Over the past month the more I have been training the more I have realized that I will not be able to complete the marathon, at least not how I want to. I wanted to be able to run with a time someone without any impairments would run it with the same amount of time I had to train. Unfortunately the type of training required for that finish time has led to pain and subsequent injury. It became such an issue that it stopped me from running all together and forced me to focus on just recovery so that I can complete my job and everyday activities with minimal pain or fear of further injury.
The pain would wake me up. It would cause me to lose my balance. I would be reminded with each step that I was not going to be able to complete this marathon. Worse, was thinking of the possible long term effects of this pain. Have I pushed my body as far as it can go? Will I be able to continue my active lifestyle with this injury? Will I have to continue to give up things due to pain, injury, and the lack of ability to complete the activity? This was a weird space for me to be in because up to this point if I did everything right, put in the work, and surrounded myself with the right people I would be able to complete anything. Now here I am and my body is telling me no. My body is telling me that I must stop and if I continue it will only become worse from here.
One of the hardest parts about this situation was the not knowing of the pain. While the experience of the pain would often stop me in my tracks and force me to take a step back, the not knowing of what the pain meant was unsettling. The chronicity of it made it seem like it would never go away, it would only get worse, and it likely meant something far worse was wrong, that is more than a simple overuse injury.
I did not want to take a step back and could not face the reality of what this pain meant. At first it stopped me from posting about my journey, fearful that this was the end of the journey. Then it crept into other things that I hold as foundational to my wellness like my mobility routine, meditation, journaling, exercising in general, not just running. I slept more and started doing things to distract myself from my situation like watching more Netflix. It seemed to creep into every aspect of my life and as the pain would wake me up in the middle of the night it would remind me of my impending failure and all I wanted to do was forget about it, turn away from it, burry it deep inside and pretend like it was not there.
Then, for a reason I cannot pin down I decided to just sit with that feeling of failure. I allowed myself to feel all of what it would be like to not complete the marathon. To drop out and not continue with training and fundraising. Once I stopped running from this feeling I was able to see it for what it really is. It was the fear of not completing the marathon in the way I envisioned it happening. All the other things I was worried about I could manage. I know how to rehabilitate myself and I know others that can help me in the process. I know how to manage the pain and how to seek out the appropriate help. I know that I have many years of mobility ahead of me based on my current activity level. The thing that paralyzed me most and made everything seem impossible, that clearly had manageable solutions, was my idea of what it would be to succeed at this marathon.
So here I am to say that I have failed. I failed at completing the marathon with the goal of completing the marathon in under four hours. However, I will succeed in completing the marathon. I will succeed in working each day to put myself in the best position to complete the marathon with the best time my body will allow. I will succeed in showing up everyday and being consistent with my workouts. I will succeed in giving every bit of energy I have to becoming better than the day before. I will succeed in accepting my body for what is while working towards what it can be tomorrow. I will succeed is sharing both my failure and my success because that is how journeys are completed. They are not completed with a string of success but with a willingness to get up after each failure.
On a backpacking trip going through the Ansel Adam wilderness one of my mentors asked me how I defined success as we rested around the fire after a long day of hiking. I had never defined it by putting words to it, but I knew the feeling of it, my idea of it. I had read and seen many stories of success and what it means to succeed. The common theme in all of them was failure. I told him that my idea of success is getting back up after failure because on the path to success there are many times that you fail and you only truly fail when you do not get back up. So just like when I was in front of that fire in the wilderness, here I am to say that I have failed, but I have succeeded in getting back up.
You can join me in helping others get up after failure by visiting: achilles-international-nyc-2019/ptwithcp