Mouth Wide Shut

I used to think that the secret to progress involved minds and mouths as much as legs and lungs. That is, if you simply articulated your goal to someone other than yourself, then the public proclamation would help propel you forward. Ego, accountability, and pride could be just as important as any number your watch spits out, if less easy to measure.

And it worked for me several times, as I rode the wave of personal and digital support to put in the work that would give me some of the best running memories and accomplishments I have ever had.

Public accountability can’t substitute for smart, hard training, but it sure made it easier to invest your body and soul in the process.

Now, looking directly behind me at a streak of five-in-a-row unmet (and public) goals: a DNF, a DNS, a slower-than-I-wanted kilometre time trial, and two failed strength challenges (20,000 pushups in a year and a 100-day burpee challenge), I’m not sure what to say. I can’t declare this time will be different, because I don’t know if it will. I can’t rely on purely wanting to succeed. I can’t take for granted that just because I accomplished something means I can accomplish anything.

I don’t want to whine about the losses, because I take full responsibility every time I have come up short. But I also haven’t earned the right to rah-rah-rah about my next goal.

As I look to bounce back, I’ll take some time on the roads to figure out what lies in that elusive space between what I want to do and what I can do, the space between “no problem” and “no way.” I’ll have decisions to make about time, distance, plans, and everything else that goes into working toward a goal. But maybe this time around, I’ll talk about it after it’s over instead of before it starts.

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