I spent a good part of my afternoon staring at my computer screen reading the words “registration is now open.” I have been asked—and I use that term loosely because it’s more like pushed—to participate in the Walt Disney Half Marathon being held in early January 2011. I am not an athlete. Matter of fact, I am not even an aspiring athlete. I have very few competitive bones in my body and the ones I do have appear to be the ones beaten down three days a week when I attend a boot camp class. Which is really how this whole insanity began.
For some reason, my fearless boot camp leader thinks that I can do this and she’s smart enough to know that in order to get me motivated, she needed to turn this 13.1 miles of agony into a fun-filled girls weekend. We spend a lot of time talking about the trip down to Florida, picking up our race goody bags, riding theme park rides and enjoying a spa and cocktail post-race. We don’t spend a lot of time talking about the training, the waking up at 4:30 AM on race day, and the mere fact that I have to somehow run 13.1 miles. As my good friend Robyn stated, “The rules are you have to finish each mile in 16 minutes or less. Sixteen minutes! That’s like a stroll in the park even for your short, little legs.” Point taken. But still, here I sit staring at the computer screen afraid to click any further than the home page.
What is it about challenges such as this that make me freeze? I’m not really afraid of failing. In fact, I sort of envision myself dipping below the 16-minute pace around mile 5 just so race organizers have to pick me up in an air conditioned vehicle and drive me to the finish line. I think I’m more afraid of trying—of committing myself to something that I already know will be hard both physically and mentally. Which is why I can’t seem to press the final button on the online registration form.
For me, this is the real beginning of my half marathon training—getting myself mentally prepared to take a gigantic leap of faith that I can not only do the task, but enjoy the accomplishment.