Sunday, June 15, 2014

Define: Failure?

At supper time, we'll often use our phone to search for definitions. It's fun. I'll lift up the phone and say "Ok, Google", and when the voice search dialog pops up, we'll say "Define: <something>". We've defined a whole bunch of stuff. On request, by my Son, we were all enlightened to learn the definition for Poop. The voice on the cell phone read over each word in a semi-robotic voice, while my Son giggled.

If you actually googled "Define: Failure" you would come up with either "A lack of success" or "the omission of an expected or required action". Over this past year, I have been learning that many things are both true, and false, or at least my mind has made them both. Let's take running an ultra marathon... For me, success would require me to run 100 km, or 4-25km loops through a stunning, but difficult river valley course. The course started in Gold Bar park, and snaked it's way through Goldstick park, Capilano park, Strathcona Science park, Sunridge Ski-area, and Rundle park. The weather was perfect for running.

I won't hide it... I did not finish the course. There are lots of reasons, and now that I have had time to sleep on it, I realize how easy it could be to let thoughts slip, and drown myself in failure. It is easy because according to the definition, I did fail. I failed at completing the required 100km distance. I did run 55km though, and that's no small feat. If I had entered the 50km race, I would have succeeded. Another point. There is a difference between failing at the "required action", and being a failure. I am definitely not a failure. Far from it. The road we've taken to try and get to a point where we could run the Sinister 7 has been far from easy. Virginie is still injured, and our runs have been very depressing. Go ahead, read through the earlier posts, it was the same thing every week. I will often tell people that ultra-marathoning is a sport for the mental. It's 90% mental. The other 10% is all in your head. I lived in my head yesterday though. On the first lap, I had for the most part mentally signed out. I just did not want to be there. I made good time though, and almost equally good time on my second lap. There are many "if's" that run through my head:

  • If I had kept going
  • If I had trained harder
  • If I had brought more music
  • If I had more people to talk to
  • If, If, If...
Anyone else go through this ridiculous ritual? Well, I'm choosing not to. I am a unique person, worthy of compassion. I try my best all the time. Unfortunately, due to the activity I've chose, failure is a super easy thing. It's often very easy for me to choose it. Sometimes, it's healthier to find a sport or activity that will give more positive feedback. You can argue the opposite though. So where am I at? 

My brother in law "Lehi" passed away almost years ago. He had a reputation for being a very honest person. His older brother Sam told me once "When Lehi says something, he means it." I came to know him as the epitome of honesty. After our reception, I found myself back in the church looking for something. I don't remember exactly why I was there, but I do recall getting cornered by Lehi in his wheel chair. He looked up at me and told me "I love you". The quiet gesture of love and acceptance has touched me to this day. I write it now with tears in my eyes. I go back to our theme, "When we love someone". 

Mathoni would call us every Sunday. I admit, some Sundays I just did not have time for him, but the thing that really impressed me is that he was consistent. In his own way, he left a big mark by doing a simple thing. He did not just call us, he called his other Brother and 3 Sisters every week. I remember while visiting him, I would give him the "I'm watching you" gaze. You know, the one you give to trouble-makers by holding to fingers towards your eyes, and then pointing at the person. Whenever I would do this, he would hint that he was going to run me over by inching toward me on his wheel chair. That was our way to kid around. I loved it.

The moral of my post? I choose to not look at yesterday as a failure. I choose to look at it as a success. It was not easy, in fact, it was really really hard. I give it 100% and then some. Today, I choose to love myself.

Now, what of the Sinister 7? I'm still leaning toward running it. Why not? I'm super stiff from yesterday. I must have gotten something out of it. If I give'er really hard for the next week and a bit, who knows? My goal is to raise funds and awareness of neuro-muscular disorders. The next is to run 100-miles.

Perhaps the lyrics of this Toby Mac song summarize it better. 

Oh, by the way, we're just over $1000 into our $7000 goal. That's good, but not great. Please, share this post. Let's get the word out.

When we love someone, anything is possible.

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