When I was out to sea on the USCGC Mellon we were lucky enough to have a couple of swim calls. That is when the ship stops and they let everyone jump overboard to have a good romp. (It’s also a great way to get everyone smelling better when your water gets contaminated and you’re waiting for the tanks to refill, but that’s another story.) By the last swim call all of the girls in my berthing had jumped off the O-1 deck. It’s higher than jumping off of the main deck and depending on when you catch the swell of the ocean it can be a LONG way down.
I was terrified of jumping, but all the other girls had done it, I knew it was safe and there was nothing holding me back but fear. As I stood with my back against the O-1 bulkhead hatch staring at the open abyss to the ocean, my knees were shaking, my insides had an entire rugby team of dragons (not butterflies), and I was seriously considering just chickening out and facing the wrath of being the only girl who didn’t jump and the only Navy person who didn’t jump. Instead, took a deep breath, and ran off the edge before I could talk myself out of it. The Senior Chief who was standing shark duty said, “I knew it was you jumping. You screamed, you ran out of air, you took another breath, and kept right on screaming until you hit the water.” Well, duh, I mean holy crap balls that was scary.
I’m currently sitting on an airplane making my way west to Park City, Utah to (theoretically) run the North Face 50k. I say theoretically because, well, Summit County has already gotten snow this year and they are predicting 4-7 inches more of the white powdery stuff tonight. Yet, as I sit on this airplane watching the ground go by while waiting for biostatistics code to get spat out of SAS all I can think about is how I am feeling the exact same feeling as I did that particular day, scared.
Why? Why am I so terrified of this race? Well, let’s start with the physical stuff. I came home from my summer in Utah a little beaten up and it’s taken a couple of months of physical therapy to get me strong. I’ve made leaps and bounds and the witchy one says that I will be fine, but there’s that shadow that lingers there.
Then let’s talk about the weather. The last time I attempted to run in the cold and snow I got hypothermia. So, yes, I’m terrified that that will happen again and this time I don’t have ShooterGirl close by to come and rescue me.
Finally, let’s talk about the mental aspect. I crawled all over this particular mountain this summer, on purpose. I spent multiple days a week learning her quirks. All that said, I haven’t been at altitude for 6 weeks. My boss didn’t help any when he said, “Oh man, you’re going to fry your lungs.”
So, yeah, I’m terrified. I’m hopeful that there will BE a race to run. I need to run this race. I need to treat this like that jump off of the USCGC Mellon only without all the screaming. I’m just afraid if I chicken out and don’t run I may never sign up for another 50k again.