Counting down the days: What about fear…

A couple of days ago, I got a T-shirt from friends, suggesting one way of looking at the ultramarathon psychological process. Although I do not agree with the description of most of the process as “suffering”, it made me think of other processes you go through while preparing towards a challenge.

In many aspects of life, running not excluded, we know this feeling of excitement when we take upon us a new challenge. The dictionary defines excitement as “a feeling of great enthusiasm and eagerness”, which is very true. And then comes doubt… can I do this? what happens if I fail? can I pay the toll it takes to get there?… As for me, I simply push it away. My routine is “if it (doubt) does not help, why bother worrying?”. Yet, one should not ignore the fact that without second questioning some decisions we make, we might have taken the wrong path. So let’s talk about doubt.

Doubt… “a feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction”. Have to admit, I love this phase, the ambiguity, the unknown, solving the puzzles in the fog. It always intrigued me. Once doubt starts irritating the mind, it is accompanied with confusion. this is a very uncomfortable place to be, in particular when we talk about guys like me that are pragmatic (or at least try to be). The benefit of it, is this moment when the puzzle is solved, and the pieces suddenly start to make sense, have some logic order, and the road becomes clear. Having said that, it does not clear the fear away.

What Is Fear? It is a natural, powerful, and primitive human emotion. It involves a universal biochemical response as well as a high individual emotional response. Fear alerts us to the presence of danger or the threat of harm, whether that danger is physical or psychological. Sometimes fear stems from real threats, but it can also originate from imagined dangers. my fears as related to the current challenge is coping with the enormous sand parts of the race. It sounds funny coming from one living in Israel, with its Mediterranean sandy beaches, and the desert in the south. But racing through this can be a very different story.

I decided to make this fear my challenge. And at once, fear was replaced by determination. This is not to say “I am not afraid”, rather acknowledging that fear is her, and there is no way around it. So if there is no way around it, the best way is facing it and go /run /walk /crawl through it. So.. gaiters up, running poles down, focus, pace slowly, and here we go!

So here I go again…

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