Thursday, January 26, 2012
Biting my nails
I am really nervous right now. I have been running for about 3 months. I started pretty casual at first...now I can get pretty "dog-gone" serious about it all. My longest distance so far is 8 miles and my average pace normally hovers around 10-11 minutes per mile depending on how I feel that day and/or how many jalapeños I ate with my dinner the night before. I typically run 2 days a week and my average "miles per week" add up to no more than 10. The rest of my exercise regime is spent playing tennis...my first love. Anyhow, I've signed up for my first race/run this weekend. It's a 5K, about 3.1 miles. Easy by my standards. I can run this distance in under 30 minutes if I'm really pushing myself. And yet I'm biting my nails. I'm very uptight about this race. What am I so afraid of? That I won't finish? That I'll come in last? That a man twice my age will pass me up in front of all of those people? Is it that my wife and son plan on attending to "root" me on near the finish line? How sad it would be for them to see their husband/dad sprinting to an embarrassing last place finish. At least I will have managed to boost the self esteem of a man twice my age. Suffice it to say I fear that things won't go as planned. It might be my inability to place my "chip timer" properly on my shoe. My number might fall off of my shirt. I might slip at a water station or trip someone in front of me who'll then know very clearly that they've just encountered a virgin racer. Everyone else on the course will know exactly what they're doing. I'll be a t-ball player amongst a bunch of major leaguers. I'll stand out like a sore thumb. Maybe I'll just stay home.
You know what this is don't you? It has nothing to do with where I'll place or who'll pass me up. It's fear of failure...very public failure. Who among us hasn't had that dream where you're naked in public or when you realize that you never actually graduated from college/high school and everybody knows it? I can't count the number of times I've dreamed about showing up for church on Sunday morning only to realize that I have no idea where anything is and that I forgot to write a sermon. Usually, this dream includes someone screaming at me because I'm 30 minutes late starting the service. Failure. I think that without exception we all have that little voice inside of us that can show up at the most inopportune of times. We might fail. People will know it. We'll be exposed. They'll laugh and they'll ridicule. They won't like us. We won't like ourselves. This fear, if we allow it, can keep us from chasing dreams and becoming the person that God wants us to be. It keeps us from taking risks (and I dont mean the unnecessary kind). We won't do anything "out of the box" or out of the norm. We'll play it safe. And we'll miss so many opportunities for greatness. This voice certainly doesn't come from God. I'll leave it to your imagination to figure out where it does come from.
I have this new thing that I'm trying out these days. I call it the "what's the worst thing" trick. Take my race for example. If my chip falls off my shoe, what's the worst thing that can happen? My time won't be "officially recorded" that's what. No problem...I have a run watch. What happens if the 80 year old man passes me up? Nothing. What if I'm in last? Everyone will feel sorry for me and I'll get just as much attention as the guy who finished first, especially if I limp in and make them think that I finished the race despite my "injury". What happens if I trip someone on the course? I'll say I'm sorry (and then convince myself that it was all their fault). Truth is, the simple fact that I will be running the race is clear evidence of an abundantly blessed life. I know people who, for a variety of reasons, can no longer get out of bed. I see war veterans on TV that come back with artificial limbs, barely able to walk. Some can't walk at all. I can run a race. Sounds like victory to me. And, if anyone were to believe me to be a failure based on the race scenarios that I mentioned above then that's their issue (problem) not mine. What's the worst thing that can happen if I really do forget to write my sermon? I make something up, and then when I'm done I tell them that it came straight from my head/heart without any preparation at all, and they leave church admiring my brilliance. Works for me.
I'll let you know how I finished. Pray for me on Saturday would you? Oh, and if you're around 80 years old and planning on running in the "Pearland Dawson Dash" this coming Saturday then you better carb up the night before because I'm seriously coming after you. Just do me a favor. If my chip falls off my shoe would you kindly pick it up for me?