My hardest Ironman finish! No one will ever know when they look at my finisher's medal.
My hardest Ironman finish! No one will ever know when they look at my finisher’s medal the challenges I had to encounter during training (many injuries) and also during the race.

It’s okay to fail and have to start over. I know. I’ve probably have the world record for the number of times a person has failed and had to start over.

For many people after a failure they simply quit. For them starting over is an affirmation of failure and if they started over again and failed, would be one more crushing blow to their ego. They think that if they start over and fail again that the failure was in deed their fault and others would criticize them. They would criticize themselves and experience to much pain. Whereas if they fail just once, they can use excuses why it happened and never have to pass blame to themselves and their fragile ego.

That way of thinking will never lead a person to keep working at their dreams and goals and most probably lead to an unfulfilled life.

People praise me all the time about finishing 10 Ironman triathlons. They say things like, “Mike, that is so amazing. I could never do that.”

Here is what they don’t see:

  • During all 10 Ironman events I had to stop running and walk during the marathon. In one Ironman I walked 24 of the 26 miles because my body shut down during the bike portion and I had no juice in the tank to run a marathon.
  • I crashed on my bike several times. Once just 9 days from Ironman Wisconsin and it required stitches to patch up a gaping wound on my leg and I had major road rash on my shoulder and that scar can still be seen today.
  • I was hit by a car in 2006 while riding my bike that injured my left shoulder. I still have issues with that shoulder today.
  • I was hit by a car on purpose while running that knocked me down and bruised my hip.
  • I still have to run a business that requires my time and many nights I don’t get all the sleep I need.
  • I have to train whether I want to or not. When it is chilling cold outside or brutally hot I still have to prepare. I have to start some long runs and bike rides at 3 am when the temperature is 87 degrees and before it hits 100 at 10 am.
  • I’ve been severely depleted of electrolytes and my heart races uncontrollable for several days and it even effects me while I’m trying to sleep.
  • I’ve had family issues that has caused me to travel and miss valuable training routines.
  • I’ve had some very personal struggles that has been very difficult on me at times.

But there is one thing that I have in common with all of these issues; I never used them as a reason to quit but as a motivation to keep going.

Today I had scheduled a 5 hour up tempo bike ride followed by a 45 minute run. I rode only 1 hour and had to stop because my body had not recovered from a very hard 2 hour run I did yesterday. My right knee, while not injured, is very stiff and sore. I had only two choices. One, I could admit failure and that I’m a loser and will never be able to improve my body so I can win a slot to race in Kona, Hawaii, the World Ironman Championship.

Or I could choose to think this way; I’m a World Champion! I had my best run ever yesterday. I pushed well past my outer limits and as my dear friend Krissy says, “I kicked ass!” Today, while I would have liked to ride, wasn’t in the cards. I accept the fact that my body, being pushed past my limits, still needs time to recover. I rescheduled the 5 hour ride and run for Monday and next week I’ll combine two routines in one day and catch up.

Thus I had to start over.

Starting over is a badge of honor for me. It’s a sign of courage. It allows me to finish all the races in my life with my family, my health, my business and my happiness.

For me starting over is symbolic of the Atonement, where Christ paid the price so I could start over as many times as I needed.

It’s okay to start over. Love yourself. Love your journey. Cross as many finish lines as you set out to achieve because no one will ever count the amount of times you had to start over to do it.


About the Author Michael Lantz (Big Papa)

The Wellness Warrior™; Health & Leadership/Business Coach, Speaker, Blogger, Author, Ironman Triathlete Helping others live with more health and joy, paying for their dreams and make a difference in the world! Learn more:

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