It’s no secret. Racing scares the heck out of me. I have never been the weekend warrior who races every local 5k just for the heck of it. I quit cross-country my senior year of high school because I could no longer deal with the anxiety. Racing is painful (if you’re doing it right). Sometimes it’s even heartbreaking. So what’s the allure? Racing is also what allows you to truly challenge yourself with the hopes that you will get a glimpse of your true potential.
My problem with racing has always been more internal than external. I put too much weight on what a single effort “means” with regard to my fitness (or goals). For example, if I have a crappy 5k, I let that define me. I let it get in my head. All of the sudden everything that I’ve done leading up to that point no longer matters. It’s a bad mindset.
My personal challenge this year has been to race more. So far I’ve managed a 5k (2 weeks ago) and this weekend I am running an 8k (first one in 5 years). Each distance is much shorter than what I typically race (I have run more marathons than any other distance) so people question why I get nervous when I know I can do it. To me, there is no question about accomplishing the distance – the fear is in the pain. The fear is in the potential failure. The fear is in the potential success.
I am practicing choosing faith over fear. Faith in God and knowing that whatever will happen will happen and is outside of my control. Faith in the process and knowing that I have trained and my body is capable. Faith in the fact that no amount of worry, anxiety, or thinking about what can or will happen will change anything.
Cast your fear in the fire, ‘Cause fear he is a liar — Zach Williams from Chain Breaker