I can't be the only one in the world that gets discouraged from sub-par performance. I didn't think my goals were totally unreasonable.
I just find that everyone judges their own performance against themselves or others to a certain degree.
P.s. This thread isn't supposed to be about me.
You are not so then one has to examine why the sub par performance and is there a way around that. My first example was in 2013 I only was able to play five rounds of golf for a variety of reasons. My game fell apart but I still enjoyed tinkering with my swing and my clubs on the driving range. I did not want to frustrate myself to death with an 18 hole round at 4-4.5 hours of misery so I decided to see if the skills I had honed the range would transfer to the course. I found a course 5 minutes away and I was the first one out, by myself and was able to play 9 holes in a little over an hour. 5 minutes in my car and I was in my home office ready to go before 8:30 am. So I sucked at golf, worked out it because it was something I enjoyed doing and found a nice alternative. I now enjoy going to the range, playing nine holes more then doing 18. I can and have played very well on 18 so I sucked and then I did not. I also adjusted my expectations to account for my diminished abilities. I do suck compared to where I once was but I am working on mitigating the sucking so I can still enjoy the game. I do but I am fine with giving it up if there is more frustration then pleasure. I have a friend who plays 4 or 5 times a year but is on the driving range almost every day.
I ran a little over 21 K today and around 2.5 hours. It was a little uncomfortable near the end and although I am very stiff, I am not sure. I did start to run faster as I was attempting to do the last 6 K at a "decent" pace but then I decided, why? I am never going to run as fast as I could, maybe even not as fast as last year and I had just gotten use to how slow I was. Today I saw versions of me passing me as if I was standing still and there was some envy, some sadness but the second I picked up the pace, enough body parts warned me of the consequences of that and so I settled back into my jog. With today's results, I am now down to 2 or 3 potential races I may do this year or in the future where in exchange for sucking, I get to run in the mountains and with immediate support should something happen.
For me,especially after the toll 2014 took , I am discouraged but it is a darn good thing that I am. My mind, body and soul were all attempting to hint that I could still go out and do long runs and then suck at doing marathons by my subjective measure, that means slower then 4 hours but I was not having any fun or really getting anything out of it. I could not even justify the means to the ends because the ends meant nothing to me. So I started jogging and will not enter a conventional race.
Back to golf, I have always enjoyed tinkering with the swing but now ... I would buy a 100 bucket of balls and hit the range 3 or more times a week. Now, I will get 25 balls and if I am having a really bad and frustrating day, I will just leave. I will play first thing in the morning or if I play 18 holes, it is likely at a resort course, with my wife and I go mid week and off times for a better chance we will just play by ourselves. I suppose I am doing the same thing with running as what I was putting in terms of effort and pain did was not justified by the end result. So my focus is on jogging and races where I would have never competed for a podium when I was in my prime and I should be able to finish in the middle of the pack. And I am not too proud to say that if I really suck at that, in the old days I would have "punished" that performance with more hills, longer runs but now, I am going to take that as a sign to pack it in.
I have thought long and hard about this topic and I have concluded that I am too old for this sh*t but even more importantly, I have earned the break I am going to give myself. The blood, sweat and tears I have put into golf and running that what I have accomplished, I am now not to proud to give up. I could continue to run marathons but there is now literally nothing about the entire process I enjoy. So why do it? In my opinion, there is nothing wrong for you to say to yourself, I "suck" at swimming so no more lessons or organized swims or a triathlon but I enjoy it so I will go the free swims. But equally valid is I suck at it but enjoy the people and the races so if I am near the back of the pack, who cares? When I did the 50 K race last year, I saw some people who clearly were thinking that entering that marathon was the dumbest thing they had ever done and the second the race was over, they were going to burn their shoes. Hell, there were a few very fast people that could also apply to. But I also saw people who could care less what the clock had to say and they were having a ball. Having said that, I do appreciate the dilemma of once I could do this, I have adjusted my expectations and despite my best efforts, "failed". I was confident after crossing the 42.2 K line at Calgary during the 50 K race at 4:30 that will some good speed work and I could run faster, I could break 4 hours. At first that seemed realistic but with each passing week, I was barely holding onto what I had. I was convinced before the gun went off that 4:15 was realistic but 4:20 is something I might have to settle for. I finished 4:25 and wondered what the heck I was doing. It took me months to accept that my marathon career was over and maybe my entire race career. So I do feel your pain.