The Thrill of Signing up for Scary Goals!

thrillI’ve been trying to gather a group together to do the Niagara Women’s Half Marathon with me. I’m not going after non-runners. Instead, I’m talking to friends who I know to be strong and capable, but who haven’t done that distance before. So far, two newbies have committed!

And they are both afraid.

The other day I said to one of them: I like signing up for things that scare me but are in the realm of possibility. As someone who is definitely in the last half of my life, this is my middle (or late-middle) aged version of living on the edge.

Last year, it was the Around the Bay 30K and the Mississauga Marathon. The year before it was the two Olympic distance triathlons. The year before that it was the Kincardine Women’s Triathlon (my very first triathlon).  I’ve been reflecting on that first experience with triathlon because Sam and I are revising our book manuscript and I’m at the part of the story where I was terrified! I worked myself into a tizzy by over-studying about gear and transitions, not to mention that I’d never done a triathlon before and I had no conception of training. As I said in my pre-race post:

…my head is a swimming a bit with all of this pre-triathlon information. Helpful and scary at the same time.

The shared theme preceding all of these events:  fear. Not abject terror, mind you. But when it’s a new event or a new distance, fear creeps in.

But that’s what makes this stuff exciting. And that’s what pushes my training. It’s like a little nudge or prod, pushing me out the door.

The Harriet Tubman finishers’ medal for the Niagara Women’s Half Marathon is a great incentive to do the race. But having to complete a half marathon substantially increases the odds of me getting out the door for my workouts.  I know I can finish the distance, but I want to feel good. I want to be able to stay cheerful if possible, since I’m the one who talked people into it. Besides the two friends whom I hooked into trying the half distance for the first time, one of my regular running buddies is also doing the event.

Signing up for scary goals is a thrilling thing to do. If you’ve never tried it, I recommend it. Of course you want to keep them realistic, but also challenging enough that they get your adrenaline going.

Have you signed up for anything lately (or ever) that forced you to up your game?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments! Meanwhile, wish me luck with my half marathon training. The event is just one week before the Woodstock Sprint Triathlon that I promised Anita I’d do. I’m comfortable with each event individually. This year’s thrill is in the back to back-ness of them.


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