I am a big fan of the television show Lost. Like many avid viewers, I was disappointed and let down by the eventual conclusion of the series two years ago, but over time the annoyance has faded and I’ve decided it is now time to go back to the island…
I commenced my second viewing this week and am already completely sucked back in to the vortex. I’m already craving hours on the couch watching back-to-back mind-bending episodes, examining every scene and conversation for clues and significance which which will make more sense the second time around. I think this will be a very fine way to recover from tomorrow’s marathon in the coming days!
What has all this got to do with the Moray Marathon anyway? Upon re-watching the very first episode I was reminded of a significant conversation which occurs early on between two of the main characters, Kate and Jack. Jack, a Doctor, has a serious wound on his back which requires suturing and he asks Kate to do it for him but she is very afraid. To calm her nerves whilst she carries out the surgery he tells her a story about a time in his life when he was afraid, but had to face his fear and overcome it.
“Well, fear’s sort of an odd thing. When I was in residency my first solo procedure was a spinal surgery on a sixteen year old kid, a girl. And at the end, after thirteen hours, I was closing her up and I, I accidentally ripped her dural sac; shredded the base of the spine where all the nerves come together, membrane as thin as tissue. And so it ripped open and the nerves just spilled out of her like angel hair pasta, spinal fluid flowing out of her and I… and the terror was just so crazy. So real. And I knew I had to deal with it. So I just made a choice. I’d let the fear in, let it take over, let it do its thing, but only for five seconds, that’s all I was going to give it. So I started to count: one, two, three, four, five. Then it was gone. I went back to work, sewed her up and she was fine.”
The message of the story resonated with me and made me reconsider my fears of re-visiting the marathon distance in a race. Fear and nerves are inevitable in sport – if you don’t have any then you probably don’t care enough about what you’re doing. If your dreams don’t scare you, then they’re not big enough.
Whilst you may not have a choice about whether you have fears or not, you certainly do have a choice with how you deal with them. When I last wrote on Tuesday, I was allowing my fears to creep into places in my mind and heart that I don’t usually let them and they were damaging my mental outlook, which is almost important as your physical strength for a race. When the fear is knocking at the door tomorrow on the starting line I will give it five seconds to do its job; to raise my adrenaline, to make my heart beat faster and to remind me how much I care about this – and then it will be gone. I will cross the starting line and the journey will begin.
One: Amazing partner who has believed in me every step of the way so far.
Two: Wonderful parents whose unwavering support will be waiting for me at mile 11.5.
Three: Times that I will have raced 26+ miles by tomorrow lunchtime.
Four: Hours and ten minutes is the time I hope to finish in.
Five: Aberdeen Fetchies that will be waiting at the finish line to welcome me home.
Cowards never start. The weak never finish. Winners never quit. Tomorrow I’m going out to take more than an hour off my marathon PB and the only thing that can stop me, is me.
See you on the other side.