I spent Halloween this year at my family’s house in Maine. I was mentally prepping for a 13.1 the next week that I had no hope of being physically prepared for. Sitting by the fire after the kids went to bed, I took a quick and first look at the trail map. (Confession: I am not a “planner.” I will always look at the course map at the last possible moment, if at all. I will also put in an address on the GPS only after getting lost, buy my Christmas presents on Christmas Eve, and start cooking for a dinner party as guests are arriving.)
Upon this first perusal of the course, I realized that I was going to be running UP A MOUNTAIN. Up. A. Damn. Mountain. And I still had a bad chest cold, and there was a 1,000ft elevation change at mile 5. Yessss, I wheezed at myself, I am going to die on a mountain in Maine. On top of that, I didn’t have a babysitter for the kids (see previous discussion re: planning) and we were getting on a plane at 4am the morning after the race to fly the 4,000 miles back to Seattle.
I had a set of really solid reasons to not run that race.
I realized in that moment: I will always have an argument for not doing the things I want to do. I will always be able to look at what brings me joy and say, “Not today.” I will always be able to face a workout or a yoga class or a race that I know will make me happy and decide against it.
I ran the race. EMBARRASSINGLY SLOWLY. 30 minutes slower than my next slowest half run. I was passed by walkers. I was passed by people with insane running form. I was passed by children and the elderly. Turtles trotted by. Grass grew in the fields. Paint dried on nearby farmhouses. I ran on.
Universe! I yelled in my head at the top of a mountain overlooking a spectacular vista at mile 8, OK I GET IT NOW. I HAVE BEEN HUMBLED!
I’ve been thinking lately of fear, and of what internal monologues hem us in versus those that let us grow. I have found that listening to that voice of fear is actually very useful. Through fear, we can identify an opportunity to be better and to do better. Then we can let the fear go and do whatever the hell it is we want to do.
Go out there, have fun, and accept your inner failure. That’s how you find all the good stuff.
-Cassa aka The Run Beet