I made a decision today.
We all have that place. That place we hide the fear, the doubt, the insecurity. That place makes us so vulnerable we not only hide it from others, we hide it from ourselves. You know the place. It’s the place we call “deep down”. You’ve had this conversation. “Deep down I know I should have”, or “deep down, I knew if I tried a little harder…”. And the more frightening and dark the secret, the deeper down it hides.
Last year a world class marathoner from Kenya was invited to run in the Blue Nose Marathon. He finished his marathon before I finished my half marathon. To be fair, he had a ten minute head start. Yes, that’s a joke. Another gentleman who ran the marathon is running a marathon in every state and every province. They were both featured in the Halifax media. During interviews they both had a similar comment about the Blue Nose Marathon. That comment? I can’t remember their exact words, let me paraphrase, “holy crap that’s some major hills you have on your course”.
You see, I really wanted to make the Blue Nose marathon my first marathon. I didn’t. The general feeling around the community is that it’s a hard marathon to do for a first marathon. And for my first marathon I wanted to run at a nice easy pace and enjoy the experience. I didn’t want to come across the finish line completely exhausted, bonked, and broken. So I chose the Prince Edward Island Marathon. And I crossed the finish line completely exhausted, bonked, and broken. Oh, and in excruciating pain. I don’t know if PEI is as hilly as the Blue Nose. I know now it is very hilly. I started to struggle midway. I kept waiting for a nice down hill to recover, get a bit of break. Make up some speed. I mean it’s like PEI defies the laws of physics. It’s just up and up and up, but no down, down, down. Finally at 36k you start your descent down. It might have been my delirium but I think we went through some clouds on the descent down. Unfortunately by that time the downhill didn’t provide any relief. I did discover what a painful IT band feels like. Just another addition to the pain. After PEI my fear of hills only worsened.
My plan after PEI was to run the Blue Nose. But deep down I feared the Blue Nose. I told a lie to myself. And when you lie to yourself it becomes real regardless it’s a lie. That lie was the goal of surpassing my PEI time was mutually exclusive to my goal of running the Blue Nose. I hid this lie deep down. Safely hidden away in that dark frozen place deep down I could rationalize doing the Fredericton Marathon. You see, this is a flat route. I could surely best my previous PEI time. That was my rationalization, my lie, my dirty little secret.
It gnawed at me. Shut up deep down. Tracy often reminds me of my original goal. What it is deep down I want. Heck I’ve even thought of going to Ottawa to run my next marathon. A lot of friends are running their first one there, including Tracy. On all accounts it sounds like the perfect place to run a first. Ottawa would provide perfect cover for my lie, my deception, my misrepresentation, my shell game.
Ultimately, maybe, sort of, it was peer pressure. I just started training. And on the first night of training I stood in a room where other runners stood up confidently and without fear stated they would be running the Blue Nose as their first run. Deep down couldn’t hold my fear and doubts any more. Like dangerous criminals escaping prison those fears assembled in my heart and thoughts. They weren’t going back to their prison deep down.
I can’t lie to myself any more. I can’t lie to you anymore. I fear the Blue Nose. There’s only one course of action. Tackle the fear. Kick its butt. I will own it, it won’t own me.
Today I decided to run the Blue Nose.