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Did I Fail Or Choose How To Feel?

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Did I Fail Or Choose How To Feel?

I finished my first half marathon in October 2018 as the symbolic finish line in my weight loss journey (read about my experience in 325 Pounds to Half Marathon). Completing this long, challenging run was a proud, rewarding and emotional day. This run taught me that, while I have no aspirations of running a full twenty-six-mile marathon, I enjoy pushing myself to complete these grueling races. Since crossing that first finish line, I have completed five additional organized half marathons and another five or six informal thirteen-mile training runs.

For the past month or so, I have been training for my next half marathon, the Cap City Half Marathon on April 27. I love this race and the phenomenal finish line party that accompanies it. As of this week, I am deep into my training plan. I completed an eight-mile run two weeks ago and a 10k race this past weekend. My plan for this weekend is to hit the nine or ten-mile distance, which leaves me two weeks to build up to the full distance before race day.

While my pace hasn’t been as fast as I hoped, my distance has been steadily increasing. I am on track to be ready for that Cap City half marathon finish line and that cold beer at the party.

Then I changed my mind. About an hour before writing this post, I changed my registration. I will be running the quarter marathon distance instead.

This was a tough decision and initially felt like a failure. I quickly realized that it was actually a win.

I Don’t Want to Feel Like That!

Over the past few weeks, I have had some excessively challenging runs.

For a multitude of reasons, my 10k race this weekend was way harder than I expected. Some of this struggle was related to cold weather, but there were also nutrition, rest and other preparation issues. The result was a slow pace, high heart rate and, worst of all, frustration.

I got up early, pushed myself hard, finished a long race, and felt frustrated instead of proud of myself.

Beyond the negative emotional feelings, I also had pain during and after the race (driven by many of the same root causes), and it took longer to recover than usual.

Despite finishing the race, my run was frustrating and not fun, and I didn’t particularly enjoy it. This is not how I want to feel!

As I thought about running a half marathon next month (twice the distance of my 10k), I had an ah-ha moment. I don’t want to feel frustrated and disappointed in my performance in a race I really love. I want to finish, feel like the athlete I am and enjoy my celebration with the other runners.

Nobody is making me run a half marathon.

I have nothing to prove to other people (frankly, nobody gives a shit about my races) or myself.

I can do whatever the F I want! Why would I choose to do something that doesn’t make me feel how I want to?

Remembering The Why

I asked myself why I started running and why I continue running more than five hundred miles each year?

I started running to help with my weight loss journey. Then, I began running races to challenge myself and prove something to myself. And I proved it… I am a strong, capable amateur athlete who can achieve any goal I set.

I continue to run because I like it. I like pushing myself and measuring my performance. I enjoy the running community and the people I have met along the way. I love the energy of a race. Not to mention the feeling of accomplishment I feel after running a long distance at a respectable (by me) pace. I even appreciate a little bit of frustration now and then when it doesn’t cause me to forget to be proud of myself.

Forcing myself to run a half marathon that I won’t be proud of doesn’t align with my goals. I would be doing it for the wrong reasons (like just being able to say I did it). So why would I push forward with the half?

Choose Your Own Feelings

Here’s an important secret to living a happy life: you get to choose how you feel.

Last week, I revisited E+R=O or events, plus how you respond to them equals the outcomes you produce. This is a very versatile equation, and it also applies to our feelings.

 In my case, I knew my O: I wanted to finish my race, be proud of my performance, feel like the athlete I am and enjoy my celebration with the other runners. Let’s just call that “all the feels.”

Not only did I know my O, but I was also painfully aware of my E. I was working hard and not feeling great about my runs despite finishing them at a respectable (for those keeping score at home, that is a case of self-judgement… a fancy “should”) pace.

Knowing my O and R meant I needed to engage in a little happy life algebra with the R-factor equation. It was time to solve for R. In my race example, the R was pretty clear and straightforward… I needed to reduce my mileage to the quarter marathon before the April first cutoff, so that’s what I did.

How do you want to feel? Once you figure that out, achieving this feeling is well within your reach. You just have to do the feelings work first. That’s not always the easiest task for high-achievers, but it’s well worth it!

Do you need some help figuring out how you want to feel? Do you know how you want to feel but are unsure how to achieve it? Let’s chat! I am a Certified Master Life Coach and would be honored to help you choose your own feelings. Trust me, it’s worth it!

I believe in you; let me help YOU believe in you!

Click here to schedule a chat about your goals.


Meet Coach Tony

My name is Coach Tony, and I am a coach, author and project manager on a mission. I am working to build a world where no goal ever dies of loneliness.

I almost allowed one of my biggest life goals to die without ever being attempted for forty years. My goal almost died, not of failure but of loneliness. But, I took a risk and leveraged a simple, logical process that helped me wildly exceed my goal. 

I transformed my life, and you can do the same with the help of Operation Melt. 

Operation Melt provides engaging, practical content and hands-on coaching to inspire, motivate and equip project managers and other left-brained high-achievers to pursue and accomplish their biggest goals. 


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