Can You Be a Success Without Reaching a Goal? I Am

By , SparkPeople Blogger
As many of you know, I ran the Chicago Marathon this past Sunday. Although it wasn't the race I hoped it would be, it was an experience I'll remember forever. I set an aggressive goal for myself, but wasn't able to run quite fast enough to meet it. So does that mean I failed? Not at all.

Chicago was the fifth marathon I've run, so I feel like I've progressed from just wanting to finish to wanting to get faster. Each time I've been able to do that, shaving about 15 minutes off the race before. But I knew this time was going to be different. My last race was on a flat course, and I ran as hard as I could the entire time. If I was going to improve on that, it was going to take some tough training and a little luck that I'd be feeling extra good on race day.

I didn't sleep much the two nights before the race--the first one because of a restless 10-month old, and the second because my whole family was sleeping in the same hotel room (which I wouldn't recommend in hindsight with small children). I feel like I'm always tired these days, so that lack of sleep wouldn't affect me too much, right? But around mile 10 when I was ready to lie down and take a nap, I knew the sleepless nights had taken their toll.

I tried to enjoy the experience of the race as much as I could, knowing around mile 14 that I wasn't likely to reach the goal I had set for myself. I experienced the normal emotions--frustration that today wasn't my day, some anger that I wasn't able to push myself as much as I wanted to, etc. Then around mile 18, I came up behind a man who was running on crutches with one leg. Yes, he did the entire marathon on crutches. And I realized that I could spend the rest of the race beating myself up, or I could draw inspiration from a man like him, soak in the cheers from the crowd, and finish as strong as I could.

Maybe some day I'll reach that ultimate goal. But for now, I'm proud that I was able to train for and finish something that a lot of people would never even attempt to try. (I guess I'm just crazier than the average person. Haha.)

Goal time: 4 hours, 20 minutes.
Actual time: 4 hours, 29 minutes.
Still a success? Yes.

Have there been times when you didn't reach a goal but still considered yourself a success?

See more: motivation running