Every night, just as we climb into bed and get ready for sleep, Little Miss Bull Runner will look at me with her puppy dog eyes and whimper: “scared.” And, every single time, I’ll reassure her I’m right by her side, switch off the lights, and hug her until she dozes off into la la land.
We all have our fears. Little Miss TBR is afraid of having nightmares. My son is petrified of the dark. I sometimes worry about the future and my children’s future. Bottom line: many of us fear the unknown.
For runners, the unknown could churn out the following questions in our minds and keep us mortified for weeks on end: Can I finish 5k? Will I be able to do a 3:50 at Milo Marathon? Was my 50k long run enough to finish 102km at BDM? Will I come in last?
No one really knows the answer until you do cross that finish line and that terrifying unknown becomes reality. In the meantime, there’s nothing left to do but run.
Run your heart out in training. Climb those hills, give your all in that last lap on the track, and yes, hold up that plank position for the longest 10 seconds of your life. Remind yourself that running isn’t entirely about running; it includes cross training, proper nutrition, stretching, and rest. Do your homework…and then some. Be consistent. Stay committed to your dream.
The key is really to take hold of your fears, hide it beneath the soles of your running shoes, and take a leap of faith. Then, when judgement day comes, stand at the starting line with confidence in your work, pray that all things run smoothly from the weather to the water stations, and allow your body and mind to accomplish what they were trained to do.
Amby Burfoot said: “When it comes to staying motivated, running is a mind game.” If you start your training or your race telling yourself how scared you are, so you will be. But, if you think yourself strong, fast, and invincible, then you’ll cross that finish with arms raised high winning over your fears.
As my second husband, Lance Armstrong, always says: Livestrong. Truly, it is the only way to go whether you are running a race or living your life.