In yesterday's race I didn't do what I wanted to do and come in under the magical 3 hour mark for a half.
"Okay," I said to myself, "You didn't reach your A goal, but there's so much good that came out of this race." I'm proud of my finish. I'm proud of sticking it through. I think the race deserves that. I think that we as athletes deserve to give ourselves the chance of improving. I finished the race knowing that I have a lot more to try to do in this sport, and I'm just very grateful that I have the opportunity to race another triathlon in two weeks and another marathon in two months. Failure can be a means that God uses in our lives to help us to achieve our goals eventually. As long as we are "failing upward," we can learn from our failures and missed goals and grow.
I know that one day I won't be able to run any more, and I want to be able to come to that point in my life knowing that I gave it my best. Yesterday I gave my best and that's what counts the most. I also know that my best is better than what I had yesterday, and so training will continue and we will continue to strive to grow as a person and as an athlete.
The next time you set a goal for yourself, take a moment to check your motivation. That way, when things don't turn out quite like you had hoped, you will know what you're suffering for. When we learn to face our fears and weaknesses and to weather the storms of life with calm resolve and unshakable faith in God, we can grow in ways never before imagined.