Runs for Cookies: Admitting Defeat

Something I’m starting to get better at over the years is admitting when my plans and/or goals don’t go my way. The biggest example has been my Wednesday Weigh-Ins. While I was losing weight over the past year and a half, I continued my weigh-ins every single week, regardless of whether I’d gained weight or not. Previously, I would just stop posting them because it was embarrassing to share that I’d “failed” or just plain didn’t meet a goal. I felt like gaining weight meant I didn’t try hard enough.

Over time, I realized how stupid this mentality was. Nobody *really* cares about whether I reach my goals. Nobody *really* cares about whether I gained weight. They don’t think about it all day–or even think about it at all–except for the moment they are reading my blog.

This really changed my attitude about running, too. One day I just realized that NOBODY CARES what my finish times are at races or what my training pace is. The only person who even thinks about it is me! When other people tell me their race times, I don’t think anything of it–and I certainly don’t judge them. I simply don’t care how long it took them to run 5K or 13.1 or 26.2 miles. Unless they run a ridiculously fast finish time, it doesn’t even really register. I used to think that it was important–that I had to run “respectable” times–but would anyone even remember what my finish time was, even 60 seconds after I told them? I’m guessing nope.

Did I reach my goal in this race? It was a half-marathon, but I don’t know if I finished in 1:50-something or 2:30-something or a number in between. No clue!

I’ve heard a LOT of people’s finishing times over the years since I started running, and I can honestly tell you that I don’t remember a single one of them.

The other day, I was trying to think of what my finish time was in my first marathon, in Cleveland. I honestly couldn’t remember! I knew it was around 5:30, but if even *I* can’t remember, why would I think anyone else would?

When I worked at Curves years ago, we would weigh and measure women. I weighed people so often that the number would never even register in my brain; I just looked at the number and copied it down in their file. It was kind of like when you drive a familiar route every day, you don’t really remember the drive because it’s so automatic. The number could have been 120 pounds or 350 pounds and I wouldn’t have given it any thought, let alone remember what it was. It was sad that a lot of the women felt like they had to explain or maybe worried that I was judging them; in reality, their weight meant absolutely nothing to me.

When I finally had this “aha!” moment that NOBODY CARES but me, it was freeing in a way. I felt so much less pressure–pressure that I had put on myself–and I stopped trying to be perfect all the time. I have failed at a lot of things in my life, and I’m going to fail at a lot more. Anyone who says that they’ve never failed is lying.

I’m ambitious when I set goals, probably to a fault. I dream big and plan out everything and expect it to go perfectly. Once in a while it does, but most of the time it doesn’t. And when I do succeed, it very rarely goes according to plan. One of the hardest parts of blogging about my life is that my goals and failures are out there for everyone to see. If I fail or I quit or I just change my mind about what I’m working towards, it’s hard to admit! It’s hard not to think about people judging me from behind their computer screens.

Having the “nobody cares but me” attitude has helped with that so much. I’m the only one putting the pressure on myself to reach goals–whether it’s weight loss or running or something else entirely–and now, admitting defeat is getting so much easier.

So what is it that inspired this post? Three days ago, I quit 75 Hard. I didn’t just fail at a goal. I quit! Plain and simple. I decided it wasn’t a good time for me to take on such a huge challenge–I had SO much going on over the past few months and I needed a mental break. A mental toughness challenge is literally the exact opposite of what I want or need right now.

I know that I was really excited going into it, and I had made up my mind that I was going to finish it, no matter what. I would not quit. I would be “perfect” for 75 days.

Quitting 75 Hard was prompted by my having to stop working on finishing the bathroom/bedroom project to go work out for 45 minutes, only to work on the bathroom again, only to then exercise another 45 minutes. Meanwhile, I was still doing all of the other stuff I had to do during the day. I was hating it! I was in the zone while drywalling and then I found it really difficult to work on it again after exercising.

And yes, this is the whole point of 75 Hard–it’s *supposed* to be inconvenient and hard–but I’m not mentally tough right now. I want to finish the bathroom because it’s been weighing on me for three months. I know I could do both if I was feeling mentally tough, but I want a break. I want things to be easy for a little while.

Despite admitting defeat, I feel really good about quitting. I don’t feel bad about myself, and I don’t feel like I “failed”. I just feel like I am doing what is best for me. Maybe I’ll try again down the road, maybe I won’t… but I am not going to beat myself up over this attempt. I’ve failed and succeeded in tons of goals or challenges throughout my lifetime–and interestingly, the ones I remember are the successes.

I don’t remember the races that I failed to hit my time goal; but I do remember the ones that I succeeded. And I think that’s a good thing! Nobody wants to dwell on their failures.

This photo is from a race that I remember. I worked SO HARD for months to run a PR in the 10K. I trained my ass off. And I beat my goal time by 19 seconds!

I do still have the goal of Michael Goggins’ 4x4x48 challenge, though–I’d really like to do that one day. And the past week and a half has sparked an excitement about running again. Not because I have to, but because I want to. So I’ll continue to run, and if/when I feel ready, I’ll take on the 4x4x48!

Now, I’m off to work on the bathroom… and I won’t be taking an exercise break 😉

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