What happens when you miss the moon?

Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star.
W. Clement Stone
I'd heard this quote before or other variations, aim for the stars, you might hit the moon or something like that. In fact, I wanted to make sure I was getting the quote correct, so I went to the tome of truth, GOOGLE... and I found some funny stuff... My personal favorite being a comment on the quote above
When you miss you will end up in the vacuum of space where there is no air to breath and the half of you facing the sun will fry while the other half freezes solid. Source(s): Ask a science/physics/astronomy major.
And as much as I like to be a sunny, positive person, there are occasions where the above comment strikes me as completely appropriate. This post is not so much "how I'm feeling about missing out on Kona this year"; but more what I learned on a journey that had me reaching for stars, had me positive I could make it there and then fall into the vacuum of space where for a bit, it felt like I had no air to breathe...

I had heard about the five (or seven - depending on which article you read) stages of grief, and while I am not purporting that failing to reach a goal is the same as loosing a loved one, when you dedicate so much of your life to something (the healthiness of THAT is left to another debate haha), and it doesn't turned out as hoped, you experience a loss.  

The five stages of grief
Another tome of truth, WIKIPEDIA, was consulted for the following:
The Kübler-Ross model, commonly known as The Five Stages of Grief, was first introduced by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book, On Death and Dying.
[1] The stages, popularly known by the acronym DABDA, include:[2]
Denial — "I feel fine."; "This can't be happening, not to me." - Denial is usually only a temporary defense for the individual
Anger — "Why me? It's not fair!"; "How can this happen to me?"; '"Who is to blame?" - Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy.
Bargaining — "I'll do anything for a few more years."; "I will give my life savings if..." - The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow postpone or delay death. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. Psychologically, the individual is saying, "I understand I will die, but if I could just do something to buy more time..."
Depression — "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I'm going to die soon so what's the point... What's the point?"; "I miss my loved one, why go on?" - During the fourth stage, the dying person begins to understand the certainty of death. Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying and grieving. This process allows the dying person to disconnect from things of love and affection. It is not recommended to attempt to cheer up an individual who is in this stage. It is an important time for grieving that must be processed.
Acceptance — "It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it." - In this last stage, individuals begin to come to terms with their mortality, or that of a loved one, or other tragic event.
These "stages" are interesting to me, because I would think a "stage" would be something you move through and leave behind... that doesn't seem to be the case as I feel like I've gone through several of them, several times and I think I'll keep doing it for awhile.  

I'm pretty much done with this one... I went through it right around mile 10 of the run. For anyone looking for a sporting accomplishment you really can't be hanging around here too long... it's pretty in your face. Guess what, Kona doesn't roll down to 11th place.  

now this one comes up more likely than I would like to admit... especially because the only person to blame is myself. "I should have had a better nutrition plan" "why did I stop taking in calories at mile 90?" "I should have thought to start eating on the run or at least take some Liquid Shot" As my mom used to tell me "we 'should' all over ourselves"  

I'm not certain about this one... I do tend to bargain more like "next time". Next time; I'll eat better, I'll train harder, I'll train smarter...

I tried to stop this one from happening, or at least rush my way through it... I signed up for a sprint race two weeks after Louisville, I went to Chicago and GSSI determined to solve my GI issues, I decided to race the HalfRev in Anderson to prove I could be faster... but it happened anyhow. If this were written on paper you would see tear stains. I have my moments where I think "what the hell was I thinking, I can't do that!" "all that effort wasted, all that time away from my family" This where all the GUILT comes in to play. I feel so GUILTY about, not only, taking all that time to myself to train, but also the times I was present but not "here" because I was exhausted. To think, "it's okay, because I'm being a positive role model for my kids about taking a chance, trying to achieve a goal, etc." but then you don't reach the goal. So now I'm trying to show them how to take that and turn it into a positive and lean from it... that doesn't mean I'm not still pissed and upset (oh look, here we go through those "stages" again) ha ha  

Acceptance and Hope
So we come to Acceptance and Hope and you'd think once you got here, you'd be done.... well, that would be wrong, at least in my case.
About two days after Louisville I was already here. Well and truly! I was proud of what I'd accomplished on the day and hopeful that I would be out there again giving it a shot. I believed in my abilities almost more than I ever had. This was pretty cool.

I'd reached for the "moon" and had fallen among the stars... I wasn't in a vacuum of space, but floating and light and able to accomplish anything I set my mind to.

But life isn't a neat little set of stages that you can put into a book... life is sometimes a freezing vacuum of space, and sometimes is bright and sunny and floating and filled with immeasurable potential.

You hear people say "I don't regret taking the chance"... you hear it so often, it starts to loose it's meaning... or maybe I never really understood it until now...

I really laid my heart out there this year... I recently re-read my posts from the beginning of this journey
"Step 1: Get a Theme Song"
and the comments on them are so awesome! And reading them made me ask myself... am I sorry that I put all of this out there? Do I wish I had kept it to myself so that I didn't have to feel embarrassed (for lack of a better word) when I didn't reach my goal.

And the truth is simply "NO"

Perhaps there are people out there who thought "my, she's a little full of herself" or something along those lines.

and I really don't care.

I certainly don't regret having everyone who reads this blog and leaves awesome and lovely comments in on the journey. :D

I have no idea how I'd be feeling as a person sitting here a week and a couple of days since starting the race in Kona. I don't have a picture of that person.

However, I do know one way that she'd be much different than the person sitting here writing about NOT getting there.

The person sitting here right now knows that it is OK to reach for a goal and not make it. and sure, we do this a little bit each day... but those really big goals, the ones that you have make changes for, the ones your FAMILY has to make changes for, the inconvenient and tricky goals. even those, it's going to be okay if you fail.

You have to take that experience (and all the mess that went with it) and learn something new about yourself. You take your opportunity to PAUSE and think about what it would have meant to you to achieve it and do you want to keep fighting for it.

Your life continues on and it is still at turns amazing, crappy, mundane and glorious.

Goals keep us focused. They keep us motivated. They keep us moving FORWARD.

They help us DREAM and BELIEVE

and I don't ever want to give up on that.

Do you have something you want to achieve?!? Don't bottle it up, put it out there!
Comment about it, Blog it, tweet it, Facebook it, or just tell your best friend. Make yourself accountable and GO FOR IT!!! You might achieve it!!!

and there is always a chance you might fail. WHO CARES?!?! You will gain something from the experience either way.

So, tell me, what do you want to achieve??


  1. This is a positive person that turns lemons into lemonade and I am proud to know her and count her as a friend. When you are mired in misery after a failed achievement, take a look around and see how good you really have it and you might be surprised.

    Take on the challenges and trust that you can bounce back if you don't meet them. More fuel for the fire...

  2. It takes a huge amount of courage to broadcast to the world that you are trying to qualify for Kona. I remember quite vividly the night before your first 140.6 when you wouldn't even tell your own MOTHER what your run goal was! You've changed and grown SO much as an athlete over the past 12 months.

    I think many people would agree with me that we felt a different connection with you by reading about your Kona aspirations. It became important to us too, and when you didn't qualify we grieved with you.

    I have a great deal of admiration and respect for people like you Jill. I was scared to death to openly say "I am riding my bike across Florida and I want to do it in XX amount of time" Thank you for helping me realize that I CAN set goals and openly discuss them. And if I don't achieve them the world does not come to an end.

    **you are still my chick crush**

  3. favorite comment ever: "it is OK to reach for a goal and not make it."

    So many of us (um, of course.. not, um, me) don't shoot for the moon BECAUSE we are afraid to fail. You are so right. it is 100% ok to fail!!!! You certainly learn from it... :D Great post Jill.. we love you .. kona or no kona!

  4. While I can't know exactly how you feel, I do know what it's like to put your goals out there and come short. As I woke up at mile 20 at IM LP, I knew Kona was not there, but I made a choice, to keep going.

    That's the same choice you made and I never regret it. It's easy to not try. To reach beyond your grasp takes courage. And girl you have it in droves!

  5. We all have a fear of failure and the fact that you were able to put it out there on your sleeve makes you braver than anyone out there. To say hey I want this thing and I not ashamed that I tried to get it. Not many people even try to reach for the moon they settle for the Lower Earth Orbit. Even though you might have felt like you had gotten smacked by a meteorite travelling at a high velocity you really have turned it into a shooting star!!!

    You are one amazing person. Without failure we cannot learn. Keep setting goals and going for it. XOXOXOXOXO

  6. It's so hard to put it all out there and tell the world I am lion hear me roar. Congrats to you for sharing with us a piece of you and of your journey. Thanks for continuing to inspire and being who you are.

  7. Thanks for all of the amazing comments!
    Harvey - thank you, that means so much to me and you are correct, it is a wonderful feeling to look around and realize all that you truly have. I'm a lucky girl.
    Dani - it is funny to think that 12 months ago I was scared to even tell my mom, for fear of failure. If I'd made me goal for 2011 "Gain confidence in myself and my ability to improve" I would be calling my year a success :D (So I think I shall, call it a success haha)
    Laura - Thanks for letting me talking through this a bit in SC, it was what made me realize that I really needed to write it all down. :D
    Dan - I don't know that I'll ever be able to express how much I respect you for finishing that race in IMLP. You are a tri god forever to me for that simple act alone. Thank you for YOUR courage.
    KD - Words fail. thank you for ALWAYS being there! Hugs!!!
    Brent - what can I say, from someone who inspires so many I really appreciate your comments and they mean a boatload to me. Thank you!

  8. I just love you! You are so real and so beautiful from the inside out. I am a member of the "everything happens for a reason" club. A club that is sometimes not one people want to be members of. I think it will be very interesting for you to look back on this year in 10 years and see how it changed you for the better. Embrace your grief, there is nothing wrong with that, then find a new moon to shoot for.

  9. Jill, I hope you know what an inspiration you are to so many. You are such a leader and always lead by example. I just got to know you this year and watched you fight for something that many don't have the courage to event admit they would like some day. Your dedication and determination throughout the whole process were amazing. And you know what, I learned so much about you, so many amazing things about you when you didn't hit your goal. You are a tough cookie and I know that IMLOU02011 won't be the last time you put yourself out there. You might stumble along the way, but you are inspiring many of us to push outside of our comfort zones, knowing that the journey will teach us all a little bit about ourselves. ((HUGS))

  10. Jill,
    I read your report after IMLou and told you how genuine it was. It was the real deal. It was out there on your sleeve for everybody to see. I admired that. This post is more of the same. It's the truth. When I first read that you were going for Kona, I thought "Damn, this girl is a badass! I like her." When you didn't make it and still managed to find the courage to finish the marathon strong, I REALLY thought you were a badass! Quitting is easy. Looking deep inside yourself and finding out who you really are is the hard part. (I can only hope I pass the test as well as you did.)You have also given me a new respect/perspective for how I will approach my first 140.6. For that, I say THANK YOU and congratulations for being an inspiration to so many people, including those two little boys who will never say "gee, mommy didn't get to Kona." Instead, they will say "mommy tried really hard." Eventually, they too, will tell their friends... my mom is a "badass!"

  11. Great post, self discovery is a very powerful tool!

    I believe you shouldn't ever worry about something that has already happened or something you have no control over. In my mind that is a waste of energy and I always try to focus on what "I" can control. I feel this helps me keep out of the gutter that so many peeps fall into.

    I also try not to feel guilty with my training/racing. I have three young girls, a loving wife and a full time job. Training/racing is for "me", but at the same time, I'm instilling a lifelong love of being active for my kids, I'm healthier and I feel I'm a more balanced dad. Those are all tangible results that help me through the day!

    Keep your dreams alive!

  12. Some famous person said something along the lines of, 'It's not how many times you fall, it's how you react to it, and get up afterwards'. Or maybe that's two sayings I smashed together, but either way I think it' true. You did get up, and you put it out there that you'll try again, and that's just more motivation to bust your ass chasing your dream. It wouldn't surprise me at all to hear that you've purchased your tickets to Kona next year. :)

  13. This is the *perfect* post. We've all been there... but I think you have been one of the few to put it in just the right words.

    I always like to think that the lows are what you need in order to truly appreciate the highs. I'm new around here but thanks for inspiring!

  14. I had a similar experience at Madison this year. I had no idea how many slots there were for my AG, but i knew ihad slipped in the run from 3rd to 5th, but youknow what? Tho i did want a slot, i trained and worked hard for my first IM and enjoyed the process of it; I knew that if i got a slot it was ok and if i didnt i was still going to finish ( the real goal) my first try at this distance. Slot of no slot. And while I was sorta sad i didnt get one i also LEARNED a ton, and knew i could do it again next year and try for a slot.
    I played D 1 tennis and competitive tennis for 40 years ( or close to it!) and anytime i reached solely for the Win, i came up short or struggled. When i did my point to point plan, and stayed in the present the goal i had ( to win) came.So i try to keep that mindset, my goal is to execute my best race, bc i cant control how awesome the other racers are or arent:)
    Thanks for sharing your journey!


tribirdie goes No Sugar No Grain


Follow Tribirdie


Tribirdie Goes No Sugar No Grain

I started eating following the rules
No Sugar
No Grain

I am posting what eat each day on tumblr. I'm sure I'll make some mistake along the way, feel free to heckle!

tribirdie's No sugar No grain photosettribirdie's No sugar No grain photoset


"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift"
- Steve Prefontaine
"Shut Up Legs"
- Jens Voigt
"No quit in this body. No quit in this Mind"
- Jill Poon (inspired by Jason Overbaugh)