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Sometimes we fail

There is an increasing disconnect between reality and how it is presented. Social media has become ubiquitous in our lives but we tend to only share positive accomplishments from our lives or information that reinforce our personal views. We hardly ever share our failures or faults.

I’ve been training for my first marathon this year. It’s been tough but I’ve been making progress. Sometimes I even post about it on Facebook or Twitter if I’ve had a good run or broken a new personal distance record. From a far it seems everything is positive and getting better. I even wrote a blog post last month. All that is true, I have been training and I have had good days and broken personal records. But that’s only part of the story. There’s plenty of bad days too.

What would the world be like if we were more honest with how we presented ourselves? If we didn’t curate a persona to share with the world? If we didn’t treat ourselves as a marketable commodity?

The past month has, by many measures, been my worst month of training. And this is really when it’s all supposed to come together. I’ve gone on five runs. The first two ended with me vomiting and stopping short of my intended distance. The third one was a personal best at 18 miles, but it was an incredible strain. I suffered what was essentially ‘internal chaffing’ from extreme exercise and blood leaked into my urine and stool for days afterwards. The fourth run was fine. I made a schedule for the remaining time, and buoyed by finishing 18 miles, prepared for a final push before the marathon. I was optimistic when I set out for that fifth run.

It wasn’t a good run. I did make it as far as I set out to (12 miles) but it was more of a struggle than it should have been. That happens. Some days seem easy, some are a struggle. It’s always been like that. Life is always like that. We just don’t always accurately present that when we project ourselves onto others.

I was sore afterwards but it’s when that soreness went away that I started to worry. The soreness had hidden a cracking pain in my right knee, one that did not abate and actually got worse with time. Last year, while hiking in the Himalayas, I broke my right kneecap. I thought it healed. It’s now been almost a week since I ran and if anything, the knee is worse. Not as bad as when I broke it, but a similar feeling. I’ve gotten somewhat used to my body showing its displeasure with me with training and this actually doesn’t hurt much in comparison, but it’s the most worrying obstacle yet. It throws a lot of things into doubt.

Sometimes we accomplish our goals; and sometimes we fail. Any narrative that attempts to hide that universal truth is not being wholly honest.

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