Successes and Failures Exercise. 2017 in a nutshell.

After reading Sasha Gollish's prologue on Oiselle's blog last week, I was inspired to write out my own thoughts, too. This exercise was so great in thinking through the last year, and I encourage you to take some time to do the same! 

Where did I meet success and where did I not?. 

It’s important first to ask, “What is success?” To me, it’s running to my best ability during a race after working hard during practice. (Read: being prepared and executing the race plan without freaking out [being chill about it], running with joy and gratitude);

My 2017 races and how i met success and failure:  

 after DNF at Houston 1/2 . I learned so much that day.

after DNF at Houston 1/2 . I learned so much that day.

-Houston 1/2 marathon (January) : Don’t bring a baby to a race and expect to be able to do it all and maintain sanity (ask for help); be honest about the humidity (knowing i don’t race particularly well in the heat/humidity); use this chart to adjust my paces, and don’t assume i can just power through. Don’t be glued to my watch. I realized I race better without looking at the time after the first few miles.

-Off-Road 10k (February) : I pushed it from the beginning, had an awesome time, made the most of the situation with the hills, powered up the hills. Overall great experience. Weather was perfect.

 Post win at off road 10k. fun!!

Post win at off road 10k. fun!!

-Germantown 1/2 marathon (March) : I started conservatively, stayed positive, fueled appropriately, and stayed somewhat in it the last 3 miles, even when it got super tough.  takeaways from that race include being stronger on the hills the last 3 miles. 

-5k in Nashville (June) :  Still not sure what happened. I think maybe I just expected too much? i tried my best, and was disappointed by how terrible i felt, but probably wasn’t running enough mileage to be honest. should have come up with more process goals.

-1 mile on the track (June). Race of the year!! Wow. my mental game was “zero expectations.” I ran very smart and wasn’t going to be disappointed if i didn’t perform well. I was super relaxed. I always perform best when I am relaxed and don’t care too much. 

 After falling a ton my first trail race, I learned to pay attention lol

After falling a ton my first trail race, I learned to pay attention lol

-Bar Dog 5k (August) : Started wayyyy too fast. Should have been smarter with the conditions (again. so humid and hot). I let the first mile get away from me by running it too hard and then it was all a pain cave beyond pain cave after that. Be smarter.

-Trail 1/2 Marathon at Stanky Creek: Such a fun race! The newness of trail running. I ran strong from start to finish, and really think i negative split the race, which i’m proud of. Again, I was super chill, and just went into it with an open mind and was just hoping to be competitive. I expected to win, but when Ashley was in front I didn’t freak out. i just went with the flow! 

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-GA Jewel 19 miler on trail: What i did well: competed and went with the flow. worked the downhills. My nutrition was good. What i could work on.:def the uphills and climbing. Staying positive when it gets hard.

-Bell Ringer 50k: No time goal, wanted to win and would have loved to set the record if possible, but didn’t expect that. Just went with the flow, started conservatively, had my mantras and “process goals” for when it got hard. And stayed present in the race. Really focused on gratitude the entire time.

overall takeaways from successes and failures:

-Learning i race best without outcome expectations. Setting process goals for each race was really helpful for me. Letting go of time goals and course record goals. Just showing up and saying, “Okay, who knows how this will go!” being light and fun at the start line seems to work well for me. Also, funny how many times above I typed, "just went with the flow" when the races went well. That's funny. 

-Give more respect to heat and humidity. I struggle with heat and humidity, so I need to use the chart to see how i need to adjust pace before expecting to be a hero.

-Love the process of training and smile!

-Be chill. Don't be so hard core. This doesn’t mean you can’t work hard (you can and should!) but don’t take yourself so seriously. Everyone loves a fun katie anyway ;) 

What would I choose to keep and what will I leave behind?

I'm leaving behind the fear of failure, knowing putting myself out there (this doesn’t mean being a crazy worry wart or setting a bunch of lofty goals), but more just trying my best and not being disappointed with failures. Seeing failures as an opportunity to grow and learn! There's nothing wrong with failing. The fastest people in the world fail the most. 

i’m keeping process goals front and center. I'm keeping strength training a priority.  

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When did the stars align and when did I try to do too much? How will I learn from my successes and failures of 2017?

The stars definitely aligned at my mile on the track in the summer, my 1/2 marathon last march, and my first 50k. I really didn’t have a singular workout in 2017 that made me confident in my fitness. Training was hard in 2017. I had to let go of pace goals in workouts and i think that served me well. I can get bogged down by paces, and it doesn’t serve me when i’m so rigid. I think this is why I did so well on the trails. I started just trying my best in my workouts and races, and while that doesn’t make for anything amazing on paper or on Strava, it put me in a great place mentally and i really think i did a good job competing and enjoying the journey towards the end of 2017. 

Now your turn! Here are the Q's:

Where did I meet success and where did I not?

What would I choose to keep and what will I leave behind?

When did the stars align and when did I try to do too much?

How will I learn from my successes and failures of 2017?

Katie Taylor