Dealing with Disappointment

Disappointment…I have been waiting to be far enough away from my CIM disappointment to write about it, but as the days go by, I realize that there isn’t any amount of time that is going to pass that will make me feel OK with what happened. I have experienced enough loss and disappointment in my life to know what will and what will not easily pass, and what happened on 2 December, unfortunately, is not something that will easily pass by for me.

I have experienced disappointment many times in my life: I was disappointed when my parents got divorced, I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to afford the college I wanted to go to, I was disappointed at grades I received in school, I was disappointed at numerous points in my life; including race results. But, a disappointment that I was never faced with, until 2 December 2012 was a Did Not Start. Not being able to begin something I had trained through dealing with injury for, was incomprehensible. I was taught to finish what you started, and to not even begin what I had trained so hard for was just too much for me to deal with – luckily that day I had some magical medication and a great friend to get me through the other side.

Training for the CIM was hard. Not only were the miles hard to get through, but there were injuries along the way as well: I had a bum foot, and a bad back that put me out for three weeks and also hindered some of my subsequent runs as well. But through all the injuries and all the “should I really be doing this” moments, I moved on…I knew that I should be doing it because this is what I did and this is what I wanted to do.
I have read and been told numerous times to focus on the things you can control on race day, so I didn’t worry that the weather forecasted heavy flood-like rain; instead, I made sure I had a baseball hat to wear to keep the rain off my head, a running rain jacket, and a garbage bag to wear before the race. I followed my own advice and hydrated and “carbed” up through the week. When I arrived in Sacramento, I was race ready. What I wasn’t ready for was what happened on the bus to the start line…

When we boarded the bus the wind was blowing and there was a whisper of rain, but it didn’t seem foreboding. I was nervous, but I felt like the day was going to be just fine. I had a plan in my head…I was going to go it easy and run with my friends who were running the relay – as long as I was with “Stacie’s Angels”, everything was going to be just fine. The wind shook the bus as we drove out of Sacramento, but I wasn’t worried. Five minutes into the bus ride I felt a pain in my abdomen, but I ignored it, figuring it was a nervous twinge. However, as the moments ticked by, the pain grew more intense.

I kept the pain to myself, thinking “this can’t be happening” as each surge of pain went by, but knowing all the time what was happening. However, I didn’t want to say anything, thinking that by not saying anything it would make it go away. Sadly, there was no ignoring it….it never passed and it never went away. Instead the pain increased with each moment – a pain I couldn’t ignore and a pain I couldn’t pretend wasn’t happening. Long story short – I didn’t do the marathon.

Telling people I didn’t do the marathon was hard. It was like I had failed at something. Even now, a month later writing about it, I feel like I failed and I don’t like to fail. (This is where I feel like I will never be OK with the disappointment). See, the thing is, is that when I was disappointed in a grade, I knew how to fix it, and when I am disappointed in a race result, I know what I need to work on next time to do better. But not ever starting something because of a physical ailment that I can’t control, I don’t know how to make that better. I don’t know how to make that feeling better because I can’t say, “well, next time that won’t happen” because I don’t know it will never happen again.

Here is what I have realized in the last month: I may not be able to guarantee that it will never happen again, but I have to move on. I can’t allow this disappointment to keep me from moving forward. Yes. It is hard when people ask me how my marathon was, but I tell them what happened with a scrunch of my shoulders and say, “what can I do?” I move on.
I can’t and won’t ever forget about my first, and hopefully only, DNS, but I can move on from it. It has made me be more vigilant to find out what is going on with my body and trying to find out ways to alleviate the issues; it has made me value more the training process than the event and it has helped me to appreciate the things I have in front of me.

Disappointment in life is going to happen, and I don’t have control of many things in this world, but I do have control of my reaction to the disappointments that will occur. My reactions to many of the disappointments in life have shaped the person I am today, and while I saw the DNS at the CIM as negative at first (and even at the start of writing this point) I have since seen the positives of what happened and I look forward to doing it next year, on a very important date in my life – 8 December 2013.

Disappointment happens…it is our reaction to it that defines it and solidifies it into our lives.

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One Response to Dealing with Disappointment

  1. JoAnn says:

    You have a such a great attitude about it 🙂 You are going to crush the next CIM! I know that this disappointment is a tough one. I hate those as well. I keep telling myself that I gain more knowledge and strength from the tasks that I do not succeed at, than those I do.

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