Fearing Our First Full Marathon

Posted on November 8, 2011


We finished our last long run on Sunday and I can’t say that we feel any more confident about running our first full marathon than the day we signed up.  I know that we will never really feel ready, but we at least want to feel some sense of confidence, even if it’s miniscule.  There’s an inherent fear that often sits dormant until the week before a race.  Actually, I think the fear presents itself many times during training, especially before long runs.  There are times we question ourselves and our abilities.  But, then we finish and realize we were much stronger than we thought.  Sometimes I wonder if we may be drawn to the fear, or the rush it can provide if we overcome it.

Our decision to train for a full marathon didn’t come easily.  It took our first run outside to believe that we actually had the ability to run somewhere other than in a gym on a treadmill.  It took running four 5K’s for us to believe that running a half marathon was possible.   And, it took running three half marathons for us to finally gain confidence to sign up for a full marathon.  In all, it was a series of steps to get us to this point.  Each race began with fear and each ended with us overcoming that fear.  It suddenly became this sort of natural high.  We began to realize that we were capable of anything.  It didn’t mean that all of our fears completely vanished.  It just meant that facing our fears was possible and that we could actually overcome them.

There’s a large amount of anxiety that comes before every race.  In this final week many questions loom about our ability to actually run a full marathon.  But, when I really stand back and try to shut off the noise I realize that at least we are trying to do something we once thought was impossible.  It fills me with an immense amount of joy and satisfaction.  Before we began training neither of us had ever run more than 13.1 miles.  Now, we have run 14, 15, 17, and 21 miles on our own.  It may not mean much to a lot of people, but it means a lot to us.  At one time we feared those distances, but now those fears are absent.

On Sunday, if we’re standing at that starting line of our first full marathon then I think we have conquered our fear of attempting to run a full marathon.  On second thought, I think we conquered that fear the second we signed up.  Half the battle was making ourselves believe we were strong enough to do it.  I guess it remains to be seen if we are strong enough to finish.  At this point, I am just so proud that we are even trying.  Fear can often hold you down, that’s why it’s important to use it to build you up.