And what happens if you aren’t able to run the race?
Well, that won’t happen.
But, Talia, what if it does?
It won’t. Failure is not an option for me.
This was a conversation I had five months ago- a friend, knowing how dedicated I was, wanted to know how I would deal if my dreams never came into fruition. I wasn’t trying to sound arrogant, I was simply so damn adamant and sure of myself when those words graced my tongue. Why wouldn’t I be? I was training, putting in the time, and the work necessary to run 13.1 miles. I was also mentally dedicated and set on that feeling of accomplishment that I would feel in knowing that one year earlier I was unable to leave my couch due to a lupus flare. I guess that’s why I didn’t think twice when I said- that won’t happen.
But with a mere two days before the half marathon, I have come to the reality that- the race won’t happen. It can’t happen. So when do you allow yourself to embrace a failure, and view it not as much as a failure, but solely a setback in your ultimate goals.
I will tell you now that this wasn’t a rash decision. It was something I have been sitting on since right before Mexico. The dull pain returned in my left knee and it refused to go home. I tried to limit my running, increase yoga, decrease yoga, decrease running, ice it, heat it, icy-hot it, anything-it. I was angry and I felt defeated, hence my lack of writing. It left me with nothing nice to say so I decided to say nothing at all. Though I continued to run, the passion and excitement I felt when I found success in running was waning. I felt so close to my goals, but I recognized that obtaining my goal of a half-marathon would ultimately be a setback. Sure, I could do 13.1 miles, but I could feel that it would hinder my progress in the long run. As a lupus warrior I knew what I had to do – listen to your body.
(Sing to the tone of Bump and Grind):
My body, my body was telling me nooo, but my mind, my mind’s telling me yaaassss!
Well, mind, sometimes you aren’t as smart as my body. As I sat in defeat, near tears, and feeling like a total failure, John reminded me about a little story starring an ocean goddess by the name of Diana Nyad. In 2013, Queen Nyad, as I will now and forever refer to her as, became the first person confirmed to swim 110 miles, from Havana to Key West. And she did it at the age of 64. And she did it on her fifth try. Not her first, second, third, or fourth. But she was never deterred from her ultimate goal. Granted, the Queen herself was swimming 10x the amount I was planning on running, but what remained with me was this notion that she wasn’t discouraged from achieving what she set out to accomplish. Despite box jellyfish stings, sharks, and asthma attacks, she persevered. Initially, I felt discouraged for her, I couldn’t fathom the work she put in and that feeling of defeat. But now I see.
It is possible for failure to be an option. When we allow failure to become an option, sometimes we open ourselves up to greater experiences. Will my “victory” in running a half-marathon one day taste that much sweeter? Maybe. Maybe not. I can only say that I now can embrace what won’t be and do so gracefully. On Sunday I will be running my first 10K, and I’m thrilled.