The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. And running 12 marathons.

We have to leave the house in half an hour to catch the train to Gatwick. Then we hang around for two hours before getting the plane to Orlando. After landing, we get the hire car, drive to the hotel, then try and pass 36 hours without incident until 5.30am Sunday morning, when my first marathon begins.

Throughout all this, the gnawing fist of fear that has been sitting in my stomach since yesterday morning will be getting bigger and bigger.

Ever since I started planning this, and moreso since I announced it last month, I’ve been hearing variations on “Wow! That’s so impressive/insane/impressively insane! How on earth are you going to do it?”

And I’ve generally patted them away, safe in the knowledge that I had a clear training schedule mapped out, was being sensible in training for this first one to finish, rather than finish fast, and had thought carefully about sustaining fitness/recovery in between races. All the while, doubtless giving off the impression of one who embodies the Kipling maxim “If you can keep your head while all around are losing theirs, you probably haven’t understood the situation.”

All this cool, logical planning is of no help to me now as I am gripped by this horrible vague fear of the unknown. A specific fear is fine as it usually has a specific solution to deal with it: “Set the alarm half an hour earlier”, “Run away from the lion”, etc.

But vague terror is horrible because it deals with the unknown and pulls in unrelated, probably unrealistic problems from the entire spectrum of your imagination. In terms of this marathon, that means thinking “My legs might fall off”, “What if I explode after 20 miles?”

“What if I can’t do it?”

And that’s what’s probably at the root of all this fear, that worry that I can’t do it – the specific cure for which does not exist as it won’t go away until the moment the starting pistol goes and I start running and then that’s all I can do.

So I’ll just try to go on a lot of rollercoasters tomorrow. And not let my legs fall off in the interim.

One thought on “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. And running 12 marathons.

  1. Perhaps you can turn the vague terror into a specific fear i.e of lions – that way the solution becomes ‘run away from the lions’ and marathon number one becomes focussed and achievable? Good luck.

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