Fear and Lying in Nova Scotia

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.

The Next Chapter Begins

The winter and fall has seen some fantastic runs. Without the rigors or demands of a schedule you’re free to explore. Try new distances. Try new distances and different paces. Try some new snacks while running. Try running new routes and different times I had a small group of friends to do a sort of kind of schedule to keep our legs going before the marathon clinic starts. That was extremely rewarding to push some peers and to be pushed.

Learned some new things along the way. Some valuable lessons. First if you’re sick, just stay home. I don’t want to elaborate. I also learned I may be more able than I thought, and a bit of a wimp. Just a bit. I learned this at the end of a funsy 21.1 with my running buddy Paul. Near the end of the run he dropped the gauntlet and started to pull away. Boys will be boys. There was no way I was going let him get away. At the end of the run I had a new PB for 21.1 Had I been running alone I’m sure I would never of pushed at the end. It was the first time I pushed so hard so late into a long run. My legs didn’t fall off, my lungs didn’t come out my nose. Just sheer euphoria. A similar thing happened with Paul and Lisa, one of our resident elite runners and one of our coaches. Another incredible push from some great friends and runners that left me with that great feeling of exhaustion and euphoria.  And a new 14k PB and a 10K PB while doing the 14k.

Now the training starts again. I will be better equipped and feel more confident. I may finally be able to keep up with our esteemed leader and great mentor John, on one of our 10k tempos.

I find training for a marathon all consuming. Life starts to revolve around it. I’ve had people comment to me about not having a life. They couldn’t be more wrong. It forces me to be focused and organized. My mind clears. There is no background noise. At that discipline and hard work ethic starts to become part of every facet of life.

This weekend I started the process. Cleaned my condo. It’s clutter free and very clean. It will stay this way. Each night everything will be in its place before I lay my head down. Breakfast will be already made and in the fridge. My clothes will laid out the night before. My eating habits will improve dramatically. I will force myself to sleep better. Everything that makes life more efficient and easy helps keep me on track for training. I look forward to it. It’s here.

And at the end of it all I’ll run my second marathon. Not exactly sure which one yet. But my goal isn’t  to a run a marathon. My goal is to follow the process. To live and eat healthy. To surround myself with fantastic people who understand that feeling, that euphoria. To continue put pavement under my feet. To celebrate the victories of others. To be part of my community. To do what I love.

I reached my goal last year of running a marathon. My new goal is to never stop running marathons until the good Lord calls me home.