Most of the posts on this blog are about success. I write about my PRs, my wins, and my accomplishments. I write about the things that I’m proud of.
When I write about my failures, I write about setbacks. I write about how they are just temporary roadblocks that make my eventual success that much sweeter.
But sometimes failure is just failure.
Last weekend, I ran at the USATF Masters Championships as the twice-reigning champion. I failed to defend those titles.
More importantly, I failed to compete at the level I know I’m capable of. In the 100, despite having run 10.71 (+1.5) in May, I could only muster 11.02 (+3.6). In the 200, despite having run 21.82 (+1.1) in April and 21.55 (-2.3) last year, I only managed 21.99 (+0.9).
I failed to prepare for the stiffer competition I knew I’d face this year. My diet and sleep in the weeks leading up to racing were poor. I wasn’t locked in mentally.
After setting the fastest mark in the 100m prelims (10.90 -1.3), I failed to recover in time for the final round the next day. That day, I failed to hydrate properly and barely finished the race. I even failed to realize my failure: I didn’t understand what had happened until I got back to my hotel room and drank about two gallons of water.
In the 200, I failed to execute my race strategy, going out harder than I should have on the curve. Despite that failure, I held a slim lead with fifty meters to go. But I couldn’t stay relaxed—I tightened up and failed to stave off my competition. I lost at the line.
I don’t write about failure because I don’t think about failure. My defense mechanisms kick in.
It’s just one race.
It’s just a learning experience.
I’ve dealt with injuries all year.
Second place isn’t so bad.
There’s always next year.
But I see this for what it is. I came to Greensboro to win and to set new personal bests. I had the perfect opportunity to do both—and I crumbled in the moment.
I can’t stop thinking about my failure. My bitterness and regret are palpable. I’m angry in a way that’s new to me.
How will I respond to failure?