Being Scared

I remember not sleeping.

I remember packing and re-packing my gear bag about 1,000 times.

I remember worrying I wouldn’t be comfortable in my running gear — what if something went wrong?

I remember just being plain old scared because I was running my first marathon.

I had no idea if I could make it through 26.2 miles.

Sure, I had trained. Sure, I had put in the miles. But I had no idea what it meant to run 26.2 miles straight.

And, because I didn’t have context, I was scared.

That’s the thing about anything you’ve never done before — that’s what makes it scary in the first place — it is an unknown.

Now? I’ve run marathons. And triathlons. And half marathons. And a whole slew of things I didn’t know I could — or even wanted to do.

The common thread with them all isn’t the running. It is the fear. It is the terror that I would somehow let myself down. That I would give up on myself and not finish.

That is why fear can be crippling. It is not that you are afraid of what anyone else will say: It is about being afraid of giving up on yourself.

The thing I have learned over the miles (and years) is that I will never, ever give up on myself. Not because I am not in pain. Not because I am not tired, hungry, thirsty, or would rather walk after a mess of miles. None of those things will ever force me to give up.

Why?

Because the scariest thing in the world is to break your own heart.

You never have to break your own heart if you are just honest with yourself.

There will be pain.

There will always be something you could do better, or that you wanted to do differently.

But never give up. Especially on yourself.

Relentless forward motion: Even if you have no idea what mile you are on.

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One Comment

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  1. I have always looked at my runs, Ironman races, swims from Alcatraz, kayaking, river trips, mountain biking and trail runs as “adventure” and something I GET to do. I could care less of what others think about what I do and I do them for fun….hence I don’t get scared. Maybe a mindset change? Might help?

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