I am the Cowardly Lion of running. There, I said it. This is neither breaking news nor a surprise, but like most character flaws, hard to admit to yourself and others.
Even before surgery, I avoided racing (and speed work) because it was more comfortable to not know how fast (or slow) I was, an extension of the “if a tree falls in the forest” logic. After surgery, I’ve used recovery as a crutch. My surgery was on April 7th. I started running again in earnest in September. It’s now December and I’m still jogging along. Part of that is that I am still in some pain. A bigger part of that is that I’m afraid to find out what happens when I start pushing it again.
What if I never run fast again? What if I never reach my goals in the marathon? What if I never PR? Alternatively, what if I am recovered and ready to run fast in Boston? Am I ready to plunge back into training, putting hours a day into running?
In deciding to run this half marathon next weekend, I find myself panicked. I recognize the need to push myself and the benefit of assessing my current speed. But what if I fail? I’ve had a few quality workouts in the past couple of weeks. I comfortably held estimated race pace for 4 miles on the treadmill. I ran a set of three minute 800s and am still walking. I slogged through 14 miles in snow and wind (okay, not quality, but a good character builder). Still, I am not prepared to confront the truth revealed by a real-life race.
The bigger question is, who cares? I assume that people will not like me less if I don’t have a great race. I would guess that the readership of this blog (which, from the Google Stats, is alarmingly high) won’t decrease if I blow up. So who does care? At the end of the day, it’s probably only me. In all honesty, I’m never happy after a race even if it does go well. I am notorious for finishing a race and shrugging off congratulations with a litany of things I could have done differently.
So, how do you find courage? How do you push through doubt to give it a try? What confidence builders get you to the starting line?