Out There: Looking For Answers

Looking for answers? Head to the starting line. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

You can’t remove the questions in your head until you’re forced to find the answers.

Being a writer comes with its perks: working from home, setting my own schedule, and having a daily schedule that’s dictated by the weird and kooky messages you send my way.

It also comes with a modicum of self-control – this, I’ve yet to master. My research for articles and columns typically goes off on tangents until I find myself inextricably down a very strange rabbit hole. Take yesterday’s Google search history, for example, kicked off by a reader’s question about 10K racing:

Average 10K times

10K records

Galen Rupp

Is Galen Rupp single

Cute runner boys

Is Channing Tatum a runner

Channing Tatum Shirtless

What can I say? One thing led to another, and … well, I have a new Channing Tatum calendar.

But sometimes, Google doesn’t have all the answers to your questions, and because of that…well, neither do I. Take this not-so-weird question from reader Dan, for example:

Hi Susan, I just signed up for my first marathon. Well, it’s not really my first I guess. I’ve signed up for other marathons before but I always pull out weeks before the race. I never feel ready and don’t want to embarrass myself. Do you think I’ll ever be ready?

To be perfectly frank, I never feel ready, either. Even after I’ve crossed the finish line, I’ll stand there, sweaty and incredulous, wondering How the hell did I just do that?

In every race, athletes show up pulling a trailer of doubt. They’ll wonder if they trained enough, if they’re coming down with a cold, if that nagging knee pain is going to act up today, if it will be windy, if they’ll trip over crack in the pavement, if they’ll bonk … the list goes on. It’s exhausting, dragging all of that to the start line.

But then the gun goes off, and something amazing happens: the trailer gets lighter with every mile.

You see, you can’t remove the questions in your head until you’re forced to find the answers. With each mile marker, you’ll learn that you did, in fact, train enough; that you ate the right things; that you can handle any weather; that if you trip and fall, you just get back up and keep going; that you do, in fact, look damn good with a finisher’s medal around your neck.

You can wait to do your first marathon when you “feel ready,” Dan, but I have a feeling you’ll end up spending a lot of time, well … waiting. You’ll add more and more self-doubt to your trailer, until it becomes so big and heavy that it turns into an anchor. Do you like where you are right now? Because soon, you may find yourself stuck there.

Will you ever feel ready? I don’t know. Perhaps you may arrive at the starting line on the morning of your first marathon, screaming “Yes! YES! Today is the day!” But it’s more likely you won’t have such exuberance. It doesn’t really matter. Just show up.

You’ll find the answer you’re looking for on the race course.

****

About The Author:

Susan Lacke does 5Ks, Ironman Triathlons, and everything in between to justify her love for cupcakes (yes, she eats that many). In addition to writing for Competitor, she serves as Resident Triathlete for No Meat Athlete, a website dedicated to vegetarian endurance athletes. Susan lives and trains in Phoenix, Arizona with three animals: A labrador, a cattle dog, and a freakishly tall triathlete boyfriend. She claims to be of sound mind, though this has yet to be substantiated by a medical expert. Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLacke

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