This… is the sad look of utter disappointment.
I am so proud of this girl. She set an audacious goal at the beginning of the season. She wanted to beat the school record for a 2 mile cross country run. Currently the record is 12 minutes and 38 seconds (which is FAST).
Piper has been putting in the work, and on Saturday she set out to beat the record. (I think I was honestly more nervous than she was.) She wanted to run fast and come in under 12:38.
She was not concerned about where she placed. She just had her eyes set on that 12:38 finish time.
She took off like a rocket! She was running hard, and I was praying nearly as hard. I didn’t care if she “won”. I just wanted her to finish well and reach her goal.
She was flying!
At about a mile in, she was on pace. She ran a 6 minute and 15 second first mile. If she could just keep that up, she would reach her goal!
At just a little over a mile (I believe), she was passed by a girl from another school. Oh, no! I thought. She is losing it!! But she wasn’t losing it… That pass just fired her up. The next time that I saw Piper, at about a half mile to go, the girl who passed her was nowhere in sight.
Piper was running fast! She wasn’t in first place (the first place girl is super fast!), but she was in a solid second place.
But what about the time? Was she running fast enough?
I was watching the time clock. I don’t think she is going to reach her goal I thought to myself.
I knew that it was a big deal to her to finish under 12:38, but the math just wasn’t working in her favor.
I watched the first place finisher come across the finish line, and I saw Piper coming, but it wasn’t going to be fast enough. As she turned the final corner, the time clock read 12:33. She had five seconds to cover an impossible amount of feet.
She knew it.
As she came running in the shoot for that final stretch, she gave all she had, but it wasn’t enough by nearly 10 seconds. Through the lens of my camera I watched the disappointment emerge across her face.
She didn’t reach her goal.
She nearly lost it coming across the finish line at 12 minutes and 48 seconds (which is an average pace, by the way, of 6 minutes and 24 seconds per mile!).
She crossed the finish line, knowing that she worked hard, but failed to meet her goal. She was crushed. She collapsed into my arms and just cried.
As a father, it was honestly hard to keep it together. I was SO proud of her for what she had accomplished (I don’t know if I could have done that), but I know the disappointment of failing to reach your goal.
What good is a goal if it is easy to reach?
If a goal is easy to accomplish, it is not really a goal… it is simply a task list item.
I am proud of Piper for setting a difficult goal and for working so hard to reach it.
Sometimes we don’t quite get to where we want to be. That is life. God is good, either way.
She will have one more chance to reach her goal and to break her school record on Saturday. Sadly, I will not be there to watch it happen, but I’ll be praying for God to give her the strength to reach her goal, and the grace to accept her best attempt as good enough, either way.
Please feel free to join me in praying for her.
Whether she reaches her goal or not, I think she is learning far more through trying for a hard goal and failing than she ever could through setting an easy goal and hitting it on the first try.