Thursday, November 4, 2010

Letting Go

When I wrote in last year’s NYC Marathon recap how I almost threw away my watch, rather than wearing it for the race, people thought I was crazy. Would it really have been a big deal to wear an extra watch, weighing less than a pound, throughout the race? Later in the race, I came close to throwing away my empty belt rather than wearing it for the last few miles. It felt impossibly heavy.

A quarter of an ounce does not seem like a lot. Neither does three ounces. So why are running-shoe companies always trying to produce a lighter product? Carry around anything for 26.2 miles and it starts to feel like a burden. You might not be able to quantify it, but every bit makes a difference.

What do you do when you can’t get rid of something heavy? When you can’t just deposit it in a trash can by the side of the road? What happens when the extra weight is inside of you? When it’s not the kind of weight that can be lost by better eating or through exercise? What then?

Fear can be a powerful motivator. It can be the thing that spurs you on to push yourself that much farther. Without my fear of failure, of not reaching some self imposed time in a race, I would not train as hard. There are times when the only thing that gets me out of bed to run, is the fact that I am scared of “failing”.

And yet.

What if there is another way? What if I could somehow replace my fear, a fear that sometimes crushes rather than pushes me, with something better, something healthier? What would it feel like to cross the line in a time I have never before achieved, and wait more than ten minutes before asking myself “what’s next”? Would I run faster? Would I enjoy my running that much more? Would I feel calm during the days leading up to the race? What if I let the fear go? Can I let the fear go?

PLEASE donate in my mom’s memory to help children with cancer:

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