Friday, August 27

Fear & Matters of the Heart

You're afraid. You f e a r it.

Well today is the day you don't.

On my bike, on those hills, on the race day of that triathlon, I was afraid. I feared for my life as I went speeds, barreling down these hills, I had never been. It was unfamiliar territory. Adrenaline was flowing.

The first down hill I almost slammed on my breaks as we rounded a corner. Surely I would fly off into the trees at this speed. How sharp was the turn anyway? At this speed surely I could even die if I plummeted off the side. So the second hill I did the same. I let my mind to wander and squeezed the breaks. I s l o w e d down the hill and groaned like a baby up the next. The course was nothing but hills. But something happened much more to my bike when I slowed down...
People started to pass me down those hills. And I didn't like that.

Then my head began rationalizing, alright Carli, you're going so fast, you hit a pebble and fly off your bike. So what? You get a scratch? So what? You DIE! So what? At least you'd be doing what you love most... watching the sun rise through these trees, feeling the breeze, going speeds you've never been, treading unfamiliar ground... feeling A L I V E. Is there any better way to go?

I recognized my fear. Then I conquered it. Instead of slowing down on those slopes, the longer I rode I shifted to as high a gear as I could as I went barreling down like a child, wind in my face, heart pounding out of my chest, legs pumping as hard as they would carry me. On the brink of the unknown, I felt a l i v e.

And I took note.
As I sped up, the rise up the next hill became easier because of the momentum I had gained from the last slope down. You'd never guess it, but as I was speeding up, I noticed I started passing more and more people on the down slope. Because they, like I used to be, were afraid.

Nothing happened to me. I didn't fall. I didn't fly off my bike on the curve, I didn't hit a pebble and crash into the tree. In the end, I beat my time by almost 18 minutes. There was n o r o o m for fear.

And here I thought all of the lessons were to be learned in training. Race day taught me the most. . .

What do you fear? Well right now get a grip. Imagine the worst possible scenario. Will you die? Don't keep "putting on the breaks" towards whatever it is you want. Once you're flying, you may just come to realize in your lack of fear,

you've never felt more a l i v e...

I have a confession. I just hit "submit" on my entrance to the Austin Marathon in February. Twenty-six miles to pound. I even have a confirmation number...

My eyes are bug-eyed in this moment.
And I've always feared that. I've feared it would be too difficult. But why? I will finish. Since I've been running, as long as I can remember I've said I would run one. Well tomorrow isn't the day. Not in a week. Not in 2 years.

I will leave you with this:

Hillel says, "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?" Ethics of the Fathers, 1:14

So go on.
Every one of us is on the brink of death.
Today is the day to feel a l i v e.

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

I'll be out there in February too - for the half! best of luck!!