I now finally understand how my parents could be so proud of me for finishing a marathon, even when I am so disappointed that I want to scream. I used to think they were just trying to sugar-coat the experience, and focus only on the positives. (which is a wonderful trait that my mother has).
I remember cringing when we were at dinner after the NYC marathon: my 4:02 finish in my mind a disaster b/c my goal was a BQ of 3:50, and I was in severe ITBand pain for the last 16 miles. They were proudly telling folks at nearby tables (other diners wearing finisher medals and their friends/families) how I had run the marathon, and we had all traveled from Pittsburgh. At that time I just wanted to crawl under the table as I mumbled 4:02 time and time again.
What was to me a failure was to them something to celebrate.
Fast forward almost 4 years. When T and D finished their Kiddie Triathlon races I could not have been more proud of them if they had won an Ironman. To me it really did NOT matter where they finished in their age groups (near the bottom), but that they went out there and competed and finished. I want them to know that I am proud of them for trying and their success is in the completion.
They wanted to look their times and AG placement up online (wonder where the competitive nature comes from- ahem) and I had to watch as their faces both fell when they saw where they had finished, and recognized names of classmates and teammates above theirs. The fact that D finished after his 3 falls off the bike and T did the longer distances in his first time out is something I hope they can be truly proud of themselves for doing.
And, the great thing about timed races... THERE IS ALWAYS NEXT YEAR!
PS-- I ALWAYS appreciated the support from my parents; THANKS for being there!