Friday, March 7, 2014

Palpable Fear

I'm half way through marathon training.

This weekend, I'm staring down my longest run to date...17 miles...and it feels well, unbelievable, as in, I can't believe that I'm going to do it.

Throughout this process I never would have guessed that the greatest demon I'd be wrestling with is my own fear.  I was certain that it would be an assorted injury...plantar fasciitis, shin splits, IT band troubles, aching calves, exhaustion, fatigue.  And, I suppose I should knock on wood because on any day, any of those issues could turn into my new plight.

But for now, my greatest enemy is me. 

At the start of the year, I decided that my New Year's resolution would be the mantra, "Fuck fear." I would stare fear in the eyes and not quake or be consumed, but rather I would consume it and move forward living my life.

But that's the funny thing about an enemy as powerful as fear...once it knows that you intend to own it, it puts up one hell of a fight.

And by fight, I mean that it crops up at the most unpredictable and surprising times.  It won't just be the usual, getting the shoes laced up and heading out to pound the, it will happen in the shower or when I'm talking to a friend and someone says, "That's so inspiring what you're doing.  I can't even imagine running a marathon."  And I think, shit...neither can I...And then it does happen on the training runs when two or three miles from completion, a side stitch comes on, the north wind howls, and I'm certain that this is bull shit and why would anyone in their right mind, do this.  Or my favorite is when I'm running past a commercial building with reflective glass windows and catch a glimpse of myself and it's not pretty at all.  Huffing, puffing, red in the face, moving at a snail's pace...nothing at all like the hot Lululemon girls or the bad ass Nike ads...just me.

And then the fear becomes tangible, palpable, real, hard core and unforgiving.

And suddenly, I'm alone.  Really, really alone.

So what in the fuck am I going to do?

Well, I've decided that instead of beating it, I'm going to try to respect it.  Because for better or for worse, fear has done a lot for me in my life.  At the 11th hour, it's pushed me toward accomplishing things that I didn't know I could and am still unsure of how they got done.

Instead of strangling it, I think I'll run alongside it and call out when the going gets rough.

I think I'll take it one run at a time trusting that like every other force in the world, fear has its place as do I.  I'm praying that we can coexist together, one step at a time.

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