Disappointing Myself

I ran a very fun and challenging race today, TAC Force Challenge. It was a great balance of physically challenging without being un-doable alone (my upper body strength usually leave me in a bad position for some obstacles). I was making pretty good time, having a crap ton of fun, and feeling pretty good about myself. I even tumbled down a hill with a few people (me on the bottom, unfortunately) and was still going strong.

Then I hit the cliff jump and my day got bad. I have a paralyzing fear of heights. This is actually a misnomer. I actually have a paralyzing fear of hitting hard things at a high rate of speed. I froze. I walked to the edge of that cliff 20 times. I watched 30+ people take the plunge. And I couldn’t do it. The obstacle staff was rooting me on. I knew there was no danger. Yet, I froze. Every muscle in my body shook in fear. I added at least 45 minutes to my time before I gave up and took the walk of shame down the hill. It was embarrassing at the time and it is even more embarrassing now when I see my result time.  I feel shame – one feeling I am truly not used to feeling (hopefully because I don’t do shameful things, not just because I don’t feel shame ;))

I gave up and I am so disappointed in myself. I am trying to think of a time where I have just flat out gave up without trying and I really can’t.

I let my reptile mind take over my rational mind and I stinking gave up.

It tainted the rest of the race for me. I was just so disheartened….by myself. That’s an unsettling feeling; One I don’t ever want to feel again.

While I feel really bad about the situation (it is about a day later and I still feel like an idiot), I am going to take this as a learning experience. I am filing this feeling away and will pull it out the next time I ever consider quitting, especially without trying.

So, dear reader, here is where I ask for assistance. Do you have ways to train, both mentally and physically, to overcome primal fears? Please comment and let me know how you deal with your irrational fears.

I have a year to get over this and take on that cliff jump next year at TAC Force Challenge (oh, yeah, I will be back).

We all have trials…..conquer them like a warrior scholar.

3 thoughts on “Disappointing Myself

  1. DON’T focus on it. Move on. Most people focus on negatives too much. Winners focus on the positives & the successes!! I did a zip line 2 years ago and it had been so long since I’d been up high that my body froze. I kept pressing forward but I soon found out it was pointless because my body just wasn’t conditioned and I couldn’t control my body freezing up. So I opted out about halfway through. It’s not a big deal. Life is about falling down and learning how to get back up! “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” ― Thomas A. Edison
    You clearly have courage. You go out there & tackle the OCRs one after another. That obstacle just snuck up on you. So what? You’ll do it next year. Focus on all the obstacles who’s asses you kicked that day!


  2. I took my teenage son to Zion Nat’l Park, and we decided to climb the tallest peak they had. Reaching the last 1/2 mile you had to scale a rock face, but there were some chains and footholds, so no problem, right? (I should mention that I used to climb oak trees and things as a kid with absolutely no fear.) Problem was that there were about 6 feet between the end of each chain and the beginning of the next (it could have been 6 inches for all I know – it looked like 6 feet – too far for me to reach). I got to the end of the 2nd chain (about 20 feet out of 1/2 mile) and realized that gravity had reversed suddenly, and that I was being pulled away from the rock face. I couln’t even see the ground, which was many hundreds or thousands of feet below, and I started panting and drooling and hugging the side of the mountain like it was my mommy. Hello Pavlov! My oh-so-helpful kid was like, ‘come on mom, there are people behind us who want to get up!’ On the one hand, I was very disappointed that I decided not to go on, but on the other hand, that primitive reptile brain probably saved our species from extinction, so self-preservation can be an extremely stong urge to fight, and without my brothers standing there, calling me a girl and such, I just didn’t have the appropriate amount of motivation. But you don’t want sympathy, you want to know what helps, right? I keep challenging myself. I’ve gone to the rock climbing wall and scaled a rope a few times now and found the same impulse to stop climbing and get back down (though probably not as strong as that first time, looking down on the tree tops far far below). It is at about 25 feet, for some reason, every time. So, when I get to that point, I take a deep breath and remember how disappointed I felt when I didn’t get to go to the top of that mountain we had traveled a couple thousand miles to climb, and how disappointed my kid was in me. Sometimes bad feelings can help you, if you’re a contrarian like me. I don’t want to feel like that again, so I push myself to go just 5 feet further each time I climb. I got to this green handhold today, but next time, I’ll make it to that orange one right there. And if I were standing at Angel’s Landing today, the memory of that disappointment, and the practice I’ve had since then at resisting the ‘get down from there’ impulse, would probably be enough to get me to the peak. Sorry to hijack your blog, but this one really stirred up some feelings…


    • No sorry’s needed, thank you for sharing. You understood exactly where I was stuck! I like the idea that bad feelings can be helpful too. Thanks for your feedback!


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