It’s only a 5k. The millions of articles, advice columns and pages dedicated to racing hardly pertain to a simple 5k. After all, it’s only a 5k right? Then why am I so anxious? As I watch the clock tick down the final hour before I have to head out, my stomach is getting the familiar butterflies. I’m not worried that I can’t do it. I run longer than that almost every morning–most of the time on the trails. I’ve run the loop (3.1 miles perfectly) several times without any issue. So why am I so nervous?
Because I haven’t run against other people since high school track. And I sucked. Perhaps my subconscious is thinking “oh god, here we go again…how many times around that stupid track??” I know I’ll have a great time. I know I’ll love it. The route is nice, fairly flat, familiar and it won’t be scorching hot. There’s even a chance for rain! But the competition is making me a bit nervous, bringing back feelings of inadequacy and failure I’d been able to suppress for decades. Maybe, just for that reason, this will be the hardest race for me. Running not only against other people, but the memories of who I once was.
But today, all those ill thoughts, the doubt, the stress, the low self esteem will disappear, just like in this video. It’s the best way to describe how running makes you feel…and I will be envisioning it happening to me today!