Ultra Marathon Success and Surviving a DNF – Did Not Finish

In life and in running it’s important (so I’ve learned) to not take your successes or your failures to serious.

It takes a lot of courage to sign up for a race.  It takes a lot of dedication to train and prepare for the big day.  Likewise it requires a major commitment both personally and financially to show up on race day.  If you run and race long enough it is bound to happen…Did Not Finish.

“Defeat should never be a source of discouragement but rather a fresh stimulus.”   Robert South

So how do you survive a DNF?

1.  Accept it.  It is what it is…on that day and time you were unable to finish that one race.  Plain and simple theirs nothing you can do to change that fact.  Like many of life’s challenges the first step in getting over it is to accept it.

2. Remember a DNF does not define you as a person.  I get it running is a big part of our lives.  It consumes much of what we do, think and plan for.  BUT…running is only one part of who you are.  You are so much more than the results of a race gone wrong.  One event won’t define your life…one race does not make your running career.

3.  Give yourself time to grieve.  That may sound foolish, but its true.  Like anything in life, if it means enough to you…when you lose it it hurts.  Allow yourself to mourn the loss of the goal.   Acknowledge the pain your feeling.  Set aside time to grieve…but limit that time to a productive period.

4.  Learn from it.   There are lessons to be learned in everything we do.  Once you can look back at your race subjectively, rid of the emotions, look at the race to learn where things went right and where things went wrong.

5.  Get back on the horse.  The best way to move on from the past is to focus on the future.

“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.”  F. Scott Fitzgerald

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