Before the race even begins, the finish line beckons. The mind stirs up a tumultuous chorus of doubts and fears. Racing is not only a physical journey, it is a mental one as well—one that involves battling self-doubt, comparison, imposter syndrome, and the looming fear of failure.
Running is 100% Mental:
The mind, in its complexity, often preempts the race. Before the starting gun even sounds, it can become a battlefield where self-doubt sabotages confidence. The relentless game of comparison sets in as we cast furtive glances at fellow runners, assessing our capabilities against theirs. Imposter syndrome whispers insidiously, breeding insecurity, and questioning our place among the others.
The finish line, once a beacon of triumph, transforms into a daunting hurdle. Yet, within this chaos lies an opportunity for growth, resilience, and self-discovery. It's a journey that extends beyond the physical realm—a path paved with psychological challenges demanding confrontation and conquest.
The Secret to getting ahead is Getting Started:
I have too many DNS (did not start) stamps on my name for my liking. Flash to me prepping for the race the night before then laying in bed all night tossing and turning saying things to myself I wouldn’t say to my worst enemy. How did I turn my DNS into a WIN?
Overcoming these fears takes a lot of strategies. For one, therapy becomes a sanctuary—a space where unraveling these fears, understanding their roots, and developing coping mechanisms becomes possible. Friendships emerge as pillars of support, offering encouragement and camaraderie that bolster resolve. Vulnerability, often misconstrued as weakness, emerges as an armor—embracing it fosters authentic connections and strengthens resilience.
Change brings Opportunity:
Due to changing jobs, I lost my access to therapy…my sanctuary. It took me years to find my therapist and she, without a doubt, changed my life for the better. She would always ask me, “What is the next challenge, Lauren?” I had to start asking myself that question while remembering everything that I learned along the way.
Accepting change becomes pivotal—a shift in perspective that transforms failure from a dreaded outcome to a stepping stone. It ceases to be a dead-end but rather a detour leading to lessons and growth. Viewing failure as an integral part of the finish line narrative reframes the race—it becomes a journey where setbacks and triumphs intertwine, painting a richer, more nuanced picture of success.
A goal is a Dream with a Finish Line:
Who doesn’t love an epic race story? We don’t want to hear “I ran a race, it was perfect, and scene!” We want to hear about the struggle up the hill at mile 16…the person running with the support of friends….the guy you saw hurling his brains out at mile 26.2 as the race ended…we want the memories.
Ultimately, the journey toward conquering these fears transcends the finish line. It's a transformational process where the self evolves, nurtured by every stride taken to face these fears head-on. Therapy doesn’t just heal wounds but equips them with tools to navigate challenges. Friendship isn’t just companionship but a lifeline during turbulent times. Vulnerability isn’t a weakness but a testament to courage and authenticity.
Set goals Beyond reach:
I am running a half marathon every month this year as a goal for myself to practice my mindfulness. I ran the first one on New Year’s Day. It was the first time, in such a long time…maybe ever, that I just ran for fun in a race. I didn’t care about my time or the people passing me. I took pictures of the trains on the trail for my dad (who loves trains), I had a quick conversation with someone at the aid station, I walked the hills, and I smiled almost the entire time (the hill at mile 12.5 excluded!) I ran from my heart which is a much better place than fear.
In the end, these experiences, these fears confronted and conquered, serve as invaluable guides. They shape the person we become every single day—a testament to our resilience, adaptability, and strength. Running and racing is a gift.
Embrace the finish line, for it is not just an end but a beginning—a threshold to the person you are destined to be. I’ll see you at the finish line!!