Be Not Afraid: Across the Years
If you can’t beat fear….just start scared.
Being afraid is a natural instinct. Its an evolutionary protection that that steers us away from dangerous situations.
I start each race with fear. At the beginning the fear is of the known. I’ve been at these races, and I very much know the world of hurt I’m about to put my body and mind through. I know I will face hardships, and I very clearly know that I may not make it to the finish line.
That fear dissipates when I get to put my feet to the course. It’s funny how, almost in revelation form, I let that feeling of fear grow into a feeling of gratitude. Incrementally, I begin to realize that I’m somewhere beautiful. I recognize that I am strong, and that my endless training has kept me competitive in this sport for over a decade. I learn to accept my here and now and, to deal with what is put in front of me.
I drop my effin excuses, and realize that is all fear is.
A few days after Christmas, I flew out to Arizona to take on Across the Years. It’s a one mile course in the desert. Well, in a series of ballparks that was built in the middle of the desert. I freely admit I self-imposed some fears. I had plans for big miles and feared not hitting them without support. I feared falling, as I had just had wrist surgery. I feared loneliness. I feared not having the proper gear. I feared being too hot...and too cold.
And, then I started running. It took no time at all for me to find the serenity in the course. To feel the power of my own feet moving me mile after mile. To feel that I was fearless, and could handle whatever came at me. I felt powerful...truly powerful.
I morphed my running goals, and I swear that I will take to my grave, my feeling of accomplishment from hitting over 100 on this course. I felt special and unique to be able to maintain times in a distance that breaks down bodies. I did not need to take one more step to feel like I am the one in charge, and that I alone determine my own destiny. And, that I can be fearless.
Fear is a monster whose only power is to keep one from starting. That is it. It can be slayed. It will return, and so what, it can be worked through. It is not a stop or an ending. I see it more like a comma. It can be a pause, but there is so much more to come if you just keep going.
All of those fears that stagnated me at the start...guess what...they happened....every single one of them. And, guess what, I was able to find a way through them. They did not stop me. I did not let them take my ability to start, and to start again, and to start once more, until I found a way.
I am grateful to my fears. I am thankful they make me pause and reassess. They give me opportunities to doubt my doubts. They allow me to believe I can find a way to run through them.