Getting out of your comfort zone and facing intimidation


I have to be honest with you about something.  Although my 10k was a great experience and I will do it again it was very outside of my comfort zone.  When I got there I was by myself, there were other people arriving and I was able to figure out where I needed to go, but I knew no one.  The feeling I got when I got there was mixed with fear, doubt, loneliness and intimidation.  I train alone and it’s really not a big deal to me to run alone.  The difference was that when I run alone I am truly physically alone and at the race I was lonely in the middle of crowd.  I also know that when I set out with a goal on distance I will and can do it as long as I don’t talk myself out of it.  I don’t find that intimidating, but this really new thing, it was massively intimidating.

I kept looking at the people around me that had friends/family and running buddies, it made me lonely.  I thought to myself “what the heck are you doing here”?  I went through thinking maybe I was crazy for thinking I could do this and all kinds of other irrational thoughts.  I truly almost got so nervous and let my old friend FEAR come back in and send me home.  It was the humiliation of not following through or letting fear beat me that kept me there that morning.
I will tell you what I did to try and help myself out so I didn’t feel so intimidated or alone.  I watched the people around me and just tried to blend in.  I saw a few people running through the parking lot for a bit to warm up, so I did that.  I was afraid of using up my fuel too much so I just did a tiny bit of running and thought that mostly it was to calm my nerves and keep busy.  I stretched doing some static and some dynamic movements to try and loosen up. I grabbed some water and started sipping it a little bit knowing if I took in just the wrong amount my belly would slosh and I would have to pee (they don’t stop the timer for peeing even though I do on my runs alone).
I am so glad that I had this experience because it was a peek into what it will be like for the half marathon, minus several thousand people.  It pushed me out of my usual comfort zone and was definitely a new experience for me.  I had to pull on some courage and strength of mind to not walk out and to finish it.
 I wish I had someone to run with, I think it would help to calm me and encourage me if nothing else.  Reality is I am in a large city with limited amounts of friends and none of them run or they don’t run anymore.  So it is what it is for me and I will be a lonely runner in a large crowd until or unless I put myself out there to connect with others.  I will try and pick out someone to pace myself with whether they know it or not and will hopefully be distracted by the crowds and excitement.  Also hopefully my phone will be working so I can call and celebrate with family and friends when I finish.

I managed to get a photo from the dead phone!
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