Losing to Win

I recall it vividly.  I was standing in my boss’ office, glaring at him.  I was filled with rage and anger.  I knew we weren’t going to win the campaign.  I knew the candidate would lose, I knew that, despite everything we did… put up more yard signs… raise enough money for television adverts on late night cable… we weren’t going to win.

“Cristin,” he said to me, voice calm and eyes filled with experience, “Sometimes you have to lose to win.”

And we lost.  Boy howdy, we lost.  In the American south it would be called an a$$-whoopin.

Four years passed.  I moved on to a different field…

and my candidate… the last candidate I ever campaign managed… put her hat back in the ring, changed her tactics and… won.

So, what the heck does this have to do with running?

You have to put in the time in order to finish.

You have to have the bad days.

You have to have the aching knees, the bruised toes, the sore calve muscles.

You have to run the 9 miles, the 12 miles, the 16 miles, the 12 miles again…

… and the 9 miles instead of the 13 miles because you had a cold that week.

You have to put in the crappy 5k time.

You have to have a person who appears to be 2x your age pass you during a race.

You have to get wedged in the middle of a pack and find yourself going way faster or way slower than anticipated.

You have to completely miss your average time.

You have to deal with that stomach cramp by walking it out.

You have to buy several pairs of running shoes and running socks before you find the right ones for you.

Ditto to energy drinks and gels.

And post race recovery techniques.

You have to fail, you have to lose in order to win.  If you don’t, if you expect that every single time you get out there then you are only setting yourself up for disappointment.

So, if you are kicking yourself right now because one of the above happened to you this week in training, stop.

Stop kicking yourself.



Get up tomorrow.

Try again.

And when you cross the finish line you’ll get it.  You’ll know what I mean.

You have to lose to win.

And you will win.

P.S. – I’m running for the National Autistic Society this April.  These men and women live with what could be considered a loss, but with people like the NAS around their lives are all win.  Any amount makes a difference, really.  Donate here.

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