A Little Dose of Rejection

Rejection hurts. You can’t help but take it personally. It encourages all these negatives thoughts and doubts about what you might have done wrong and what you could have done better. Even yesterday when I experienced a rejection along with nearly 65,000 other people, it still stung.

I can’t even exactly call it rejection, yet the resonating effects are similar. Yesterday, I found out that I did not get accepted into the New York City Marathon. My first marathon entry of the year, New York represented the chance to run with 50,000 people through the city’s boroughs and along the Brooklyn Bridge. Reliving the days of college acceptances, when any email alert made me nervous, I spent yesterday wondering when I would hear confirmation of my acceptance. My finger seemed to live on the F5 button on my keyboard as I refreshed the New York Road Runners page to see if a change had been made in my account’s “Upcoming Races” box. Never can I remember a time when I was so anxious to see money charged to my credit card account. In spite of good news that 18 percent of lottery registrants would be selected, up from 12 percent in the previous year, my entry was not among the lucky percentage.

Like an ex boyfriend trying to explain “it’s not you, it’s me,” the New York Marathon email attempted to lessen the heartache of the rejection with apologetic language. “We’re very sorry, but you were not selected through our entry drawing.” I appreciate the apology, but it still hurts to be told you are being passed along. 

So with all rejections, you need to have a few days to be angry and reflective, and then it’s time to move on and remember the important lesson I wear on a charm bracelet around my wrist: “Everything happens for a reason.” While running the largest marathon in the U.S. remains on my running bucket list, it actually was not my top choice for my second marathon. The Chicago Marathon, set for mid-October, remains my number one pick. Since the NY lottery went live first, I entered my name into the ring, but perhaps my rejection is a sign of bigger and better things to come.

But even before notices about entry into Chicago are sent out, I still have the opportunity to run the Marine Corps Marathon for a second time. Though my preference is for new course in a new city, MCM has home field advantage since I can train on the course and have the benefit of a cheering squad already in the area ready to see me run past them.

Each of these marathons are among the biggest in the country, so they rely on lotteries to fill their running classes. As a result, there is no guarantee for participation (unless one commits to fundraising on behalf on a charity). Fortunately, even if my luck runs thin, I still have the chance to run nearby and beloved races, including the Baltimore and Richmond marathons.

In spite of the disappointment from not getting into New York, the waiting game reinforced my passion and commitment to running another marathon. Though I don’t know where that might be yet, I will run 26.2 miles somewhere in 2015.