Week 5 of the Year of Fear: 1:15 and froyo

Morgan’s Fear: Froyo (rescheduled)

The point of this experiment is to face our fears and make ourselves feel uncomfortable. Our goal was to do one fear per week on average. Unfortunately, as often happens, life gets in the way of us meeting that average sometimes. It is not that we are afraid of facing the fear of the week but rather, due to some logistical complications of the fear, it becomes hard to check it off the list. This week was one of those times for me.

With school starting up and being away for the race on Saturday, it was tough to get to Menchie’s and try some Froyo. If we had tried to force it and squeeze it into our schedule, it would defeat the purpose of the project. We would not really be facing the fear but rather doing it for the sake of doing it. So we bumped Froyo to another week. I don’t see this as ‘failing’ because we will get it done; it will just have to come another week after we get settled into school and the rhythm of fall term.

On the bright side, Chris was able to knock another fear off his list in true Braveheart form at his half marathon on Saturday….

Chris’s Fear: Breaking 1:15 in the Half Marathon

My fear this week was breaking 1:15 in an open half marathon. As I said in the podcast this is not really a fear in the truest sense. It is more putting myself in a place where I don’t think I could go. I have not crossed the 1:15 barrier in the half since 2014 at the Rock ‘n Roll DC half. Since then my running has slowed down, and to be honest, I was not sure if I would ever get back to my former speeds.

I was afraid to set such goals because I was afraid of not being able to make them. As Morgan brought up when we were talking about this: I was not afraid of the PR of 1:15 I was more afraid of failing to break 1:15.

For the whole week leading up the race, I was actually pretty nervous. It was not a big race nor was it something like Word Championships, but I was still nervous. As we brought up on the podcast though, I did my best to relax and treat it as a fun run. Regardless of what time I get, I was out there, racing, and running, all of which are things to be grateful for. I also had a plan that I knew I could stick to (keep watts at 300 on the Stryd and go for it). This attitude of gratitude and structured plan calmed me down, and whenever I started to get nervous, I flipped that mindset and instead thought about this as excitement. If I break 1:15, I break 1:15. If I don’t there will be many many more races to come guaranteed.

As I said the race was small. There are high school dual meets that are larger than this one. I think all in all there were 50 people for the half and a handful more for the 5k. While it was not very well organized, I have to give credit and a huge thanks to the race director for putting this on. Races are no easy task to put together.

Even though the race was scheduled to start at 8, the directors were late in getting there and setting up the course. At 8:20 the more senior racers, said enough was enough and that we would start without the director ( I love old runners!). The “gun” went off (that the official timer said “Everyone ready. Good. Go!”) and I went out of the gate. I had a plan and I stuck to it. I ticked off mile after mile and while I was pushing the envelope of being uncomfortable, but I just embraced it. Whenever, a doubt crossed my mind, I simply asked myself “I wonder what it will feel like at mile 4 if I kept this up…I wonder if I can hit a 10k PR…” It became an experiment rather than pain.

I ran alone the whole time but I did not care. It was just me and the cool scenery.

I did not even think about my goal until the turn around which I hit at 37 flat. It was then that I started to get excited. I knew that 1:15 was in reach; I just had to keep on pushing.

At mile 10, I was getting tired but I knew I couldn’t slow down if I wanted it. The mantra “How Bad do I want it?” was on repeat in my mind, and I reminded myself to keep on giving thanks and telling myself how cool it was to be racing again. The pain that I was feeling was a reminder that I was doing something right.

I crossed the line at 1:13:43–a new PR by over a minute.

This broke down a whole slew of mental barriers for me and opened the door to the possibility of breaking even more times in the future. It also eased my fears of failure. It is not a failure if you do not get the goal the first time. It is only a failure if you walk away.

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