SPOILER: It’s not as bad as you think.
From public speaking to starting your own business, fear of failure stops a lot of us from taking chances in life. This fear of failure is often paired with a fear of judgement, at least that’s how it is for me. So, what happens when you’ve taken a chance, talked something up with your friends, family & social media – only to fail?
I recently took on a 16-week program to complete my second half ironman distance triathlon. That’s a 1.9km swim, 90km ride & 21.1km run. One after the other, non-stop, in one day. I posted my training journey all over Instagram, sprouting how I had the biggest reason to get over that finish line and nothing could stop me.
But I failed.
A massive DNF (Did Not Finish) – I barely even started.
There is an underlying fear of putting in all that time and hard work then failing to finish, but when it happens it truly is not that bad. No, it’s not easy repeating the story to everyone asking how you went, but once I’d told them, it was no big deal. Onto the next topic. The post on Instagram was showered with support and kind messages, then onto the next post.
I don’t have any negative feelings within myself. I gave it my all and stopped before getting myself into any trouble. I failed this attempt, but that doesn’t make me a failure.
I am determined to learn from this. Be bolder, take chances and don’t be afraid of putting myself out there in pursuit of my goals. Failure isn’t that bad and if anyone is judging me for it, well what I don’t know doesn’t hurt me!!
Race recap – How did it all go so wrong?
Due to my brother’s terminal cancer prognosis and deterioration, my energy levels had been low throughout training, managing headaches and loss of appetite. I barely slept during race week and hardly a wink of sleep the night before. My brother stayed with me and I was on high alert all night, I was so scared of something going wrong and ‘breaking’ him.
Race day transition set-up is normally brimming with nerves and excitement, but I was just tired and over it. I was only there because my brother had traveled the hours to see me race and I wanted to make him proud.
Walking along the beach to the starting point, I got to chat with Chell & Kris, the triathlon community is filled with some truly wonderful people who are always ready to support you and these ladies were amazing. Looking out across the bay was stunning and although the bay was choppy, I felt good. Even as the horn blew and I took my first steps into the water, I felt good. The buoy at the first turn was so shallow, it was barely over my head. But when I put my head underwater to start swimming, I couldn’t breathe, my chest closed, and I was EXHAUSTED. It wasn’t like the panic I’ve had before. I turned onto my back to try sculling, I just had nothing in the tank. Endurance sports are a mental game and I just didn’t have the energy or desire to fight the battle.
The lifesaver boat was keeping an eye on me and I signaled for them. It wasn’t a hard decision. As they tried to lift me into the boat, my body became a limp dead weight. I was beyond exhausted and I was so glad that this pressure was over. I walked back to transition with another athlete and I felt a weight had been lifted from me. It was the right decision.
If you ask my loved ones, I should never have signed up for the race, let alone turned up on the day. But I wanted that race day victory lap, those finish line feels.
I’ll be back one day to test my endurance on this stunning course. The bay sparkles with a swim parallel to the beach, the cycle course looks to have some fun hidden challenges and finishes with a tough, but stunning 4 loop run on the beach.
Until next time Coles Bay!