Every once in a while, I’ll have a race that doesn’t go as planned. This race this past weekend was one of those.
I woke up late for the race.
I didn’t have directions to it.
My bike got stuck in 2nd gear for half the race.
I didn’t run a decent pace at all.
At the end, I crossed the finish line, looked at the time and shook my head in disgust.
I was disappointed.
I was disappointed that my time was slower than I wanted it to be.
I was disappointed that I wasn’t in as good as shape as I should have been.
I was disappointed that my $150 bike is beginning to have outlasted its usefulness.
Then I realized.
I’d done this race faster than a lot of other races.
I went out and did this race on an impulse.
I finished this race and wasn’t half dead (unlike some races).
I would have never been disappointed with this outcome last year.
Regrouping and Reframing
Last year, I didn’t even know it if it was possible to something like a triathlon. Now I’m disappointed that I didn’t do as well as I should have.
Being disappointed can be a good thing. Being disappointed every now and then means you’ve raised the bar. Being disappointed means it’s no longer good enough to “just” do what you’ve done before. Just finishing some of the races isn’t the goal anymore. It’s getting a PR, placing in your age group. Doing a longer distance than you’ve ever done before. It means you’ve conquered things that used to be impossible and made them sure things. Now you’re moving beyond those sure things and into something unknown again. Being disappointed means you’re growing.
Last year I was happy to get past the swim portion of a sprint triathlon and not drown. This year, I’m running a half-ironman and running sprint triathlons on a whim.
Past actions are never an excuse for future apathy. It doesn’t mean you should stop pushing your limits and going further than you’ve gone before. You should keep going further. I’m in decent shape, but I’m not really where I want to be and there isn’t really a good excuse other than I need to train more. That’s not acceptable and I’m going to do it and keep getting better. But, it is encouraging to know that even when I am disappointed in how I do, the long term trend of the path I’m on is generally going in the right direction. I just need to keep going.
So right now, it’s time for a long run.
What about you? Everyone gets disappointed at some point. What are ou working towards and what are you disappointed in? How are you getting better in spite of your disappointment?