May 10, 2013

Fear, what is it exactly???

I have a tendency to be nervous about things, not just running things, but life things. The past week was exceptionally nerve-racking, and it made me reflect on my own nervousness. Saturday I worked the State Track Meet. Coach C went Friday with a group of athletes to help him with the javelin, and I was to do the same on Saturday. I picked up a few athletes on the way, and we arrived before our assigned time. We had a quick meeting with the paid officials and set to work once the event started. Of course, I didn't have my phone with me and on break realized I had SIX missed calls/texts from the AD. This was very odd, and I called him back immediately. Apparently, the person in charge of organizing the volunteers had called him saying that no one was supervising the "kids in the javelin area." I told him I was there and had been the whole time. So, the elderly man had mistaken me for a high schooler. HAHA! Furthermore, the AD wanted to meet with me that afternoon. Of course, this left me worrying the entire day about why the AD would want to speak to me on a Saturday when he's barely said 5 words to me the entire season. In my frantic brain, the only conclusion I could come to was that I was getting fired. True story that I had absolutely NOTHING to back this up with except that I knew Coach C probably wasn't a fan of mine. I also knew that we had not had a successful season in  general, and I wondered how much he'd been following our meets. (I did have Keith trying to back me down from my ledge reminding me of the ROCKING XC season we had.) So, I met the AD at the field house after a long day of coaching javelin. I won't divulge everything, but Coach C was in some serious trouble. He asked me some very explicit questions about our season and things that had happened with Coach C. And the truth came pouring out of me nonstop. You want to know reason #bazillion as to why some men think women don't make good coaches? Because they cry. Yep, I cried, and the big burly football coach had no idea what to do. I could tell he was at a crossroads of wanting to give me a hug, patting me on the back, or just rolling his eyes. Ha!

On top of having State testing all week, I got called into my principal's office Tuesday afternoon for a "meeting." I knew that last Friday two teachers had gotten their non-renewal notices. Needless to say, I was a basket case! I had never been "called in" to her office before, and in my head, this was the Doomsday's meeting. And... despite making me sit through about 10 hours of chit chat (more like 30 seconds), my job is safe. However, there will be some changes. I will be looping up with my kiddos (teaching nearly the same group next year). Yep, next year I will teach a 5th/6th grade combo class of inclusion (special needs) students. I will also be moving classrooms this summer. My fear must have been over nothing because my coworkers laughed at me when I told them I thought I was going to be fired.

Transition to my running life. Like I've mentioned in recent posts, I'm working hard on my running/racing brain. A few months ago, tomorrow's race loomed over me like a dark cloud. See, I am leading the Grand Prix for our running club, and tomorrow is the last race. Unfortunately, I already missed 2 of the races making it impossible for me to miss tomorrow and still win the series. Why so much anxiety of a measly 5K? It's a XC race. And I haven't run a XC race since college, and I have a thousand reasons why. These brain issues I've been experiencing lately? Well, I had similar problems in college- fear, racing anxiety, caving under pressure. In fact, I stressed myself so much in college that I had to redshirt my junior track season due to a bleeding stomach ulcer. The feeling I have about tomorrow's race is fear.

My recent self-reflection and attention to my brain while running has led me to a few points.

*My fear about tomorrow is completely unwarranted. I have NOTHING tied to this race that should scare me. I don't even need to PLACE to still win the Grand Prix. All I need to do is show up. I have very, very loose time goals tied to this race. Being that I 100% marathon training focused, I am using this race as a workout and will be running the course twice; therefore I not be totally "racing" it.

*My fear about tomorrow is based on past events, not present. I am not my college self; THANK YOU, GOD! I am smarter, more confident, wiser. I don't need running to prove that I'm an accomplished person. (This is something I struggled with significantly in the past.)

*I need to bring fun back into my racing. I need to love racing again. Being "right" in the head will lead to me meeting my running goals. I have proven myself time and time again in my training and only fall short in my racing (because I haven't gotten my head right).

I had a meeting with my WINGS family this week, and while making the drive back from Florida, I heard my college racing song. And no, I will not tell you my song. If you happen to know my song then you know that I trust you with every fiber of my soul. I listened to this song before My own OCD rules would not allow me to listen to this song ANY other time. If it came on the radio, I would change it. That particular night, I listened to the entire song and some pretty weird flashbacks.  I started to remember some things about racing that I haven't remembered in a LONG time- the smell of the grass, the pre-race drills, the bun-huggers, the stupid perma-HOLE I chewed in my bottom lip, the tears, yes TEARS, that I cried before and after races because of my complete lack of confidence and fear of failure. Those memories led me on my own personal running timeline- thinking about the marathons, the ultras, the 100 mile weeks, the dark mornings of training... then the PEOPLE I've met along the way- my future husband and my best friends. Oddly enough, I got kind of excited about tomorrow.

Run Happy, friends!


  1. My neighbor has a sticker on her suv that says "good happens".

    Furthermore, good people like yourself sometimes get the breaks they need.

    Go take back what's yours on the grass. Now I get to be proud of YOU!

  2. I'm glad Coach C is in trouble! Hopefully he gets fired and is never allowed to coach again. Anyway, yes- the speculation can drive us crazy. It's always best just to hold off on any kind of speculating-- you'll have the answers soon enough and you will deal with them when you get them. I think it's awesome that you are becoming more and more aware of these tendencies and trying to address them. I hope the race went well!