Sunday, June 15, 2014

The OH SHIT Moment

It is father's day, and I have to say my dad is one of the kindest, most caring guys I know. He has a loud bark, but very little bite. I can tell you stories about my dad's kindness that would have you going wild, and his ability to forgive people, especially me, is quite impressive. So, let me tell you a little story about forgiveness.

Race season is in full swing, and I am hearing more and more about my friends' races. It is a very exciting time for a runner as we all LOVE to tell our race stories in very vivid detail. You literally get to hear the good, the bad and the ugly. The good might include PRs, awesome scenery, new friends, new distances, you name it. The bad might include the start and finish line being backwards, long bathroom lines, not meeting race goals, etc. The ugly... well that can take any form from bloody nipples, stomach problems or not enough water on a course.

It is funny, a recent weekend, while I was participating in my race in Canada, a million of my running friends (OK, so a lot) were participating in a half marathon near Columbus. It was a hot weekend everywhere! Hot in Columbus, hot in Canada, hot in Chicago, EVERYWHERE. Any person who runs distance races has expectations for the course and the support on the course, but you honestly never know what you are going to get. 

While I was running my half marathon in Canada, I vaguely recall stating that I would have preferred more water on the course. I made the choice to NOT carry water. I also recall having lost 6 minutes to bathroom lines. Here is the thing, My friends were there, they supported me, I had a successful race. I have not focused on the negative, and decided it is my responsibility to take control of my hydration in the future. The race directors sent out a survey and I likely mentioned the bathroom and water situation, but I certainly talked more about the esprit de corps that I felt that day.   

Anyway, the particular race company that put on the race near Columbus had a BAD day, that extremely hot weekend several weeks ago. I know there is debate on how they handled the comments on their Facebook page, and how they responded to the event, but I want to tell you this... I have participated in several races hosted by that race company, and they have been some of the most organized races. On top of the company supporting some of my favorite and organized races, they are also family friendly and supportive of EVERY athlete on the course, regardless of ability. Additionally, the one time I did have an issue with this race company, the owner responded to my concerns. I saw the public apology sent by the race company about the issues they experienced, and my guess is they really learned a lot because they had, what I would call, and Oh SHIT moment. They screwed up, admitted in, and are going to try to move on.

I have participated in several events over the years that have included the dreaded Oh SHIT moment. Let me tell you what an Oh SHIT moment is to me. It is a moment where I recognize a huge mistake, I own  that mistake, acknowledge that I had a part in said mistake and then I apply my discoveries to my next event. Perfect example? Several years ago, I had a terrible sprint triathlon. Now I could have blamed that on any number of things, like eating bad food, not having hydration on the course, not fueling properly. Now I'm sure all of those things had an impact, but you know what had a greater impact? The fact that I didn't train. I promised myself that I would train properly from that point forward, and so far so good. I messed up, owned it, applied my lessons and have completed 10 half marathons, one full marathon, a couple bike rides and triathlons.

Taking this back to the dreaded half marathon that happened several weeks ago near Cbus? Some of my closest friends plan to give up on the race company that put on that race, and that is their prerogative. I won't argue with them, but I would challenge them to think about a major professional screw up that they have had, and ask them to consider whether they are thankful that someone gave them a second chance, because I know that I am thankful for my second and third chances. Also, I know one of the points of contention with people is how the race company responded to Facebook posts that were left by participants. I do want to point out that if someone posts on your Facebook wall that you are a total jerk and you are the worst person in the world, you would likely delete that post from your wall, I know I would!!!

All I am really saying is this; I know it is hard to remember, in the midst of a bad experience, but there are people behind those race companies and based on this companies response, I would say they have learned something. I'm so glad my dad taught me to give people second and third chances, because those mistakes (if people are willing to admit they made them) are what molds us as individuals in the future, and I certainly am honored when I get to be part of a person's growth, and love the people who stick by me during my growing moments!!! 


  1. I have heard others have experienced what you have with their multisport events but not their non multisport events. My opinion of never doing an event of theirs again is based on many things. I get a company can have an "oh shit" moment but they are too old of a company to make mistakes this big and they didn't react properly. They also told their volunteers who were there to do a water stopped they were fully manned and they weren't. They also didn't know how to set one up. They have been around too long for a mistake like this

    1. Perhaps that is true Laur, I'm just saying that I give people multiple chances before I determine how I truly feel about them. Those experiences have to be my own though. They haven't wronged me but once, and where to point blame is arguable. So, I'll give them another chance. And I totally respect your opinion. I'm 34 years old and still make 10 year old mistakes. It happens...