On November 14, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Andrea

Failure is a part of life. The most important part. It’s the part that teaches us things, and it’s the part that hurts. – In Plain Sight

There are several reasons someone decides to start a blog. Generally speaking, they may be for personal edification, to help others with information that might be helpful, for notoriety and fame, or for many other reasons.

Keeping a blog going for any length of time, regardless of the original purpose of said blog, is not necessarily the easiest thing. For one thing, coming up with something interesting or of note to post can be a challenge at times. Putting one’s thoughts and feelings, as well as struggles and triumphs can also paint a large target onto one’s back. And let’s face it — many of us simply do not want have the time to come up with witticisms to share with people who may or may not read and appreciate them, or wish to deal with a bullseye painted right between our shoulder blades.

So here I have sat for awhile with a number of things in my life. But the most recent, and now the most pressing upon my emotions is the Wine and Dine half-marathon that was held at Disney this past weekend. The one that I’d been “training” for since January. And the one that I did not get to complete despite the medal you see in the picture above.

And my trepidation in posting comes knowing that there will be those who are probably laughing their asses off right now at my failure to finish the race. But, in the end, I am what I am – a blogger – and here I write, despite how truly uncomfortable I am with doing so.

I’m not writing this for the “poor, poor Andrea” vibe. I don’t want it. Don’t do it. If you comment as such, I’ll delete it so fast your head will spin. That’s not the purpose in writing this. I do not want to be the token loser. That is not me.

And if I hear “you got five miles in!” or “you did great!” any more I might bang my head against the wall again as well. I’ve heard it enough. I’m not writing this to be inspirational, or anything else like that, either. If someone wants to try for the half-marathon and is afraid they won’t finish? They should try it anyway. But I’m not going to be the Siren Song for that group.

I’m posting this simply because I need to get it out there so I can get it done with and move on. That’s it.

I was a bit behind pace at mile 4 (15 seconds – I asked), and hadn’t caught up by mile 5 (which I should have because I knew I was behind, dammit) and got swept. It doesn’t matter beyond that. It is what it is.

Would I have kept going if I had been given the chance? You bet your ass I would have. I did not quit. I was forced to stop. But I did not meet the pacing requirements and thus the course was closed.

Because I did not quit, I was awarded the medal despite not finishing the race. There is a controversy about this, and even being in the middle of it, I can’t tell you really how I feel about it. The race director said that there was a certain point of the race that medals were given to the participants, and we hit it. If I had quit earlier than the first sweep point, I would not have gotten the medal. I can tell you that I felt weird when people asked me about the race when they saw it and made the assumption that I finished.. but that’s because I don’t make it a point to lie about things and it felt like a lie. Michelle kept telling me I earned it; Lisa kept telling people I finished the race as well when people remarked on the medal around her neck. Sarah told me I shouldn’t feel icky. I’m still trying to reconcile it. I think Duffy will continue to wear it.. it looks better around his neck than mine anyway.

So, I’m back to that awful word – failure.

As weight loss surgery patients, we are familiar with failure, aren’t we? We’ve failed diet after diet, and we had to go to that “drastic last step” and OMG had to have SURGERY to fix ourselves. And then.. we get the “what if I’m the only one who fails WLS?” or we get the sanctimonious post-ops that call other post-ops “failures” because they aren’t following the same dictates as another. Or aren’t measuring success by the same meter-stick as another. Some think running is the ultimate proof of WLS success.. so are non-runners that lose all of their excess weight failures?

But when we fail at something, we are simply making mistakes and that gives us the option to learn from them.

So what did I learn from this? Tons.

  • Well. I didn’t take my training seriously.. at all. I started out with great ambition, but it went by the wayside horribly. Going to Sweden for 5 weeks certainly didn’t help, but it wasn’t the only factor if I’m completely honest here (and what do I really have to gain by lying to myself?)
  • I really need to lose some weight. I have some regain (again) — spending time in Sweden certainly didn’t help.. but not working out more is a major contributing factor.
  • I trained almost exclusively on a treadmill, which is completely unlike pavement work.. especially in Vibrams. Remember that I walk/run exclusively in barefoot shoes.. and the pavement is completely different than a treadmill. The difference threw me for a major loop. BIG mistake.
  • I do have a blood pressure issue called neurocardiogenic shock which causes me to dehydrate easily. Having trained on a treadmill in different conditions, I thought I had this under control. I thought I had hydrated better — hydrated through the day, had a bottle with me during the run, took 3-4 drinks (powerade and water) at each water stop every 1.5 miles. But I still was dehydrated when I stopped. If I had done more training outside, I would have known better how to handle this and this wouldn’t have been such an issue. I’m not saying this was a major contributing factor at mi 5, but it seriously could have been further down, and it wasn’t a fun recovery when I stopped (so it would have only gotten worse, honestly).

So basically, my biggest mistake was not training enough, not training outdoors enough, and becoming way too complacent in my post-op life.

Guess what? I see so many people who become complacent in their post-op life in regards to vitamins and supplements that they become a trainwreck blood-wise — and I wonder how they could allow themselves to get there. And guess what? I am one of those people, but in a different form. Hi pot, it’s me kettle. Nice to see you in this glass house we have here. Amazing how things tend to come around and bite you in the ass to teach you a lesson.

So here I sit, trying to decide if I’m going to let it beat me or if I will beat it. And if you’ve read my blog any at all, you pretty much know what I want my answer to be. But I also know that I have some other things in life that I need to get squared away — some issues with my son’s health, need to blog more, need to get the book edited and finished, swimming and soccer and school, etc. and it’s always easier to put ourselves last when everything else comes knocking.

But until then, Duffy has a medal. And my fridge has a  new 13.1 magnet on it. Just waiting…

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17 Responses to “Fail”

  1. Shawn says:

    First to any haters who want to revel in the fact you did not cross that line, F’ em. I do not see them getting out there and attempting to do this. Also you tried, so to me not failure. Technicality I know, and more balls than I have, as I will not go further than a 5k, which you already beat me at. But still proud of you for getting out there and trying, which you did. I am with you on the regain, vitamins, I have been bad, need to get my head back in that place it needs to be. But still much respect for you getting out there doing it, and well saying hey, I did my best.

  2. Shana says:

    So, my first half marathon medal… I didn’t actually finish that race. They closed the course due to weather. I think we were at mile 11 or 12? I have always had mixed feelings about that medal. I was happy to get Alaska under my belt so I could be “legit.” But nothing else can take away from that first attempt either.

  3. Dagny says:

    I shall express muted concurrence as I write my own blog posts with a slant that I hope will discourage being viewed as an “inspiration” and the requisite comments that would inspire.

    Good deconstruction.

  4. Congratulations. Proud of you for putting your butt on the line. Most of all….THANK YOU. Thank you for being an honest post op that admits failure and defeat. Thank you for sharing your lessons learned. You do need to blog more because you ADD value to this community. Honesty is not easy— and so many more should try it more often.

    You committed. You showed up. You faced your fear.
    Doesn’t sound like failure to me.

    Hats off to you….and THANK YOU for sharing.

  5. Nanette says:

    You owned it though. Kudos to you for recognizing where your weaknesses are and what you need to do to better prepare yourself next time. The strength is in that you tried and you will try again and you will succeed. The fault lies in not trying and not being able to be honest about what it was that prevented you from meeting your goals.

  6. Rhonda says:

    Know what? I’ve failed at so many things I lost count. Know what else? I don’t give a rip. My latest motto has been go big or go home and that applies to sucking at something I love. Did I want to do it? Yup! Did I love it? Yup! Failed? Don’t even care. Wasted too many years on worrying over that and took the joy right out of what I wanted to do. Looks like you took the opportunity to go big and there ain’t no way I could even entertain doing what you did. Have wanted to run my whole life, but these feet aren’t made for running. I’ve made peace with it.

    And one last thing. Who even cares what anyone else thinks? This was about you, you and you. Haters are just doing their job. Let them keep their misery to themselves.

  7. Erin Akey says:

    STILL PROUD OF YOU and think that you will take these lessons you learned and hopefully join us again next year and I will be proud to have you on the team again!

    I know you said you did not write this to inspire anyone, but guess what, I think you will do just that!

  8. JaimeK says:

    I am a runner. I’ve had WLS. Every race I enter I worry about failure. The fact is I could be faster, I could be stronger, I could put more into my training. The fact is, while I don’t want to be anyone’s poster child, people tell me that I am an inspiration to them. You can delete my comment I suppose, but for some, you are still going to be an inspiration. Everyone is at a different stage in this game. Some wish like hell that they could move half as well as you do. I am coaching a group of WLS women who will have their first race in April. They want to do the 10 mile. I am suggesting the 5k. My first race was 1 freakin’ mile. After not being able to hardly walk for 17 years that race is the one I remember the most. I am glad you ran. I am glad you didn’t quit. You’ll always have your haters. Nothing you can do about them. I know the blog is for you, but when I read your stuff I feel it is for me, so you still end up being an inspiration. Sorry about that.

  9. Lesley Morton says:

    I had WLS four years ago, I failed at weight loss, started at 360lbs, now at 282lbs, I feel that I failed, still have restriction but I eat too much rubbish. My fault but one day my head will move into the right place and the weight loss will start again. I have to belive this.

  10. Rachelle says:

    The take a way word for the day – “complacent”. While reading this blog I had the question from another blog floating around “why does regain happen?” Complacent is the answers to a lot of WLS issues/questions. I know for me, I’m so not a runner but I found my “running” – Jazzercise. It’s something I semi enjoy and something that is always a challenge. Il’ll go on a regular basis, start feeling healthier and even dropping a few pounds then guess what – I get complacent and miss a class here and there, or do the class “half ass”. So Andrea – I guess the point if this is that I took away something helpful for me from your blog — please don’t stop! We are all living this life together – the good and the bad.

  11. Jackie Stott says:

    Andrea, I haven’t read your blog in a while but this showed up on my facebook timeline. I agree with people who said it does not matter to anyone else what you did or how you did. That’s all about you. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone.
    I, too, think it’s great that you did try. Also I don’t know much about running so what does “swept” mean?

  12. Lesley Morton says:

    Exercise is not an option for me at the moment. Arthritis and damage to the cartalidge in my left knee have left me semi disabled. Rest as much as possible when it flares up makes me quite careful.

  13. Lisa Melvin says:

    To me, failure is never attempting something. You tried. You learned from your attempt. I hope you will try again.

  14. Lisa Melvin says:

    And you are so right about the training on the treadmill vs outside. I had been doing my long runs on the TM and the 3milers outside. Which worked well until circumstances (grrr husband and his football addiction) forced me to do my 12 miler outside. I only got 10 miles in and was hurting really bad from IT band issues. Perhaps if I had done my long runs outside from the get-go, I wouldn’t have had that issue..and wouldn’t have been in so much pain at the end of the half.

    Sometimes learning is difficult.

  15. Valerie says:

    You are way ahead of me. I don’t even run across the street :)
    Kudos for putting yourself out there.
    “Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t.”
    ― Thomas A. Edison

  16. Andrea says:

    Swept is a term that means “picked up by the race people”

  17. Missy says:

    I know this is an old post and you’ve been offline for a while but just want to know you’ve inspired me for your tenacity on losing weight after your post op babies and also to run in a race and not give up. I don’t think failure is a word I would EVER use to describe someone like you. I hope this finds you in a good place and I hope you and your family are doing okay. I am also taking calcium citrate and not carbonate now thanks to your vitamin threads on OH :-) . Thank you. I had VSG but figured I’d be “okay” with carbonate. Your vitamin threads led me to believe otherwise. I know you don’t seem like the type to be comfortable with compliments, but I want you to know you are a success in my eyes and a winner because you never quit. Good for you.

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