Feedback, not Failure

There is this saying in Weight Watchers the leaders use when a member gets on the scale and sees a number they were not expecting, “it’s feedback, not failure.” Sometimes when I hear those words it annoys me, but it is true. Just because there is a gain, doesn’t mean that I have failed. I have to look at the number and look at my week and see where it “went wrong”.  I have to use the feedback the scale is giving me. I had to put this same idea into play yesterday after my practice triathlon.

Me and some of the girls I am training with

The day started out great. It was a beautiful Sonoma County morning. The sun was out (kind of rare in the summer) and the water in the river was warm. We got in and started our swim. I felt great. I didn’t care who was around me, or who was in front of me. It was just me and the water. I felt strong and confident. When the swim was over I got out of the water feeling pretty good about the next stage.

Feedback learned while swimming…I can’t swim and pee at the same time. I know. It is gross to think about people peeing in the river, but it is a fact. Get over it. But I guess I am one of the few who doesn’t since I just couldn’t get myself to go. So, I had to go before my ride, making my transition time last longer than I wanted.

The ride went well also. I hopped on my bike and felt good. I love riding out along the country roads surrounded by vineyards. Riding along those roads, I can forget about the length of time I am on my bike. All I have to do is pedal, breathe and pay attention to cars and potholes.

Feedback learned while cycling…I need people around me. When I ride by myself I tend to get too caught up in the beauty around me and pretty soon realize I am barely pedaling my bike. I don’t think this is going to be an issue come race day since there will be hundreds (thousands?) of people around me.

Then came the run. It started out OK, but within a mile of leaving our transition area, I could feel this pit-like feeling in my stomach. It felt like there was a rock in my stomach that then started making me feel like I was going to throw up. So, I had to walk. Getting through the six miles that I ran was difficult and included a lot of negotiation with myself – “just run to that sign. OK. Now keep running to the next sign and I promise you can walk for a bit.” It was very frustrating because this was not what I had imagined when I was “mentally rehearsing” how the day was going to go. When thinking of the day I was strong. I did great. I barely walked at all. Plus, I had felt great up until that moment.

I was also disappointed because I had envisioned running 12 miles and I only completed six. While running back to the transition I kept going back and forth with what I should do. I kept thinking, “If this was happening on race day I wouldn’t have the option to stop. I would have to keep going.” But, that was the thing…it wasn’t race day and I knew that if I kept going I would mentally beat myself up and create a sense of anxiety for race day. It was better for me psychically to stop and feel disappointed about that than continue and create something far more negative.

What this did afford me was a chance to figure out what went wrong. Why did that happen? I think I have figured out the issue, and will alter it come race day.

I hate the quitting, because as my WW leader says, “Quitting in not an option.” So, it was hard for me to just run six miles yesterday. However, I refuse to see myself as a failure and instead will take the feedback I gained and run with it.

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2 Responses to Feedback, not Failure

  1. JoAnn Crohn says:

    Ugh.. running. What you described sounds so familiar to me. I have had that feeling while marathon training (I even had it during the San Diego marathon when I wanted to quit at mile 8). The thing that helps me is giving myself permission to walk for as long as I think I need to. What has always happened, is that the walk time gives my mind a chance to reboot and my subsequent miles end up being faster. It’s bizarre, I know, but don’t beat yourself up. Running is such a complicated thing that I’ve realized I’m not always completely in control of.

  2. Thanks JoAnn. It is good to know I am in good company. I like the idea of using the walk time to “reboot” instead of thinking what has gone wrong, etc. I am constantly in a battle with my mind, especially with running. I love it, but it is my hardest sport to get a handle on and really feel confident doing. I think that is why I continue to avoid running a full marathon.

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