“Courage is not the absence of fear, it is the ability to act in the presence of fear.”
As I get closer to the big day, I am filled with feelings of excitement, fear and, my dear friend, doubt. Doubt, that loud voice in your head that says that you’re not good enough, that you could never possibly run a marathon, that you’re going to fail. Doubt. Fear. They are such annoying thoughts and feelings that can imprison us and keep us from going after what we really want – whether it’s the dream job, the dream guy, the dream school, etc. Like so many people, I’ve let fear of failure hold me back. When I was little, I chose not to play a musical instrument because my sister was so horrible at violin. I was afraid of failing at a musical instrument like my sister did, so I didn’t even try. As an adult, I’ve chosen not to apply for certain jobs because I figured that those companies wouldn’t hire someone like me. Allowing fear of failure and self doubt control you is incredibly limiting and unsatisfying.
Almost a year ago, I stumbled across a goal to overcome my self doubt and fear. I decided to run a marathon solely to keep myself motivated to go to the gym on a regular basis, but it’s become much more than that. Running is a simple, pure sport that forces people like me (the doubters and fearful ones) to confront their demons and perceived limitations. When I first started working toward this goal, I was enamored with the bigness of it. The impossibility of it. Throughout my training, I’ve had plenty of bad runs — the runs that make you think that running a marathon is stupid, the runs that are just painful and hard. And yet, I’ve kept running. I’ve kept running because I enjoy what it’s brought to my life, and I enjoy working toward this really big, seemingly impossible goal.
So, with just a few days left and all the hard training done, I’m left with all this free time to worry and doubt myself. Have I trained hard enough? Did I log enough miles? Am I even in good enough shape to run a marathon? Do I look like a marathon runner? While these thoughts are overwhelming and scary, I’m trying to force myself to take comfort in the fact that I have worked hard, that I didn’t skip any key runs, and I’m going to do this thing – ready or not! Unlike in the past, I’m confronting my doubts and fears, and I’m running toward them.
I will also admit that I’m a bit bummed that this journey is almost over. I’ve worked hard to become a decent runner (aka I’m no longer embarrassed to run in public), and I’ve truly enjoyed sharing this experience with my dad. Not very many people are lucky enough to train for and run a marathon with their dad/mom.
Even though it’s going to be hard and likely very painful, my goal is to enjoy the entire marathon experience – the excitement and energy at the start line, the wounded soldiers (myself included) at miles 20-26.2, and seeing and crossing that finish line. My goal is to not zone out (which is why I’m not listening to my iPod) and to take in the entire marathon experience. I’m sure that there are more marathons in my future, but I want to honor the time and effort I’ve put into this one by appreciating not just the destination (although I know crossing that finish line is going to feel SWEET), but also all the moments and memories that will happen along the 26.2 mile journey.
Wish me luck!