The biggest fail of all...Monday, May 18, 2009
...is not bothering to try something out of fear of failing.
This past weekend I was all signed up and registered to run the Bluenose 5K. I felt pretty comfortable about doing well. I run almost every morning and generally do anywhere from 5-8K, depending on how many times I hit snooze, so the run would have been really easy for me. I had considered running the 10K and decided to practice up over the summer so I can run one with ease in the fall.
In the end, I didn't run the 5K. I was in the Valley for the weekend with H2B, which is a handy excuse. I could have easily come back to Halifax on Saturday evening or early Sunday morning without messing up our weekend away.
The truth was, I didn't feel like I'd be in the top placers in the 5K, and if I'm not convinced I'm going to do well I tend to not bother doing things at all.
The more I thought about the race, I imagined all the hardcore runners with all their elaborate running gear. The ones that time themselves and strive to beat a personal best every single day. The ones that are super competitive and can power through 5K in 16 minutes (like yesterday's first-place finisher did).
When I run I'm not out to beat any records. My average pace is about 9:30/mile. I like the fresh air, the quiet time outdoors and the little boost it gives me in the morning. I'm not competitive about it at all.
I'd be looking at a little under 30 minutes to complete the 5K. I thought about myself looking stupid in my baggy pink t-shirt and black yoga pants (no Running Room gear here) being the slowest runner and finishing with an embarrassing time compared to everyone else. I imaged crossing the finish line surrounded by four-year-olds and geriatrics. I could see my name on the results list waaaaay at the bottom. And rather than risk not being among "the best" I opted not to bother at all.
For the next race I register for, I have two options: train so much I'm practically guaranteed to win, or suck it up and participate regardless. I'm thinking option B makes the most sense.
When I was little I had tons of confidence--on the first day of swimming lessons, for example, I convinced the instructors that I could swim and got put into a much higher Red Cross level than I should have been in. "Everybody jump in!" the instructors told us, and I was the first one in the pool--eyes and mouth wide open, super pumped to be "swimming", because it looked so easy. Obviously I had to be hauled out of the pool by my bathing suit straps and ushered back down to the shallow end to join the Yellow group, feeling very deflated. Skating was the same thing. My parents make fun of me and talk about the first time I had skates on--I ran out onto the ice full speed thinking it would be a piece of cake. One very bruised toddler bum later I understood that I wasn't going to be good at everything on the first try...and that's when I started focusing on the things I knew I could do well and turning up my nose at challenging things.
These days, there's a little too much of that in my life. I know everything is a learning process and I'm too timid and hesitant as a result. I could use some more near-drowning experiences and ass bruises. What's the worst that can happen?