Thursday, March 27, 2008

Train and race like a kid

I’ve noticed something about most young kids. They have no fear when it comes to running. They go all out from the starting gun, no matter what.

Fear can save our lives, but fear can also keep us from achieving greatness. This is just as true in ultrarunning as it is in other aspects of everyday life. Some ultrarunners say things like, “I’m tentative on the down hills,” or “I like to walk all the up hills,” or “I like to start slow so I have something left at the end.” I’ve said those things and others too.

That was fear talking.

That was fear holding me back.

I am a much better downhill runner when I’m not afraid to let myself go. Trust your shoes Neal, and your instinct. I run quickly up some of the hills that I used to always walk when I ignore the discomfort and refuse to fear the pain. No Neal, your heart will not explode. And I’ve learned from experience that when I start a race fast, I always finish better than I expected.

In the absence of fear, I am a better ultrarunner.

We will all confront trails (pun intended) and tribulations in life that should be feared. But on the trails that I train and race on, fear only gets in the way.

Run like a kid again. Run without fear.

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