This fear is more than doing poorly. This fear is more than the normal lactic buildup of the higher miles. It’s more than the anticipation of the inevitable pain to come due to poor training. It’s more than the intense pain of failure.
This fear is all about finding out my life as a marathoner might end.
It has not been long lived. I found my passion at 41 when I made a promise to God. If I could live long enough I would run a marathon in his name. I’ve done 18 or 19. I don’t keep track. I don’t do them to accumulate. I do them because I love running and the thought of that coming to an end scares me.
It’s unfathomable to imagine losing a passion. A painter that loses his sight. A guitar player unable to move his fingers to touch the cords he loves. It’s impossible to understand and even more so to explain unless you have a passion and its existence is threatened.
I feel that panic as I drive to the destination. And on race morning as I stand in the crowd. I’ll feel that fear with every pain, every discomfort that may be normal to others, but to me any pain is a reminder that at any time this dream can end.
But I go through it everytime and I test the limits of my endurance and my arthritic knees. I stand there in prayer and effort and when I cross that finish line, I’ll have conquered that fear one more time.