“May” Dendy Convinces “January” Dendy to MOVE ON!

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Okay, truth time. I’ve been moping around in a state of mourning since Sunday. Yes, I’ve been saying all of the right things and feigning strength, but I’ve been a crumpled mess inside. Now, as I read back what I just wrote, I see how completely ridiculous it is. I mean, people out there are fighting cancer, competing with physical impairments, dealing with the loss of loved ones, and all that happened to me was that I didn’t quite make my marathon time goal! Dendy, get over yourself! You don’t even have a right to be sad! But, alas, I have been sad. I trained for an entire year for my A race. On race day, I brought my A game. I went after that A goal, full effect. I was doing extremely well, all up until the point where I wasn’t. That’s when I became hopeless, and then it was all over. Now, I still finished my marathon, so that’s a great accomplishment. I recently read that only 1 out of every 100 people have completed a marathon, so the fact that this was my third time to do it is really very cool. Additionally, I still managed to finish within a reasonable time for my gender/age group, so that’s something to be proud of. Plus, I felt like throwing in the towel and quitting, and I didn’t. I kept muddling through that marathon until I reached the finish line. That is something to be extremely proud of. So, I’ve been licking my wounds and getting myself into the correct mindset. One thing I did was to go back to a blog I wrote back in May entitled, “What Do Sports Teach Us About Life?” and everything started to come together for me. I realize that sounds kind of egotistical … I went to something I wrote eight months ago to bring me solace now, but it really worked. I have to say, the Dendy that wrote these words eight months ago might as well have been speaking to the defeated Dendy that is writing this now. I wrote a lot about how a true athlete accepts her limitations and setbacks and learns and grows from them. Wow. I need to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk. This, right here, is my chance to truly practice what I preach. Of the nine areas I wrote about in that blog entry, four points apply to me now. I’ve copied my own words back from May here and I underlined the points that speak to me now:

emily dickinson1. How to win and how to lose.

Obviously, one of the first things learned is how to lose and how to win. A competitor should be graceful when he loses as well as when he wins. When we lose it’s easy to become upset, and honestly, a bit of upset after a loss is a good thing. For, the goal is to come out on top; to perform well; to enjoy a victory. Often times; however, despite our best efforts, we lose. In these moments it is important to remember the bigger picture. To remember that a loss should not deter us from continuing to work hard for what we want. It is important during losses to continue to honor the spirit of competition; to respect your opponent and to allow them to make you better. Conversely, sports teach us to win gracefully. Nobody likes a gloat. The truth is, as trite as it sounds, we win some, and we lose some. It’s certainly more fun to win, but we must always remember that we cannot win every time. Besides, if we did win every time, would the victories be as sweet? I think not. Emily Dickinson in the poem “Success is Counted Sweetest,” asserts that “to comprehend a nectar, requires sorest need.” In other words, to truly appreciate victory, we must experience defeat.
persevere

3. How to persevere.

Playing sports teaches us how to work hard, deal with discomfort, overcome obstacles, learn from struggle, push our body’s limits, get back up after falling, and to never give up. In short, sports teach us to persevere. These qualities are obviously necessary in athletics, and they certainly spill over and apply to the rest of our lives. In any given situation, resilience and determination are great contributors to success. When we fight through hard times and push past discomfort, we get to the good stuff. All great things worth having in life take effort and don’t come easy. The good things are worth fighting for and require perseverance, right? Sports teach us to develop that part of the brain that is in charge of perseverance, and the sooner we learn to fight for what we want, the more successful we become.

5. How to set goals and have a positive attitude.

Playing sports teaches us to set goals, and this builds confidence and a positive attitude. Achieving an athletic goal we’ve set for ourselves requires us to believe in ourselves, and each time we succeed, we become more confident. Naturally, we will fall short of our goals at times, but we learn to take those losses in stride, soldier on, keep a positive attitude, and keep fighting. Setbacks will happen, but good athletes do not let those setbacks destroy them. A good athlete takes every experience, good or bad, and learns from it. It is truly the way that we respond to setbacks that dictates our future success. A positive attitude, even when we are struggling, will keep us working toward our goals.

9. How to see the bigger picture.

Athletes know that there’s more to life than just the game. They know that family, friends, faith, and education are what holds the true meaning to life. Athletes; however, have an intense passion for their sport. Engaging in their sport brings them great happiness, purpose, confidence, and health. The sport certainly enriches their lives, but it should not be the be all and end all of their worlds. It is important for athletes to be completely engaged in their activity and to take the necessary steps in their lives to accomplish their goals, but they must remember that there is more to life than the sport. Involvement in sports enhances our lives, but it shouldn’t run our lives.

 

Well, so there ya go, Dendy! Quit being weak and defeated. Get over yourself. Aren’t you stronger than this? Yes, you are. So I had a lackluster race. Does one lackluster race negate all of my hard training? No. Did I learn an incredible amount about myself on all of those early morning solo training runs? Yes. Am I stronger for all of my training? Yes. Will I use this setback to fuel my fire? Yes.

Back in May, I wrote the words, ” It is truly the way that we respond to setbacks that dictates our future success.” Yes, May Dendy, you are so right … now convince January Dendy of this, please.

So today I am forced to practice what I preach. This experience will make me stronger.

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15 thoughts on ““May” Dendy Convinces “January” Dendy to MOVE ON!

  1. Thank you so much for writing honestly about this! I always thought I would be ok with not meeting my time goals in races, until it happened. I actually cried! Your observations are so spot-on and articulate. I agree with every single one. My bad race happened less than a year ago, and I can already tell you — you will get over this very soon! For about a month I had some anxiety during runs, some dread of my runs, or I felt hopeless about running. And yes, I felt enormously stupid and selfish for being so affected. I think underperforming in the race just unmasked some stress and control-freak issues I’d had been ignoring. Anyway, after going watchless for a few runs and exploring some new trails, I began to feel like myself again. Last December I ran a 5k faster than I ever thought I would be capable of, when I was least expecting for that to happen. I don’t even care about that old bad race anymore! You don’t know what achievements are waiting in the shadows of the future for you. I am still working on letting go of time expectations and keeping them in perspective. As you said, it is so hard to work on something for so long and then not feel the result! I remind myself constantly that the pros don’t PR in every race. Quite the contrary. Racing and running is about so much more. You conquered something much more formidable than a time on a clock. Humidity is no joke. The mental fortitude and wisdom that you gained in this marathon will surely serve you well later! You have so much to be proud of, and no disappointment will ever diminish those things! XO

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    • Well, this made me tear up, big time! Thank you so much for writing to me. You certainly get it. I’m at that point where I’m on the upswing and looking forward to races again. I turn 40 this month, so I’m super excited about moving up an age group. I will run my first half marathon in the new age group on Feb. 26th and I’m truly looking forward to it. It’s a brand new race, first annual, so maybe it will become a tradition for me. I love the fact that you ran a 5K faster than you ever thought you would. I especially love that it came after a setback. That is just so inspiring. Let’s keep rooting for each other. We got this!

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  2. Marathons are such a strange beast, all indicators can point to go for a goal and the tiniest of details can derail an otherwise great race. I think its great that you are able to acknowledge what you did well. Most of us runners are stubborn and it takes time to get over a bad race that you spent so long preparing for. You know your strengths and when you are ready, you will toe the line again. This time, even more prepared. I think what makes a strong runner is our ability to use setbacks to motivate us. Great job.

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    • Oh, yes. You are so right about runners being stubborn.Yes, setbacks are simply setbacks. Time to learn from them & move on. Thank you for “getting it” and commenting. It’s truly about so much more than just running, isn’t it?

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  3. oh my goodness, I am so sorry. But I love that you are taking the advice of May Dendy! Isn’t it amazing that you wrote that post some time ago and are able to draw strength from it even now?

    I totally understand the disappointment, and it is normal. but you are a fighter 🙂

    take some time to rest, relax, recover, refresh, etc … and you will get back on that saddle before you know it (if you haven’t already)!

    hugs!

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    • Thank you, thank you, thank you! Yes, it was very weird to read my own words from several months ago. I know the way I should view this, in my heart of hearts, but I still can’t help the emotions I have. It’s truly all good, though. Running is good for us. It humbles us and it teaches us about all of the best things in life. Thank you for being such an awesome running buddy!

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  4. Don’t rush to get back in the saddle. Do some runs for fun. Start to enjoy it all again and then look for another opportunity … I feel your pain but it will pass. Use it to make you stronger for the next attempt.

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  5. I feel your pain because I’ve certainly had some races I wasn’t happy with. It sucks but you’ve got the right attitude about it now and that’s what’s most important. You’ll get your mojo back before you know it!

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