Learning From Failure

Posted: January 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

Several years ago I attempted to run 100 miles in 24 hours on the local high school track.  The headlines in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette sports section read, “Muhr to Attempt 100 Miles in 24 Hours!”  Ironically, this was the most challenging day in 33 years of running.  We had gale force winds that nearly stopped my progress completely on one side of the track and nearly blew me over on the other side.  We also received nearly 5 inches of rain and one end of the track held all this water.  I wasn’t able to keep any fluids or food in my system when I decided to cut the run short at 2:00 a.m.  This wasn’t an easy decision, particularly since I had so many supporters still by my side.  I ended up running 62 miles…it was an impressive distance but still considerably short of my goal.

The reporter called the following day for an update and, after hearing that I had come up short, asked me what I thought he should do?  I suggested he write the headline, “Muhr Comes Up Short!”  I didn’t want to sugarcoat my failures…I have learned far more from my shortcomings and failures than any of my successes.

I simply don’t want to be one of those poor souls that is so paralyzed by failure they don’t accomplish anything.  One of my favorite quotes is from Theodore Roosevelt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. ”

I realize his quote isn’t considered politically correct today but I didn’t want to alter history.  Trust me, no one knows better than I that women can endure far greater pain than any man I know, particularly when it involves the marathon and beyond :-)! 

You are also going to encounter critics when they learn that you’re training for the 2012 Boston Marathon.  They are going to question ‘why’ you would want to attempt something so significant and even cast doubt on your ability to finish. 

For all the people who might say that you can’t do it or that you won’t do it; or that you are crazy for even trying, You will see them at the finish line!

As your coach,  I look forward to helping you to silence the critics, ‘those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. ‘

Comments
  1. David Brown says:

    Rick. That’s great. I remember the 100 mile run. That was something! You were in the arena, that’s what I remember.

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