I’m a successful failure

How can anyone fail at being last in a race? If you read my last blog that question would make sense.

So when was my last failure? Not sure as they happen frequently. Some are substantial others scarcely noticeable. This morning a simple distraction resulting in drink spilt down a clean white-T. After all these years I should know where my mouth is by now. In terms of failure trivial but it made me late for my first work appointment and my day never really recovered.

Failure Blog 4.JPG

I began running because of a failure. As a weak and sickly teenager of 10stone 4lb in 1975 I took up bodybuilding. Tucked away in a basement at the local council run swimming pool I lifted heavier and heavier weights 6-times a week. Eating high protein foods and spending my paper round money on repulsive amino acids and other supplements. In 1983 at a spectacularly muscular 11 stone 1lb I took my engineering qualifications to the Territorial Army. I found the physical assessment tough and was in bottom three for aerobic fitness. Never again was I going to feel such emotional or physical pain. The Basic Fitness Test was 3-miles so I replaced gym with running. It was not long before I rediscovered my speed and soon was able to complete 3-miles consistently in 18 to 19 minutes.

In 1993 I was well above the average fitness in my Corps and I qualified as Army Physical Training Instructor (TA). During initial assessment I completed the 3-mile run in 18:34. I was 51st out of 63, oh well still bottom third. But I did excel in instruction, capable of delivering highly acclaimed imaginative sessions. It was not long before I spent more time instructing fitness or leadership development than engineering. So much demand I was fortunate to have a concurrent civilian career whilst dropping in and out of regular Army service.

SM parkrun 12 May 18

My final full time appointment in the Army was in project management for the wounded, injured and sick in a Recovery Unit. One of the challenging descriptions of success and failure I read about is in “The Anatomy of a Soldier by Harry Parker”. Reading the story of BA5799 felt very real and taught me many things; another blog sometime, maybe.

After 43-years of fitness training I weigh in at 10stone 3lb. In terms of bodybuilding a complete failure but healthier than I’ve ever been; physically and mentally. And have elevated my sporting prowess as a runner impressively to average over distances from 1-mile to ultra.

Some of my more epic failures are relationships. In reflection I have spent time with a significant number of others but can only remember ending a relationship on 3-occasions.

I’m not sure on why but suspect I provide a rich cocktail of irritation; socialising only when absolutely necessary, preferring to be active outdoors, at work or studying. Not having a good tolerance for alcohol and even less for fizzy drinks I rarely spend any time in public houses. I have always preferred home cooking and complimented that I am quite proficient; not fancy but nutritious natural foods. The kitchen is my domain and not good at sharing the space, leaving crumbs or not washing up IMO should a capital offence. Compulsive cleaning and intolerant of untidiness or perceived germs. When I asked my children if they would like me to tidy their room it sent them into a frenzy. My cleaning was to collect everything left out and bin it; no exceptions. Unsurprisingly all my children wanted to remain with their mum when she left me after 14-years.

History repeated itself when my second wife couldn’t bare spending any more time living with me at that magic 14-year point. Now separated just me and my ex’s dog and living exactly how I enjoy; alone and my way. I’m finally comfortable with being awkward and sometimes difficult or perhaps eccentric. Despite this I selfishly and sincerely wish the healthiest and happiest life possible for all who I come into contact with.

Next time selfish or selfless. Until then I leave you with quote by George Bernard Shaw “A life spent making honest mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing”.


Trevor Rawson is a self-employed Health Coach enjoying life in Norfolk. He has lots of bits of paper, awards and accolades. More importantly he uses his broad range of experience to support people towards improving their mental and physical health by activity and nutrition. Having used his own methodology to overcome General Anxiety Disorder and Depression he is pleased to share his unique story.

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