An Open Letter To My Nemesis: Fear

Dear Fear:

Since I signed up for the 10K and the half marathon, I have been running regularly two-three times per week (yay!), which is more than I’ve run in several weeks months. But I have also been FREAKING OUT. What have I done???? Who do I think I am? I can’t run a half marathon. I’m not a runner. I’m certainly not an athlete. AAAHHHHH!!!!! What makes me think that I, lowly couch potato-like human, can actually follow through and run 13.1 miles? I’m too old, too weak, too lazy, too _____.

And then…I took a breath and I got over myself.

I banish thee foul thoughts! And while it is true I cannot run a half marathon at this time, that’s why I have a training plan. Can I do the training run scheduled for today? Why yes I can. So does that make me a runner? Why yes it does. Does it make me an athlete? Welp, we’ll have to wait and see. I want to think so. If only being an athlete was just a state of mind…

As for the foul thoughts about my age, my strength, and my willpower…I can’t do anything about my age. I’ll be 44 when I step into the corral to run the half marathon in October. I could quit, give up, not bother to try because I think I’m too old. But I am running now (at 43 and 3/4), and there are lots of people a lot older than I who run marathons and ultras and all kinds of things. I did not see an age limit listed when I signed up for the race, and I know I won’t be oldest person there. There was no box to check that said “If you are over the age of 43 and 3/4 then go sit on your couch because you are TOO OLD”. They wanted my credit card info mostly. And another thing…if I chicken out now that will make me even older when I summon up the courage to try again. As for the strength and willpower…those are skills. I am improving – getting stronger both mentally and physically. I’m working on the willpower not to eat an entire pizza in one sitting, for instance. Then BOOM! Look at me! I am kicking ass and taking names.

So, Fear, this letter is part thank you for the gift of being afraid and part middle finger because I will not bow down to you. I believe that this insecurity, this anxiety, this temporary freak-out will only help me. I am not paralyzed with fear of failure (or success?) I am motivated by it. I have to focus on the mile I am running, not on the whole. I can do that. And maybe stick to two slices of pizza.

run the mile

So thank you Fear, but with all due respect go eff youself. I gotta run.

Karen

 

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