Dusting Myself Off – Failing Is Not The Same As Being A Failure

After racing Ironman 70.3 Lake Stevens for 5hrs34Min51Sec I was disqualified.

I was not fast enough.

I never gave up. I never thought about giving up. I gave it my all. There are dedicated cut-off times throughout every Ironman race. I missed a cut-off by 3mins. (Yeah. Ouch.)

Lake Stevens Ironman70.3 Pre-Race
The swim – Lake Stevens, Washington

While this particular expedition definitely did not end the way I had planned, the journey is far from over. What is most important to me is to remember the process of this undertaking, to remember the utter honesty the training required – No,  demanded. The openness and vulnerability, without any excuses, required to come this far is something no one can take away from me. Ever. This race was always about competing against the gremlins and dark side of myself. And the only way that could ever be achieved, beating the gremlins and the dark side, was (and is) with stark honesty.

Being honest with myself has been hard. Tough. Not easy. Being honest with myself has been a daily practice right along side all the physical Ironman training. The race was two weeks ago today, two weeks ago I called myself a “failure”. Today, my “failure” is my greatest gift. For it was not a failure – Getting disqualified at Lake Stevens Ironman70.3 was just what happened that day.

Swim Start
Swim Start

I took a week off after the race and slowly road-tripped down the coast of Washington State, Oregon, and Northern California where I had lots of time to reflect on my “fail”. At some point I knew I could continue calling myself a “failure” and feeling sorry for myself or I could friggin’ stand-up, dust myself off, and take a long hard honest look at what I came away with…

Lake Stevens Ironman70.3 Swim Finish
Oh lawdy.  I was so FRIGGIN happy to finish that swim.

The challenge I alone put to myself was definitely physically daunting but it was the mental challenge that was my biggest nemesis. Breaking through my mental barriers was my biggest challenge, it was where I learned most about myself. This is where fear and courage came into play. And lawdy I learned I have SO MANY fears, so many. And so many insecurities. I feel fear most of the time. And I am insecure even more so.

“When we give ourselves permission to fail, we, at the same time, give ourselves permission to excel.” ~ Eloise Ristad

Part of the journey and the exercise is managing the fear.

Do not ever let the fear of failure stop you. Ever.

On the other side of fear is courage.

56miles On The Bike
56miles On The Bike

There will always be road blocks and curve balls, and challenges to goals one sets.

“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.”  ~Albert Einstein.

I need goals. I need challenges. I need truth.  With every challenge I put to myself I learned more about myself, a sort of transformation occurred at every step, where I grew into a happier, more peaceful, stronger, selfless, no bullshit-abiding version of myself. (No bullshit-abiding mostly of my own.) A version of myself where I could be gentle with myself, where I could forgive myself for not being fast enough.

We will ALWAYS have fails, but we will also have wins.  And I will keep moving for I believe in movement, most especially the kind where you get up off the ground and dust yourself off and begin again. For life is like that. Some days suck and some days are full of vitality. Keep moving, the pain you feel today is the strength you feel tomorrow. Do not fear the change, do not fear failure, challenge yourself and dig deep.

And I will always, ALWAYS be beyond grateful for having the best friggin’ humans in my life.. No matter my “fail” I know I can count of these guys to make me laugh and pee my pants (literally) all the while showing me the compassion I am not able to show myself.

Team Tahira
Team Tahira

Show up. Be honest. Be yourself. Show up. Forgive yourself. Do it again. And do it better. And then do more. Show up. Dust yourself off. Push harder. Fight the fear. Believe. Believe in yourself. Take strength from your team. Begin again. Laugh. Work harder. Be okay with change. Move. Just friggin move. Show up. And do it again. 





  1. Ironman Supergirl! You should be nothing but proud of yourself Tahira, not many people have the strength and courage to challenge their mental and physical boundaries., and you’ just showed everyone the sky is the limit. I’m so proud of you!

  2. Tahira, you had the courage to begin a journey MOST of us would never even consider! I am in awe of you! Finish or not, your journey has been inspirational to me. You are amazing!!!

    • Prague! One of my favorite European cities! It’s right up there with Edinburgh and Paris. I can’t wait for you to post about it. Thank you so much, Lynne. For taking the time out of your busy travel to comment, my support-system here has never EVER let me down. Thank you ❤

  3. You are a winner at so many levels, Tahira! Your journey has been so inspiring to me, and all of us. I was thinking of you that day driving home from a trip north…and saying to myself that whatever happens, you have been amazing! So much wisdom in your post. You go girl ❤

    • Thank you, Tiny. I am humbled beyond words by all the love and encouragement here. I think I even felt your thoughts the day of the race. Sometimes I feel this has been a group effort. The support one feels and gets on this sort of endeavor directly correlates with ones success – I may not have crossed the finish line (yet) but I am so successful in so many others ways by having you guys in my life. ❤

  4. As many before me have said, you. are. inspiring! This is so on-point, Tahira! What a spectacular realization for you to share – I am thankful to you for the reminder and so buoyed by your continuing story 🙂

    • Thank you. Just thank you, Alex. Having friends both near and far, and having you guys cheer me on even from a distance is the number one reason I keep blogging and sharing, and one of the main reasons I decided to ‘dust myself off’. This is just the beginning. 🙂 xo

  5. Oh, Tahira! You look so strong and proud. As you should be. We look at things all wrong sometimes, thinking that the result is more important than the journey, when our spirit knows that it’s all about the wisdom we gain. Girl, you have gained sooo much wisdom ❤️

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