It seems that every time I prepare for a ‘long distance’ race I experience a bit of anxiety. Will I make it to the event on time? What if my toenails fall off? Will my legs chafe? Perhaps I will have a heart attack and die… What if it storms? Did I really train enough? And so the rambling goes on in the back of my head. And the fact is that I may experience some of those things… aside from what if I have a heart attack and die, the stakes are not very high. In this case I am preparing for the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Nashville.
It took me a while to realize that. The worst that may happen in probability is I severely wrench a muscle during the race and quit. It is unlikely lightning will strike me or that I will suffer a heart attack on the course. The risk/probability is a degree of discomfort. Perhaps I will not reach my goal pace of 2:45:00 for the half. Oftentimes when we really look at the likelihood of something happening, fear loses its power. Anxiety can subside. The fact is I have run in storms and snow. I have run when I have trained nowhere near enough and have missed goal times by significant amounts.
The cost is not that great. Even the time I lost my toenails was not too bad though it was gross. The race motivated me to get some additional exercise and now I have another shirt to add to my slowly growing collection of race shirts. They are well made and are very useful at the gym and for working out. In light of these things, I consider the half-marathon entry and training time a good investment for my health.
Please note that like many other things in life, the question of how much anxiety that I experience is a factor of three things. First, how much risk is actually associated? Second, what is the probability of that risk. Last, what have I done in preparation to mitigate these risks? By taking these into account we should be able to reduce the anxiety of most things we experience in life.