It is SO easy to not care about results when you’re doing well… Or, at least, to say you don’t care about results, and that you’re all about the process. I actually started drafting this article before I’d had a really crappy result (on an FKT attempt, not in a race… yet, anyway), and that fail of a result really helped showcase just how real this is for me.
It’s funny, I rarely think about racing or race results for very long—it’s pretty fleeting post-race, and while I freaking love running and I’m always happy I raced. I’m more of a trainer than a racer when it comes down to it. But I realized that part of my detachment from results might be… because I was doing pretty well, and I was happy with my results. I like to think of myself as being fairly stoic about my training and work life, however, if I get super honest with myself, I really only have that ability when things are going well.
Anybody else in this boat? It made me start to wonder what would happen when my results aren’t in my ‘comfort zone.’ Which, as most of you know, is a thing that happened to me in the last couple of weeks!
In a lot of ways, it was really helpful to have something go sideways for me—it made me really aware of how I handled setbacks (bawled in woods, then moved on). I do think I handled the actual failed attempt well, but I admit, it was a blow to my athletic ego.
Ultimately, I think there’s a delicate balance of being happy with your results when they’re good, but not letting them define you as a human being. And the same balance applies to when things go sideways: It’s a good thing to care enough about your results that you’re disappointed that things didn’t go your way, but that shouldn’t define you as a human being either.
Simon Marshall and Lesley Paterson talk about this A TON in The Brave Athlete when it comes to athletic identity: We should all be comfortable identifying as athletes, but at what point do you start defining yourself so deeply as an athlete that when your results aren’t there to back it up, you feel lost/terrible? When I started this post back in June, it was with the slight smugness of someone who’s always done well enough in her sport of choice that she felt like she didn’t focus on results… and then I had a result that made me question my perceived detachment. So really, this article is kind of a work in progress in terms of me figuring out a conclusion.
SO… I want to know what you all think about this, and your experiences with how you associate your results to your identity. Let me know in the comments what response this post triggers for you!