I was reading the blog of a new friend and it got me to thinking about sharing one of my fears – racing. What? Racing, mind you, not running. Is there a difference? How do I plan to ever run that half-marathon if I’m afraid to race? Let me explain.
Started with the treadmill. I started actually running on a treadmill. The view in front of me was always the same, the front of the employee’s gym and the television on the wall. It wasn’t scary. I was safe in my closed in-box. No one would see how long or far I ran. It was a truly controlled, comfort zone.
The first time I raced, the Disney Family 5K was my first venture outdoors. I know, I know – a shocker. Faced with this wide open space, I remember being paralyzed with fear that there was a whole running world out there. So many confident, looking runners!
Once we returned, I finally made the move to run outdoors in the parking lot next to the government building. Running was a little scary even then, not race scary, just kind of scary. While hundreds of other runners ran along the pathway by the road, I stuck to the parking lot; another attempt to contain my view. After that, I finally found the courage to locate an outdoor track. It’s been fun, I’m use to this track and it’s frequent visitors – some walking, some running, even roller-blading. It can be a little intimidating with the wall gone. The far end of the track sometimes seems so far away. But, what about races? Now, those ARE scary!
The difference between a race and a run is….I’m sure no one cares but me. I know it’s all in my mind, in fact, no one probably cares how I do in a race except for me, but it gets me to thinking. What if it’s too hot out and I can’t race. What if I come in last? What if I get tired? What if…? A run is relaxed. I push myself when I want; I stop when I feel that I’ve pushed myself enough. A run has no pressure. I think the race scariness comes from the pressure of competition. I’m usually fine and excited about the race until I get to the start line, then my nerves take over and instead of saying, “Yes I can, it’s just like practice.” My first thought is, “Oh, no it’s 3.1 miles.” Look at the big, huge world between me and the finish line!
I guess the bottom line is that it’s fear of failure. It’s knowing that no matter how much I train, I will look out at the vast space beyond the start line and think “oh, heck…what am I doing?” What I’m hoping is that each time it gets easier, not just the “running the race” part, but the nerves that will one day say, “YES, I CAN DO THIS!”