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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Turning Setback into Success

Last weekend, I had a big race.  The Black Mountain Monster.  It was the 24 hour race that I won the previous year, and this year, I set out to break the course record.  However, I was shot down.  With the lack of sleep, slight fever, I wasn't at my best when I started the race.  After finishing the first 50k in 4:40, I felt really sleepy... and wanted to take a break.  I still kept going, and eventually ended up in first at the 55.8 mile point.  But I was at my limit.  I needed to sleep, and so I went to the tent to take a nap, and then started throwing up.  My body was a mess, and with the loss of fluids, I couldn't control myself anymore, feeling weak and cold, my muscles cramping... my sister and friends did the best they could to help, but it was something I had to get through myself... and I knew that I had to quit the race midway.

It was the right decision, and it was the worst decision.  It needed to be done, but I wanted to continue.

After making that decision, I had to live with the consequences, which included lots of friends comforting me, facebook messages and text messages with encouragement and care... which was pretty awesome.  I'm definitely blessed to have such great friends surrounding me.  Another consequence was my yearning for growth.  I wasn't done.  There was unfinished business, and I wanted to do something about it.

The thing is, we all go through times where we fall, fail, or just have a bad day.  We can't be perfect every day (or any day, honestly).  We can't control the different things that happen to us.

Fortunately, we can control how we react.  On one spectrum, we can choose to be a reactive individual, where if something happens, we fire back with the same energy in retaliation, which may not be the best thing.  On the other end, we can choose to be proactive and use the energy directed at us, and use it to push us forward.  It's kind of like when you're on a sail boat.  Even when the wind is going the opposite direction, you can use that energy to propel you forward.  I'm not much of a sailor, but looking at that from a land lubber's point of view... it absolutely doesn't make sense... but it works.  The beauty of it is that we have the choice to use that negative energy to shut us down and go the wrong direction, or we can make majestically move and change that energy so that it propels us forward.

Now that it's been a couple of days, I look back and see how the setback gave me the drive to push forward and to want more.  I love running.  I love the freedom.  I love the hope that it gives other people when I share my stories with others... and with the drive, I feel closer to my goals than ever, even though I had this awful experience.  Growing from this and moving on will make me a stronger individual, and most importantly, it will be a good story that I can share with others to encourage them in their journeys.

Whenever bad things happen, look beyond the present, and instead, look at the future.  Imagine how this experience will be the fuel for you to get to that future, and work towards making the imagination into reality.  Each of us have the potential to grow from negative events, and as long as you have the will to progress, you will.

"And once the storm is over, you won't remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive.  You won't even be sure, whether the storm is really over.  But one thing is certain.  When you come out of the storm, you won't be the same person who walked in.  That's what this storm's all about."

-Haruki Murakami

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