Setbacks, New Beginnings and Building Mental Resilience

1:30 am. Glass of red wine in hand. Crumbles of cheese and airplane snacks lingering on the coffee table. I have bags under my eyes, a persistent pulsing around my temples and stress-induced breakouts. The word “spent” doesn’t even begin to describe my entire being.

The last few weeks of my life were spent traveling for work to Kentucky, Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida, California and back and forth to D.C. — seven states, seven-day work weeks, and a combination of lost luggage, cancellations and standby flights later, here I am.

Below are some photos from my past week:


Needless to say, my life hasn’t been exactly ideal for training for a 50-mile race. I’ve had little time to run or strength train, let alone sleep or tame with my growing basket of laundry. But at this very moment, at 1:30 am on a Sunday night, I don’t feel fulfilled, or proud, or relieved; I feel disappointed. All I could think was that I failed to reach 60 miles this week; I only got to 40. And I didn’t run a long run of 18 miles; I had to stop at 14.5. Who cares that I ran before and after full-day shoots, ran in 100-degree weather or pulled 2-a-days for the sake of mileage? I failed to reach my goal, and for that, I had simply failed.

Fast forward six hours to 7:30 in the morning. This is what I love about Mondays: Whatever happened over the last seven days — good or bad — Mondays are a reminder that every morning you wake up is an opportunity to begin again; to reflect on last week’s triumphs and setbacks; to take pride in steps you took forward and to evaluate your shortcomings; and to set new goals for progress and self-improvement.

This particular morning, as I reflect on my last week — week 13 of MMTR 50 training — I really don’t know if I could have done much else. I pushed myself hard, professionally and personally, and life simply overtook my training. And that’s okay. Because running and isn’t about being perfect or the best all the time; in fact, it’s about learning to give it your all even in the face of imperfections challenges, so that you can learn to grow and learn what it takes to rise above. So when you do have setbacks, find peace in knowing that you’re giving your all; that life isn’t perfect and neither are we; and that pride should be taken wherever there is progress.

So I embark on week 14 of training. It’s 5 :05 in the morning. Large thermos of hazelnut coffee in hand. I have a spark in my eye birthed from a night’s rest in my own bed and a morning of reflection and refocusing. Looking ahead to this week and the weeks ahead (planning two marathons and four 50Ks) the word “exhilarated” doesn’t even begin to describe my entire being.

Happy trails,

One thought on “Setbacks, New Beginnings and Building Mental Resilience

  1. Good luck, Jackie! I find that it’s easy to become compulsive about training plans in a way that’s self-destructive. Though it’s satisfying to meet goals and nail a checklist, I have to remind myself that sometimes the benefit of a full night of sleep is greater than the benefit of more miles on an overstressed body. You’re spot on that life can just overtake training! Hang in there!

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