… on the [long] road to becoming an Ironman.
Friday July 1st 2016

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Posts Tagged ‘Fear’

What Are You So Afraid Of?

Mark Remy

fear-womanWhat is your greatest running fear?

That's the question of our current homepage poll. (You can see the poll and vote on our homepage, left column, under Running Blogs. Or view the results and comments here.)

The poll's options:

  • Getting injured.
  • Hitting the wall.
  • Failing to achieve my goals.
  • Falling behind my training partner or group.

It's fine, as far as homepage polls go. But personally I think the options are way too limited. I don't know… maybe I'm an unusually anxious runner.

Here are just a few of my own "running fears."

  • Showing up late for a race and hearing the gun just as I'm getting out of my car and then looking down and realizing that my racing flats are untied and also I'm not wearing any pants and then my mother appears and mocks me. (Usually this fear comes in the form of a dream.)
  • Being hit by a train. Seriously. No idea why, but I fear being creamed by a train more than being hit by a car, even though the odds of being hit by a distracted driver have to be astronomically higher.
  • Pooping myself during a race. This has nearly happened more than once. Talk about horror.
  • Tripping on something stupid on the shoulder of the road, then falling forward and landing on something sharp, like a sawed-off steel signpost, and impaling myself. Then the EMT's would come and have to sever the signpost near the ground and take me to the ER with the post still sticking out of my chest and someone would snap a cell phone photo and it would wind up on the internet. Public humiliation + gaping chest wound = terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
  • Dropping dead during a run or a race. Statistically, I know that this fear is insanely irrational. And as far as I know, my ticker is in tip-top shape. Still, it's something I can't not think about. Especially now that I have a little daughter.
  • Buying a cool new black technical running jacket at full price and then seeing it a few weeks later for 30% off. Dammit!
  • Returning from a run and realizing that my shorts' liner had gone saggy and that as a result my, um, Beardsley was showing.

Your turn. Leave a comment below and share your deepest, darkest running fears.

And next time you're running on the shoulder of the road, for heaven's sake, watch where you're going.

Fear and Loathing the IM France Bike Course

For anyone that is not familiar with the bike course at Ironman France, I wanted to introduce you to my recurring nightmare.  THIS is what keeps me up at night. THIS is what I am doing endless squats and lunges for.  I am told that good riders (I am average, not good) take over 1.5 hours to climb the section of the race between the 50k and 70k points.  The non-stop climb is roughly 1,000 meters (meters, not feet). I did the math – that’s a 7.25 mile/hr average speed.  That means that where I would normally hope to finish a flat Ironman bike course in 6 hours, I am just hoping to finish France in under 8.  THAT is brutal, my friends.  And the real challenge here is to finish the bike course with a shred of quad strength left to finish a marathon.  The only way to do that is to not push too hard… which implies a relatively low steady heart rate… and I just don’t see how that’s possible on this course.  But hey – what goes up must come down, right?

The only saving grace with this is that the run course is pancake flat along the promenade in Nice.  That combined with the topless beaches that run along the course, I hope that goes relatively smoothly (is there a law on race day against topless old-ladies with breasts that hang like tube socks filled with sand??  I hope so!) But it’s an out-and-back run that repeats 4 times, so it’s going to be painfully boring.  And very depressing after the first loop when I realize there are 3 more to go.


Oh, to be a floater.  Nope.  I am a swimmer that seems to have the buoyancy of a rock, so the thought of an open water swim without a wetsuit scares the crap out of me.  One of the big downsides of living in the south is that the water is quickly heating up to make wetsuits not only dangerous for overheating, but also illegal from racing.  So, I am soon going to have to face my fears of making it through a mile in the open water without the safety net (real or not) of having the magical floating powers of a wetsuit.  

Keep in mind, these fears aren’t completely unjustified.  Consider that I have now done 2 open water swims in my life.  The first was in a triathlon back in 2001 where I freaked out after 20 seconds and swam the entire race doing elementary backstroke in a record breaking 54 minutes.  I completed those 54 minutes WITHOUT a wetsuit.  In April 2010, I completed my second open water swim in 33 minutes WITH a wetsuit.  Sure – you can say that I improved that much because I actually learned how to swim.  Details.   You can say that I improved that much because of better conditioning.  But there is something in my brain that says I did that much better because I had a wetsuit on. Like a tight bear hug around my entire body (yeah, baby), there is a significant level of comfort knowing that if I cramp up or otherwise can’t continue, I could just stop and float without even having to tread water.

On June 6, I will be racing my first triathlon in 9 years. The water will be too warm for wetsuits, so I’m looking at doing a mile swim in nothing but my tighty-blackies.  I know the only way to get over the fear is to face it head on and that’s exactly what I will do… but it will be very interesting to read my post on June 7 with the results!