During this training for Nanny Goat, I had several bouts of flu-like symptoms that kept me from training, but what finally did me in was a knee injury that kept me from training at all for almost a month. Stuff happens, but when you are training for an ultra marathon on your own, this "stuff" induces more fear, more feelings of inadequacy, and finally a possibility that the race may not happen at all. That is where I was, thinking of giving up on myself, when I saw Ed's call for a 100-Mile Hero.
And once I became one of the six runners on Ed's 100-Mile Dream Team I don't want to say that my fear went away, but I now feel as though I have the support needed to be successful. I will not quit. I will not give up on myself. In fact, I think a healthy dose of fear is good when I train, but I do need to keep that fear in balance.
What I mean by balancing the fear is that in my experience, I need to be a little scared so that I do not decide to get so complacent that I can talk myself out of doing the training necessary to be successful at the event. For example, for Ironman, I was so afraid of drowning that my fear propelled me to add extra swimming sessions so that I felt completely comfortable in the water. That extra time paid off because on race day not only did I survive the swim, but I was a full 30 minutes faster than what I had hoped. Fear had pushed me to take every training session seriously and prevented me from hitting snooze and skipping the workout altogether.
However, too much fear can cause you to doubt yourself, and there is no room for doubt when training for Ironman or the 100-Mile ultra marathon we are currently training for. This kind of fear can paralyze you and have you questioning the wisdom in even attempting such a lofty goal. This kind of fear has you looking to the end and thinking you will never get there. This kind of fear causes you to give up and quit because, "You would never have been able to achieve the goal anyway." This kind of self-talk is detrimental to the progress we need to make over the next five months as we prepare for the EC-100, and we need to remind ourselves daily that the road to the EC-100 might be challenging, but we can do this. We CAN be 100-Mile Heroes!
On our 0 to 100 Mile Hero in 200 Days page, Coach Ed addressed fear in Part I of his psychological training for our big day. I was inspired by many things he shared with us, but here are a couple of points I feel that can encourage anyone to push through the negative self-talk that fear produces:
- "Do the things that most you fear, you'll see the fears jest disappear." The Jester Coach Ed consistently tells us that if there is anything we hate about training (running in heat, at night, in rain) that we need to face that fear and train for those conditions so we are ready for any eventuality.
- The ABCs of the 100-mile race finish (or reaching any goal you set for yourself)-Conceive it. Believe it. Achieve it! Set a goal for yourself, believe you can not only train for the event but finish the event, and then get out there and get 'er done!
- Coach Ed also shared that having some fear is healthy but that we need to use that fear to move us forward so we can become fearsome!
So this week I am reflecting on my balance of fear and I am feeling pretty good. I am still fearful enough of October's EC-100 event, that when Coach Andy gives us the training plan, I am doing everything in my power to do my daily workouts. Also, after talking to Coach Ed, I am still going to compete in the Nanny Goat event, but instead of doing the 100-miler, I will drop down to the 24-hour race. That way I can experience the timeframe of the race between 10pm and 2am, because this part still scares me. I can usually hardly keep my eyes open at night after a full day of training and work, and I need to see how that feels in a true race situation. I will be practicing my pacing and walking at this event so I don't injure myself, but I will become more comfortable with something that still worries me about the 100-mile event.
I hope this blog inspires you to keep a healthy dose of fear. Remember to keep it balanced so you don't become overwhelmed but also so that you still respect the enormity of what you are hoping to accomplish. We CAN do this girls. Pretty soon we will ALL be able to call ourselves 100-Mile Heroes!
Below find a link to a video on a daughter that helps her mother to find joy in her cancer journey. She helps her mother to improve her attitude and reduce the fear that comes with everything cancer--very inspiring!
Daughter helps Mother Find Joy in Terminal Cancer