Running Over My Fear

When you talk with other runners, it seems they are always planning to run a marathon, or they just ran a marathon, or they dream of running one. For all the running I’ve done, I have never had any desire to run a race, not even a 3k. It turns running into things that are not my aim in running

  • It makes it about achievement
  • It makes it about a goal versus a habit
  • It looks like chaos. How can there be enough bathrooms for so many people?

You can’t live in Atlanta and not be aware of the Peachtree Road Race. What started as 150 runners fifty years ago is now 65 thousand runners all sweating down Peachtree Road in the morning heat of July 4th.

You can’t live in Atlanta and not be aware of the Peachtree Road Race. So, when I had yet another conversation with someone about their next marathon, I was not surprised when the upcoming Road Race entered the conversation.

I was ready with my disclaimers: “I run, but I’m not a Runner.” And “Races are not my thing.”

This Runner was different and this running-in-races conversation did not go the usual way. All that rigamarole was not necessary, he opined. Why register? Why not just start in the middle and run as far as you feel like running? In fact, he had done just that before.

The question pestered me.

The next few days I thought about it. The more I thought about it, the more it intrigued me. Why not? Fear. The truth was I was afraid of being among Runners.

The day of the race came and I was there with my running shoes laced up. For the first time ever, I merged into the race. And I ran.

I joined the middle of the race just because I knew I was afraid. On this race day, I merged into my fear.

On Independence Day, I let the chaos and unpredictability of the race flow around me.

Just running next to another runner.

The truth is I have wanted to protect myself, to make the right, logical decisions, to be in control. In the uncertainty of my current life, I have wanted so much to know the beginning and the end.

The truth is I have wanted to protect myself, to make the right, logical decisions, to be in control.

As I ran, I left my fear behind and let myself just enjoy the scariest place of all — the middle of the race, with no real beginning and no end. Just a moment of freedom.

Happy freedom. Happy independence. Happy racing.

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