You would think after running a few 5K’s and three half marathons that running a race would no longer make me nervous. However, every race I have ever run has always and will always be preceded by nerves. It is not something I am embarrassed about, nor does it speak of my abilities to run a race. In fact, I am proud that every race makes me nervous.
For me there is always an inherent fear that sits dormant until the reality of the race sets in. Butterflies always mount in my stomach about a couple of days before a race. It usually starts when I begin to imagine myself crossing the finish line. A gradual fear sets in because there is always a possibility that I may not run to the best of my ability. I often say, “Always start to finish. Never finish with regret.” It is the “Never finish with regret” part that I always worry about. I have never regretted any of my finishes, but I worry that one day I will. Who wants to look back and say, “I should have run faster or harder, because I could have.” When I run I try and do it with every fiber of my being. I attempt to put every part of me that I can into each race. Perhaps it’s too much pressure to put on myself, but I am never looking to just finish what I start. I want to finish to the best of my ability and exceed my own expectations.
All of the fear and nervousness usually remains with me until I am standing at the starting line of a race. At that point it dissipates and suddenly everything grows quiet. A sense of euphoria enraptures me and all the nervousness morphs into a ball of energy. That energy eventually fuels me to finish every race strong. Thus, I am always grateful for my bouts of nervousness before a race, because all it does is prove that I always want to do my best. Running isn’t just about overcoming fears; it’s about using your fears to make you stronger.