“Do one thing every day that scares you”
I started running at the ripe old age of 34 as a way to create focus in my life when everything was chaos around me. Because I started a little on the late side, I had many assumptions: I was never going to be fast, I was never going to win a prize and most importantly, I was never going to run a marathon.
There are some things that remain true for me as I approach 38 years. I am definitely not fast and winning prizes has never been my focus. However, this year (2017), I will be running my first marathon. I remember finishing my first half-marathon and thinking “This is it, I did it. And I never have to do it again!” I remember training for my 2nd half-marathon and people asking me “Would you ever do a marathon?” My response was always, “No way! That is not what I am doing this for.” I couldn’t even imagine it. Running a half put my body through so much, why would I then run another 13.1 miles? Right after? What if I got a cramp? What if I had to go to the bathroom? What if I just wanted to quit? What if……
A little over a year ago, I joined a running club. It was strange for me because I am not really a runner, but everyone in the group was so supportive I couldn’t help but be a part of it. A lot of these people run long distances. A lot of them run marathons. Some of them have started to have marathon trips…and that is kind of how I happened to be running in the Chicago marathon. It’s FOMO (fear of missing out) gone mad. Friends were signing up left and right for this race and my head was filled with thoughts of how they were all going to have this amazing time in an amazing city. They were all going to be able to train together and support each other. If I ran my first marathon, it would be nice to have all that…and so then it happened. I wanted in so bad that I didn’t even want to take a chance on the lottery and signed up with a charity where I could get a guaranteed entry. Fees were paid, an Air B&B was secured with a friend, money was raised…there really is no turning back now.
My feelings go from this fantasy of running through the Chicago streets, smiling and soaking it all in to this feeling of absolute terror, wondering “What did I get myself into? I can’t run a marathon!” Some days I’m really scared and picture it will be some anxiety dream where I wake up on marathon morning and I forgot to train. I have to remind myself it’s good to do something that takes you out of your comfort zone, something that terrifies you. It will make crossing that finish line that much more meaningful. And to have the opportunity to run a marathon in a major city with so many friends there for support – well what should really scare me is not being able to run it.
So this is it, I start my journey at the beginning of 2017. The race will be run the beginning of October. The real marathon training won’t technically begin until June, but physical and mental preparation begin now. This blog will be my motivation coach, my therapist and my reminder of where I was before I became a marathoner. Join me as I do the unthinkable, all in the name of peer pressure.