Monday, February 14, 2011

Dispprobation, Abandonment, Injury, Death

Summit of The Mountain after long day of training.  January 2011

Disapprobation, Abandonment, Injury, Death...

These characters are but a few of the incarnations of my dearest friend, Failure.  The list of aliases goes on and on and is utterly malleable - able to be cast into any shape as to fit into your life most poignantly, and therefore, most painfully.

This year I've invited Failure to dinner - the tables have been set, and, though I am a reluctant host, I'm ready to dish out my guts on the fine china.  Failure in its many forms has yet to RSVP but there is a good chance of its entourage showing up.

Little revulsion is harbored within me regarding this dinner date.  For space has been made for Success to sit shoulder to shoulder with Loss and Ridicule.

Failure is requisite on the guest list if you have any chance of Success's gracing presence.

Putting everything on the line is not necessarily a reckless gamble - a life savings wagered on black.

Owning up to the responsibility to your dreams will ultimately force you to stand upright in the midst of trench warfare - the sniper fire of Failing raining down.

Meditate on this today.  Are you in the line of fire?  Are you so on the path to personal greatness (which is nothing but the attainment of your own personal dreams) that you could find yourself with nothing but Loss?

For you must commit absolutely for a realization to arrive, thus wagering all stability and stagnation - Success never just shows up.

And if it does, or you somehow stumble upon it, what a hollow realization that would be.  What a non-realization of a realization!  What at tragedy, for your dreams were shattered by good luck, the pleasure of accomplishment tinged by fate, not a self actualization made by one's own will.

If this speaks to you pass this blog forward to someone who might need it.  Is there someone you know who has that great idea or big dream, but is sheltering themselves in the rut of mediocrity's safe harbor?

This blog of mine aims to be the infrastructure of a dismal failure.  That's right, I'm fully aware of that.  I might be documenting the greatest debacle of my life.  I'll be laying the framework for ridicule.  I'm in way over my head with all these ultra races this year.  I do, despite any other appearances, wake up at night and look into the dark and see only that emptiness and feel afraid.

There is a huge abyss before me in the Snowshoe Challenge 100 miler.  I've yet to run 100 miles straight.  (That's in May, two weeks before IM TX).  Suffering of a new level yet experienced awaits.  I'm not naive.  I actually have a rather advanced understanding of physiology at this point.  The human body, let alone my body, is ill prepared for such endeavors.  Only the mind, if properly braced and reinforced can keep forward momentum as the world collapses around you in sheets of fatigue, pain, and a conviction of the absolute futility of every additional step.

I'm blogging about what could be a devastating defeat.  Odds are not in my favor - what's under the underdog? - but at least 2011 will be distinct.  A unit of my life where I know I was on the limit of my potential.  And by going so big, the demarcation of my failure might just be a cherished success.  For setting the bar low is in our nature and diminishes the grandeur of the act, itself.  Of life itself.

But, buried beneath this scaffolding of accountability will be a well of achievement and success that is just ready to erupt once given half a chance.  That is worth every 'I told you so' or 'You're freakin' crazy'.


  1. What a great post and it gave me a lot of clarity in my situation. 3 months ago I was overweight by 35kg. I couldn't run even a minute before I had to stop gasping for air. Everyday I ran a little bit more. Last week, as I was running, something caught hold of me. I planned to run 5km and then went ahead and ran 10km. It was crazy but when I reached 10km I thought I could do 15. By the time I did 20km I realise how foolish I was as I wasn't supposed to be able to run a half marathon. I could have injured myself. I could have collapsed. Some people think I'm crazy.

    But I did it. I suffered for a few days, both physically as well as emotionally. But the price I paid was nothing compared to the realisation of being able to achieve a dream.

    I dream of competing in a triathlon. That doesn't seem to be so far fetched. Maybe one day I'll compete in an Ironman. Maybe even an ultra marathon. That also doesn't seem far fetched now.

    I started a blog. I get a dismal response from friends and family. I used to think that it's because they don't care. But maybe it's more because they are afraid of pursuing their own dreams.

    Thanks for your thoughts.....

  2. Reza! What a great story! That is amazing. I know you'll be in an Ironman one day. i started with a 5k for charity and was at Kona within a few years. It's all in your attitude - not any sort of naive notion of 'talent'. Nothing can stop you!

  3. Thanks for the push Jason. I'm running my first official 5k race soon. I;m thinking of using my triathlon exploits to raise money to donate a dialysis machine in honour of my day who died of kidney failure. Haven't got a clue how to do it though but I'm sure ideas will come. You can read my 21.1k run report here

    Looking forward to reading posts from you.


  4. Oh my Jay...what a beautiful mind you possess. I thoroughly enjoyed that wonderfully composed post, and found myself with pencil and paper quoting you as if in preparation for a college paper. Some of my faves, and what I was actually thinking when having a "I'm only going to run a little over 4 today" but then, of course! ran over 11, are as follows:
    "Failure is requisite on the guest list if you have any chance of success's gracing presence."
    "...sheltering yourself in the rut of mediocrity's safe harbor..."
    thanks, j...want to come smash up some trails soon...keep in touch!!! :)

  5. I'm so glad I found your blog! Everyday when I follow that black line in the pool or the white line on the road I find myself remembering your comments from your blog. I seem to have a mental collapse during the first half of my workouts. I then recall all your comments from your blog; it gets me motivated to get to the end of the workout. It feels great when I’m done and I’m pleased with my accomplishment. Thank for sharing everything that you do!

  6. Lisa, all thanks goes to you for reading :) That you gain from my musings means the world to me. Please, I hope you can share the insights you gain with others. I feel I'm less of an author, than maybe a tiny piece of peoples conscience that they've been neglecting.