there a change in training or nutrition? Did I just not feel healthy on race days? Was there something I shouldn’t have done? What is the pattern to all of these answers?

Well, I still don’t fully know.

What I do know, is it would be a complete shame if I just threw my hands in the air and said my time has passed. That’s crap and I do not accept it.

I do not fear failure. Some could make the argument that I look for failure. For in that moment of failing is when opportunities present themselves.

Rather than provide a history lesson, just know that many inventions and great discoveries were created out of failure. 5 years ago I didn’t even know that ultramarathons exist. My first one was 50 miles at 12,000 feet of elevation with over 8,000 feet of climbing. I don’t do easy very well. Part of my personality and brain has to keep going. It’s just that sometimes my physical body says no.

I won’t lie (because I suck at it), deciding on what to do next has not been easy. My strategy is always to surround myself with smart people. They find the right things to say and understand me enough to point me in the right direction. The group is a mix … non-runners to experienced runners to similar experiences. I haven’t found another husband and father of 4 that is trying to conquer one of the most difficult 100 mile mountain runs, but I hope to help others from my failures.

So how do I keep going … I do it for the adventure. To see what’s around the corner. So I can move my line of possibility.

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