And so the long race is over, and a winner has newly been crowned. The taste of victory is sweet, while the flavor of loss quite bitter. Now follows the age-old reduction of recovery, analysis, and re-dedication to the next effort and cycle, for there are no permanent wins nor evermore losses. The frontier ever beckons, the prize still lures.
The first consideration, however, must always be accorded the champion, for his was the race well run, and results an inarguable reflection of mettle. But for those who came up short, the task is for a reasoned and dispassionate post-mortem with a hope of discovering the means to avoid such similar missteps in the future.
Thus, did we assess the competition correctly, understanding his/her strengths in accord with our own? Did we mismanage the balance between base work and new modes to ensure peak fitness for race day? Did we misread the signals presaging defeat while adhering to a plan ill-suited for the competition and course at hand? And, finally, did we align ourselves with the best coach and surround ourselves with the best team to hone our skills to their finest point for attack?
Defeat, more than victory, searches for answers, answers which might promise a different outcome when next the starter’s flag falls. No course ahead will be the same, not even the old ones, for we will not the same as when last we took them on. Nor will the atmospheric conditions remain still or constant.
While defeat always stings, so too can it be the spur which renews dedication to excellence, growth and resolve. Defeat only lingers when it fails to instruct, if it hardens rather than opens our hearts, and if it leads to retrenchment in old patterns now proven out of step with the demands and dreams that draws people of all stripes to the starting line in the first place. As always –
The race is the thing. The gamble is for love!