Mamavation Monday: Not Wanting to Fail

I have loved every second of being a member of the Mamavation Sistahood.  I had the pleasure of getting to know this amazing group of women through the Twitter Parties with @Bookieboo where they playfully called me Twitter Oprah (a pair of Earth Shoes for you, and for you, and for you!!!) and patiently waited for me to realize on my own that I needed to actually join Mamavation.

When I announced that I was pledging the sistahood, they rallied around me on Twitter and here at Resourceful Mommy, guiding me to nutritional information and tools, exercise ideas, and even inspiring me to start the Couch to 5K program.  I’ve said it before, but it’s worth revisiting – I never dreamed that I would be a runner.  But somehow everything came together at the right time and suddenly I was running at least three times a week and registered with my friend Ashley to run the Halloween 5K at Walt Disney World next month.

It seemed to be contagious.  A couple of weeks into the training program, I began to get daily tweets, direct message, Facebook wall posts, emails, blog comments telling me that I was inspiring other people to run. Over and over again I heard that people who used to run were now running again, people who had dropped out of the Couch to 5K program had restarted, people who – like me – never dreamed they could run were suddenly running and loving it.  On Twitter, people started to tweet to me in the #running tag.  Two people asked me to include them in my plans for future races, so together we set a goal of a sprint triathlon next August.   I even received daily updates from people telling me that they just went for a run and thought of me.

They thought of me. They associated me with running.

Just today a local friend posted on my Facebook wall that it wasn’t easy, but that she had just run 2 miles.  She wanted me to know.  I couldn’t bring myself to comment back because I felt like a fraud.  I haven’t run since last Wednesday when I discovered that I had injured myself running.  The fact is that I cannot run until I see a doctor next week, and it is likely that at that time I’ll be told that I should never run again. I am still going to the Halloween 5K and plan to walk the course with my friends who have vowed to walk every step of it with me if that’s what it takes.  It will most likely be my first and last 5K.

I am not a quitter.  I am not a person who starts something and does not finish it. While seeing myself as a runner was beyond belief two months ago, forcing myself to stop mid-stream is even more jarring.

And I have no idea how to unring this bell. How do you announce to tens of thousands of people that no, in fact, you are not going to run across that finish line?  How do you take it all back, disassociate yourself, stop inspiring?

While I wait to hear whatever the verdict is that the doctor hands down, I walk. I walk often and I walk far. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I listen to music and smile.  Sometimes I have to curl my toes to not break into a jog.

How do I take the next step and not feel like I’ve failed so many people?

Leave a Reply


  • I’m sorry you feel that you have let others down, and I do hope you get to feeling a lot better soon. However, you know… it was never the actual running that was your inspiration to others. It is the attitude, friendship, determination, and commitment behind the running. You still have that.You still inspire. You inspire me all the time and it never had anything to do with running. So walk for now, don’t run…that’ll give those of us who admire you a little more time to catch up and still be inspired.

  • After my car wreck I had to be careful what exercises I chose so I took up swimming. Great aerobic exercise (takes four times more energy to run a mile than to swim a mile) and NO IMPACT.

    Taking care of yourself can be as easy as finding the right option for you and your body.

  • Mari

    Just because you are unable to run doesn’t mean you are not fit. Though, some in the exercise community consider running to be the ultimate barometer of health, I disagree. As long as you keep your heart rate up and blood pumping, you are contributing to your well being and that of your family. You are teaching your children (and readers) that setbacks and obstacles happen, and they are opportunities for growth and self discovery. Running is not the only road to fitness, it’s only one path. You are no less inspirational because you do not run, if anything you are more so because you picked yourself up, dusted your heels, and showed up anyway.

  • ellen

    I hope the Drs news is good- not so much for the running aspect but for you and your long term health.
    A 5K is a 5K whether you are running, walking , or wheeling across the line. So you finish a bit different than you expected, you will cross the line.
    You are walking, you’re active,thats the big thing- dont feel pressured to be a runner it isnt the end all of excerises.
    You didnt ‘let anyone down’ so many admire you for what you have done and what you continue to do every day!

  • Janet

    Amy, you are not a failure. Please don’t think that you are. Believe me, all of us have started & stopped things at various points in our lives for a myriad of reasons. You’re definitely amongst sympathetic folks here. So, if you get the “There will be no running for you” verdict from your doctor, you’ll figure out something else to do in its place, I have no doubt in my mind.

    As an aside, my very athletic teenage daughter injured her knee a few weeks ago during Tae Kwon Do (TKD) class. She’s been taking TKD lessons since she was in kindergarten, so her injury surprised her — and me. It wasn’t TKD that did her in, though, it was the fact that she was trying out for the water polo team. Water polo is a new sport for her and quite strenuous since you’re treading water the entire time you’re in the pool (and some of her practices required her to be in the pool for two hours straight). To make a long story short, the doctor told her to stay off her feet and out of the pool for a week. My daughter couldn’t do that since the water polo team was being selected the following week. The compromise that was reached was for my daughter to drop out of TKD for a week and to find a less painful & strenuous way to be in the pool for water polo practice. Believe me, my daughter got very creative at treading water. She wasn’t completely without pain, but she found a happy medium. Thankfully, she made the water polo team and started back up with TKD lessons last week. Of course, on her second day back, she wound up in tears due to over-doing some TKD kicks. I’m now at the point where I have to decide what’s best for my daughter. Should she continue with both TKD and water polo? Or should she drop one or the other? If she has one more painful practice, I’m going to have to make a decision that she won’t be happy with. This is my least favorite part of being a mother. ~Sigh~

    So, you aren’t the only one with health issues. You’re in your thirties and my daughter is in her teens. Challenges arise at all ages and it’s how we deal with them that allows us to grow and move forward. For you, it might mean walking the 5K instead of running it, and for my daughter, it might mean dropping out of a sport (either temporarily or permanently) that she loves. No matter what happens, though, I know you’ll both find something to fill the void. Neither one of you are the type to sit still and watch the world pass you by. You’re both go-getters. So have that Plan B ready, just in case. I’ve got a Plan B ready for my daughter (and also a Plan C & D). 😉

  • you aren’t a failure OR a fraud because you can’t run!! if it’s between your health and running, your health is way more important. besides, in the long run, running is bad for your joints. walking is much better for you!!

  • *hugs* I know how disappointed you are, Amy… but keep reminding yourself that you haven’t failed ANYONE. There are often times I feel that way because of having to deal with Fibromyalgia. I cry and cry for days because my body just FIGHTS against me so much. Sometimes there are things I just cannot do… times I can barely move… and I feel like I’m letting my whole family down. But then I have to think about everything I DO and have done with and for them despite what I go through physically and you’re the same way. You have inspired SO many people and even proven several times to yourself that you CAN do that which you never thought you could. You’re SO much of a success already, there is no way you can classify yourself as failing in ANY capacity at this point no matter what tomorrow holds. You’re in my prayers, babe!!!

  • YOU DIDN’T FAIL. You tried, you may have to try again, you may have to try a different way, another time, but you didn’t fail.

  • (((((Amy)))) You have NOT failed anyone, especially not yourself. You made the commitment to do the 5k and even though you aren’t running it you’ve already said you will walk it. If that isn’t determination then I don’t know what is. I am sorry you are going through this hun. I hope the Dr will have some positive answers for you but do not feel that you have failed.

  • Amy, I’m with everyone else here. You did not fail and you are not a fraud. In fact, I would bet that this experience will open you up to helping and inspiring even more people.

  • Amy and failure are two words that do not belong in the same sentence. You have achieved so much in addition to the running. I know you’ll find a new way to get the blood pumping and inspire people in a whole new way. I am so proud of you, regardless of if we’re walking, skipping, or crawling across that finish line later this month.

  • First of all, I’m sorry about your injury, Amy! You will keep inspiring others in your own way–even if running is no longer part of the inspiration “package,” if you will.

    Believe me, I had many relapses into disordered eating the first two years I blogged and I’m sure it was hard for my readers — who would think I was getting better — to see me fall back. But I dusted off my shoulders and would try again … until I didn’t need to try any longer. And I was still able to inspire others along the way, even when I wasn’t fully recovered.

    I know your case is different, of course, but the idea of still inspiring others is similar. Even if you can’t run, you’ve created a new lifestyle for yourself with respect to fitness. If you can’t run, walk. Bike. Do anything else you can and you’ll find new ways to inspire.

    Whatever you do, do NOT feel like a failure, please, for not reaching the finish line. A race might have a finish line, but life doesn’t have one. Keep on being you!

  • […] the extreme high of being able to continue running for twenty minutes without stopping to suddenly not being allowed to run at all took its toll on my emotional health along with my physical health.  While I waited to see […]