DNF!

I’m shutting down my business this week.

If ever I felt like a failure, now is that time. It’s been a very hard year and a half for me. I fell victim to wire fraud. I lost $16,127.50 that I will never see again. I have been the target of a smear campaign that has done immeasurable emotional damage to my wife and to me, and which probably contributed to the failure of my business as a result of the emotional distraction, and it has done damage to my wife’s business. Between dumping money into a failing business and trying to protect my reputation as a result of the attacks against me, we have been left with significant debt. I left the office early yesterday because it’s too hard to be there. I got in the Starbucks drive-thru and my tire exploded. Truly, a complete blowout as I was sitting still in line. Sometimes I wonder if I’m being tested and I’m starting to think I can’t take much more.

This business venture was probably destined to fail from day 1. The wire fraud resulted from my office building management company’s email server being hacked. It occurred before I even took occupancy. They took no responsibility and became abusive towards me even though it resulted in no loss for them. The smear campaign started to explode as I was just opening the new business. The signs all seemed to be pointing to “HELL NO!”

It feels, in many ways like a DNF (did not finish) in a goal race. Between road and track bike races, triathlons and foot races, I’ve had my share of DNFs. Most came on the bike,. Some were the result of crashing out. In some races I was dropped. And in some I was even lapped. In one particular mountain bike race called the Suicide 6, a 6-hour event on technical singletrack, it started torrentially raining about 5 minutes into the race. I hesitantly pulled myself out of that race when my brakes gave out. When I was forced to slow myself on downhills Flinstone’s style, I thought it was best to live long enough to try again.

flintstonescar.jpg

Failure hurts. It is grieving a real loss, even if it seems meaningless to other people. I’ve quit a few races that were important to me. To those who don’t understand why a race has so much meaning, there is no explanation that will suffice. To you and me, we just get it. It’s part of our very fiber. And though, in my last post I described quitting a bike race and walking away from road racing forever, typically, I’ve always gotten back up on that proverbial horse.

The difference for me today, with the closing of the business, is that this DNF is in slow motion. When you crash out of a bike race, it happens in an instant. The Band-Aid is ripped off quickly. One who DNFs a running race may deliberate over quitting for mines, but when the decision is made, the race is immediately over. The DNF I am experiencing now takes time, planning, let down, causing pain to others, a lot of head time, and still, it’s not quite over.

At this point, I want and need this race to end. I need to begin focusing on, and training for my next race. I already know what it will be. Though we have accrued significant debt, we are not desperate. My wife’s business, which I initially founded nearly 7 years ago and which we built together, will welcome me back. But, just like a particularly hard DNF, I know I need to regroup, reassess my goals, learn from my mistakes, and be better, strong, wiser than I have been.

Fortunately, I am finding great healing on the run. In the last week, I’ve been able to truly let the world around me melt away as I fall into myself, focus on my breathing and stride, and let Parov Stelar’s meditate beats take me away.