Dealing with Disappointment

by coach Amy Anderson

As you hear about race results in San Antonio, you may feel like everyone but you had a great day. Some people *did* have amazing races on Sunday and we can be genuinely happy for them, even while acknowledging that it was a brutal day for many others. Heat and humidity take a very real toll on the body and on most people’s race times and you should realize that your finish time was not a reflection of your true capabilities.

It seems unfair to have trained through the hottest summer in Austin history, hoping for and expecting a crisp cool race day. But the fact is that the weather was out of our control, as it always is. Some athletes chose to resort to Plan B, by diverting to the half marathon or by dropping out of the race altogether. Others chose to gut it out, knowing that big rewards require big risks, and it was a risk they were willing to take.
Whatever your choice, you made the best decision you could at that time, and there’s no sense second-guessing it now.

You invested 6 months of hard work, and for some of you, the investment did not give you the return you expected. I usually recommend that you give yourself 24 hours to cry, whine, sulk and generally be miserable. During that time, acknowledge your feelings, but don’t hurt anyone else or bring anyone else down about their own race. Be open about your frustrations with your coach, and perhaps with a close friend or family member who can relate and empathize with you.

When your 24 hours is over, it’s time to think about what — if anything — you could or would have done differently. If the answer is “nothing”, then it’s time to put it behind you. Otherwise, learn from your mistakes, make corrections, and push through your disappointment. The race itself shouldn’t be considered the end-all/be-all of your achievements; the past six months have been full of big steps and big accomplishments.

Try to find some positive qualities about the experience, perhaps the friends you made, the great breakfasts you shared, the good workouts you had, the lessons you learned and the hard work you put in that will pay off next time.

As bitter a pill as you might be swallowing, try to remember that if you never experience disappointment, you’ll take your successes for granted. A less than stellar race will make your next achievement all the sweeter.

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5 thoughts on “Dealing with Disappointment

  1. Thanks for posting this Amy! It was truly tough out there and this really speaks to how I felt. My 24 hours is up and I’m moving on to what’s next.

    • Thanks Amy. I was really pretty unhappy throughout the whole race and not happy at all with my time. However, it was the first time I have raced in truly bad conditions and I learned a lot from it.

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