I have gotten a lot of comments over the past week of how I'm either a) insane and lost my mind b) superwoman or c) fearless. I'm going to go with ... A!!!! I am sitting here with my half sprained/tiny chipped wrist, stinging road rash bandages just changed and a new one .... LATE ONSET WHIPLASH!!! WOO! My neck is swollen on the right side (which makes sense because I hit on the left) and I feel like my head is separating from my neck (ironically that's basically what whiplash is). I know it'll go away so I'm not concerned.
I'm just so THANKFUL to have come out with nothing more. It honestly baffles me. Tanner and I have come up with it's because I'm light, and I'm strong for my frame. How else would I hit asphalt that high off the ground and only have this? A guardian angel was with me.
I feel like this topic is going to sound arrogant like I'm some pro at conquering fears, but I've truly been asked this so many times about this so I wanted to cover it. Signing up for an endurance event can be a really scary thing. How do you get past that fear of the start line?
What is the beauty in conquering your fear? Well, first, it's addictive. It's a rush like you've never felt. I would relate it to a roller coaster. It gives you a high. It makes you want to see just how far you can go. I don't mean to sound crazy here, but you can basically ask any endurance athlete this, and I think the answer would be the same. There is an emotional and spiritual experience that happens when you break through your walls and your fears and your limitations. I'm all for running any distance, but getting outside of your comfort zone is where you will REALLY find yourself. That looks different to a lot of people. This isn't about fitness, body image, health, blah blah blah! This is about finding yourself, and conquering your fears.
I bring you.... the 6 P's of Conquering Your Fear! The first few were P's so I just made sure the rest were to make it more interesting! HA!
PUSH IT OUT OF YOUR MIND
What do I mean by this? I know it sounds so vague and impossible, but I've become a pro at it. If something makes you anxious, don't think about it. You think that you can't NOT think about it, but you really can. Think about the weather. Think about your to do list. Forcefully make yourself think about something else. But also, do all the necessary steps to get there. I try to devoid myself of any emotion of anything dealing with the thing that gives me anxiety or worry or fear. Like legit, in school if I had a big test, I had to learn to do this because I had very bad test anxiety. I had to practice almost like a meditation type thing where you force those thoughts out of your head and only focus on good.
PREPARE VERY WELL
I think this is a reason that I've always been a little more nervous going into events is because I'm always like "eh I'll grind it out race day" which I always end up doing. However, it would help anxiety levels SO MUCH more if I would just prepare better. I plan on doing this always in the future now. I love to train so why not train the way that I should? I just honestly think of training as a fun part of my day and I'm such a driven person that I feel I need to work on clients, my blog, my instagram, my youtube, or I need to focus my time spending time with others. I tend to put training to the back burner because I never want people to think I value it more than my relationship with them. Nevertheless, I do want to prioritize that a little better. If you go into an event knowing that you put your training in every single day to the max, then there is literally nothing to be afraid of.
CONQUERING YOUR FEARS HEAD ON
If you have never felt these emotions before, then I just think it's so important as a human to face them. Once you are able to look the fear in the eye and then you are able to complete it, you have so much more faith in yourself and it's so much easier each time.
That basically is an every week thing for me. Long runs can be nerve racking. It would be a sucky feeling if I continued to get scared every week like I did my first marathon. The more and more you do something, the less intimidating it becomes. I have a marathon coming up. My first marathon I worried like crazy every week going into it. Now it's like "Oh a marathon! How fun!" hahah! In order to get past those emotions, you HAVE to do it!!! That first time is always the hardest!
PUTTING INTO COMPARTMENTS
When I set out on my 20 mile runs, do you think I think "I have to run 20 miles?" HECK TO THE NO! I always think "I have to run 5 miles, 4 times." When I competed on Saturday, I didn't even get nervous. I thought to myself... "I know I can swim 1.2 miles, I know I can bike 56 miles, and I can easily run 13.1 miles so now I just have to put those altogether." and it really was just like that. It felt really good to go into a race with butterflies, but not like FEAR as I have done in the past. Fear is not a good emotion to have. It leaves you feeling incapable, and you TOTALLY ARE!
Maybe you aren't a religious person, and maybe you are, but let's be honest....prayer is awesome! It really allows you to let go of the things that are on your mind, and give that to the creator of the universe who loves you so deeply. You know that you don't have to bear the load alone, and it makes it that much easier to conquer. You know you've got someone else on your side.
PLAYING "WORST CASE SCENARIO"
This goes back to actually getting out there and conquering your fears. So, you are afraid that you couldn't do a half marathon or a 10K or a full marathon or an ironman? Think about the worst possible thing that could happen...um cardiac arrest maybe?
Okay that's extreme because in all reality, are you really going to go that far with pushing yourself? Most likely not! Ummm, so my worst case scenario was crashing and not finishing. That almost happened, and it would have sucked. But then think about the aftermath. Is it really all that bad?
The sun would have come up on Sunday morning. I still would have been an athlete. I still could sign up for more events.
When you set out on a run or an event, you will finish. There are a few reasons (like crashing) but in terms of just overall body capabilities, you know that you can if you've done #2-PREPARE! So, like honestly, what are those little butterflies in your stomach even for?
Lastly, and it's not a P
oPen YOUR MIND
5 years ago, I thought the very act of signing up for a half marathon was the craziest thing that I had ever done and I would never do it again. The very act of signing up a marathon seemed like literally only things that crazy people did. I saw this thing in high school one time that said that the people that do ultra running are crazy and it presented this case as if this was a true fact. I always think about that day because that's how I viewed long distance running. It just didn't make sense.
That's also how I've viewed full ironman events up until this year. I thought "Those are legit just too much. Like there's a point of insanity and that is it" but it's really not. It's just a matter of opening up your mind. If you can do a marathon, you can do an ultra. If you can do a half ironman, you can do a full ironman. You've got to be able to think outside of the box of what society has told you that your limitations are. I say that all the time, but that's because I mean it. You can't form a box on yourself. You've got to be brave, and take that leap of faith and say you know what:
"I'm going to prepare accordingly, give it my all, pray about it, compartmentalize it week to week, and push the rest out of my mind while following my training program and worst case scenario, I don't finish it but at least I'll know I conquered my fears and never gave up."