the fear


the fear

I always put on a show of how fearless I am.
Ask me what races I'm doing and I'll smile and announce whatever the next  stupid event I've signed up for is and how I'm looking forward to it.

Easy

This is my default behaviour, I think I developed this trait through 25 years of self employment writing computer software -   always say "yes I can do that", or someone else will - worry about the details later.
But inside I'm terrified, I don't know if I can do this, often I don't even know how to do something (but well other people have done it, it can't be that hard?). But smile say "yes" and with a lot of worry, fast learning, fast mistake correction it'll probably all turn out fine, it usually does.

Until recently I've always done the same when anyone asked me about any events or races I'd entered, firstly I'm usually a bit embarrassed to talk about them, this is just a hobby, I'm not professional, I'm not doing it for any greater cause, it's a decision I've made myself.
So I'll just say what I'm planning on doing in as down to earth manner as I can and explain perhaps how lots of people are doing it, and well I'll be running slowly and so on. But by doing so I'll probably give off an air that it's all pretty straightforward, "I've got this" and I'm looking forward to it.
I'll explain that I've got no real plan and I'm just going to see how it goes.
Admittedly this has been getting harder to pull off quite so nonchalantly through the years as the events have progressed to being more and more extreme.

Fear

At the start line of Ironman Sweden I would be joking and kidding with those around me (if I recall rightly about my unsubtle gold AWA hat and why I wasn't up at the front - it's all about the bike).  But I was utterly terrified looking out towards the crashing waves of my first proper sea swim triathlon.
I'll be the same before any race, often I'd be the one reassuring those around me that they would be fine when they were sharing their fears and concerns.
Inside, I'm almost always terrified, busy itemising everything that could go wrong, running through my list of previous failures and working out which are applicable this time.

To be fair, in this case the swim *was* horrible, I'm a terrible swimmer and the group I was swimming with got blown off course. We ended up at the wrong buoy and had to make a long diversion back as a kayak-er pointed in the direction of everyone else. But even so, it wasn't as bad as the thoughts from my runaway imagination beforehand.
I got around, had some amazing experiences through the day and slayed the dragon from the previous years disaster (food poisoning the night before).

Repeat

It will be the same for most other events, particularly if it's one I haven't done before, or I'm utterly out of my depth for.
The tension and stress will be winding tighter for weeks beforehand right up to the actual event, and that's before the additional panic on the day - am I in the right place? am I on time? how come all these other people look so confident? which way am I supposed to be going? what have I forgotten?
But I won't tell anyone I'm worried, I'll grin, give a thumbs up, perhaps even announce this is going to be awesome.

For the first time this year I realised this approach wasn't healthy, I'm entered into an event and I'm utterly terrified, and I've actually for the first time started telling people that I'm terrified.


Doing so has actually made me start to feel less anxious. It's not going to be easy, I have no idea how I'm going to get through, but simply announcing everything is going to be fine is probably not going to work out this time, admitting I'm scared is actually letting me think about exactly what there is to worry about clearly. There are things to worry about, but then again, there's a lot that I don't need to be worrying about.

GUCR

I've been lucky (?) to get a place in the GUCR145.

Running.

Birmingham to London.

145 miles.

This is scary.

One fear is that I'm not going to manage it and I'm taking a place away from someone who's more deserving of the place.

I've been reading every blog (and  book) I can find on the topic trying to tease out tips, hints and advice. I've already had a minor setback discovering that peak GCSE exam timetable is at the same time - so at the moment I've only got support crew lined up for the second half. I'm sure I'll figure something out.

Whenever I've tried to plan any race to precision, it tends to unravel pretty quickly, I'm definitely one of life's 'wingers'  (hence the name of the blog).
Admittedly, I will sometimes claim credit for a perfectly executed plan - but that's pretty much guaranteed that I'll have formulated the plan on the go and it was only fully formed at the point that I crossed the finish line. :) This is perhaps one of my strengths, I can adapt and adjust as everything falls to pieces rather than being frozen with indecision as soon as something unexpected occurs.

For the running part currently I'm actually feeling fairly good, with long 5am runs, training is going well. Hopefully it will just get better as the weather improves, and at the moment the day is still far enough away that I can manage the worry just telling myself I've still got plenty of time to get organised.

The terror hasn't truly set in yet, but I know it will as the time drops from months to go, to weeks to go, to days to go.

and this time I'm going to tell people about it.



be afraid. be very afraid.

Comments

  1. A great post! I hope your planning goes well and I look forward to reading more about it and your transition to project manager

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    Replies
    1. Cheers Mike. Project management life is going about as smoothly and successfully as you'd imagine.

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  2. Nice work, you’re a kindred spirit!
    Ironman Austria the kayaker assaulted me with his paddle and pointed out I was swimming towards ‘Slovakia’ and not Klagenfurt!

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