By Carrie Adams

[Editor’s Note:  Be advised, this post contains some explicit language.]

Jason Jaksetic, Spartan’s own Barn Beast, set out this year to redefine himself as an athlete.  In a recent profile about Jaksetic, he said, “I went to Kona, and I wanted to be a pro Ironman.  I got sick of it all.”  He was hitting what he calls “the reset button” on the overwhelming, on failure, and on pain as an athlete.

“We turn off pain and then give it a negative connotation.  Anything that is worth doing is going to hurt. Running away from pain is running away from physical, mental, and spiritual greatness.”

Jaksetic is no stranger to pain.  He recently competed in the Peak Race’s McNaughton 150.  McNaughton is an ultramarathon in Pittsfield, VT, where Jaksetic DNF’d at mile 55 of the 150 mile course.  As an endurance athlete, you come to expect bad racing days, it’s inevitable.  But to Jaksetic, what transpired at McNaughton was unexpected and he was silent about the event until now.  In a recent blog post on his own site, www.jasonjaksetic.com, he finally opened up and shared his feelings, his pain, and his outlook on a race that just didn’t go according to plan.

From Jason’s original blog post: Silence the Strongest Euphemism

Fuck the euphemisms.

I’ve been shouting toned-down-reality within my mute shouting.

I failed.  Lost.  Broke.  Came up short.

I went bigger than my capabilities.  Too short to ride this ride.  Go home.  Do not pass go.  Do not collect your medal.

Humbling?  Quite.

I DNF’d the McNaughton 150.

It should be obvious at this point.  I haven’t posted since pre race projections and plans.

Surely, by this point, everyone can deduce that things didn’t go according to plan.

Why the delay?  A simple fact of human nature to which I am now privy.

We are programmed to litter the data-scape with our accomplishments.

Photos of sonograms.  Relationship status changes.  Links to race results.  Notices of office promotions.  Wedding photos.  Anecdotes about the greatest nights of our life…

Even Friday is a proclamation of success.  “I made it to the weekend.  I live for the weekend.  TGIF!  The 5/7ths of my life I hate didn’t get to me this week!”

Maybe it’s time to announce the times we didn’t make it to Friday, so to speak?

Photos of funerals.  Explanations of our relationship status changes involving our infidelities and other inadequacies.  Links to our DNF’s.  Divorce proceeding announcements on Facebook?

People look at social media and proclaim the beginning of a confessional society. People transparent and open about their secrets – leveling them out before the whole web.  An honesty and development of self reflection and confiding in others.

Nope.  Only idealistic avatars for the most part run free on the range of our public face.

We confess only our successes.
Wake up.  It’s a farce.

Where is rock bottom and failure in our resumes?

And I’m as big a part of the joke as anyone.

And I’m ready to make amends and move forward.

So, yes.  I bombed the McNaughton 150.  I was over-hyped.

I wrote checks my body couldn’t cash.

I let people down.  I painted expectations that were farther than my reach.  We can spout many many things and reach very few.

My absence from writing the last few weeks has convinced me of an irreparable shortcoming of the human ego to stand upon the shoulders of a failure.

But here that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

I own my DNF.  I’m cultivating the DNF.  I’m ruling this DNF.  I’m ruling every DNF.

American Zofigen

ADK 540

Eagleman

Ironman Kentucky

McNaughton

And crafting this into pre-race supplement for the Peak 50 and the Death Race and a Double Ironman.

And each of these future events offers yet an other avenue for public disgrace.

And my arms are wide open for it!

Rise upon your failures, stand upon them as a stack of bodies.  Bodies of former selves you’ve slain and are climbing upon.

Note to self:  get over yourself!

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4 Responses

  1. avatar

    “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” -Teddy Roosevelt

    I will join you in DNF ownership, my DNFs have only made me stronger! I truly believe most of the people who have never failed, have never actually attempted to push past their own physical or mental limits. My list of accomplishments and challenges overcome (Ultra Marathons, Go Tournaments, Death Races) in the last few years would fill an entire blog, but I know it is my list of DNFs that continue to drive me towards those accomplishments, and remind me to continue challenging myself.

    McNaughton unofficial goal of 100 miles (2011) – quit at mile 70 with knee pain

    Bandera 100k Trail Run (2011) – quit at 77k with stomach distress

    Winter Death Race (2010) – quit at 16 hours due to “time cutoff”

    Various solo winter training hikes (2010) – quit, tired after 1/2 hour and slept in my car

    U.S. Go (board game) Congress (2007) – Lost 5 out of 6 games in the U.S. Open

    U.S. Go (board game) Congress (2009) – Lost all 6 games in the U.S. Open

    Appalachian Trail thru-hike (2003) – quit in Maine (sick/depressed) after 2,050 miles (when people ask me about it I let them know that I hiked from Georgia to Maine, but never summited Katahdin)

    Tae Kwon Do School (when I was a kid) – quit just weeks before my Black Belt test (after years and years of hard work)

    The list goes on.

    Jack Cary (Death Race Finisher and occasional quitter)

  2. avatar

    Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. – Calvin Coolidge.

  3. avatar

    thats the truth, but you missed one thing about failures. Your mistakes should become what drives you. Some walk with their noses in the air and trip the hardest because they can’t see the ground. Others don’t feel they can’t get back up if they fall and watch the ground for obstacles to avoid. You can’t worry about falling, all you need is to get back up. Keep fighting brother.

  4. avatar

    just ran 12 miles. i don’t feel so good. kept up with amylynne for the first 7 she is like a small, fiouceros animal. on a positive note i think i figured out how to keep her entertained on long runs. i ran the first 7 miles with her, then weiner met us and ran the last 7 with her. amylynne still outran my wife.

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