Fears, hope, and living the now.

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On May 3, 2015 I will line up for the Vancouver half-marathon and return to racing after a stubborn injury. This week marks the start of my 12 week training program.

Signing up for a race, setting a time goal, and diving into a training program is nothing new for me. I have been following this routine continually for the last 8 years and have grown awfully attached to it. I rely on it. If I can keep my running in check, I feel good, I can manage life’s other stressors. When I’m in between programs, or when I’m taking a “break”, I feel kind of lost.

Back in June, just before I was slotted to run Leg 3 of Sinister 7, I had a short, but painful bout of plantar fasciitis. With treatment and tape, I was still able to run and had an absolute blast. I had planned to recover from Sinister and start preparing for the Edmonton Half & then Chicago Marathon. Chicago was a “bucket list” marathon and I was really excited to see what I could do on the flat and fast course after a solid summer of training. I had some disappointing results in the previous year and I was determined to prove myself (to myself).

But that episode of planter started a downward spiral of injury. I ignored pain. Kept running.  Attempted to keep racing. Got frustrated. Finally, took 6 weeks (mostly) off running. Spent hours in the pool and on the bike. Spent my life’s savings on physio, athletic therapy, chiropractors, exercise therapists, massages. I was difficult to live with for a solid 3 months, I’m sure. Never was I so jealous of Nick and my friends who were getting up at 5:30am to do mile repeats.

Spin Kacey

With a lot of cross-training and determination, I ran Chicago. I did not race, but I still managed a 3:50:56 marathon. One of my slowest, and a far cry from my initial goal of sub 3:20, but reaching that finish line sure felt like victory. Seeing my friends at the finish line (they all had epic results – so inspiring!) fueled my desire to press on, to race again.

I’ve vowed to leave this part of my running “past” behind this year. To move forward. Set new goals and not let previous disappointments define me. And, I am doing it…but fears linger in the background.

I’m afraid of failing.

I’m afraid of injury.

I’m afraid of not being good enough. Or fast enough. Or fit enough.

I’m afraid of giving up.

I’m afraid of letting people down. And letting myself down.

I’m afraid of setting goals that I never reach.

I’m afraid of uncertainty.

I’m afraid of vulnerability.

Over the last 10 weeks, I’ve been base building. After 3 weeks of rest following Chicago in October, I started back with easy miles, gradually working back to 70km a week. My injury is still in the rehab phase, but it’s pretty stable and my body is largely tolerating the return to endurance training. (You can read more about the importance and value of building a solid base before starting training program here- http://running.competitor.com/2014/01/training/coach-culpepper-the-beauty-of-the-base-phase_64398)

And now, it is go time. I have anticipated the start of a new, fresh, uninhibited training program for months. And mixed up with all my fears, is a lot of hope for a personal best come May. Something to reset my confidence as a runner. Something to build on.

Between all the fears and hope, I will take it one day at a time. One run at a time. One kilometre at a time. I will embrace the process. I will #getthere.

IMG_6581When you’re a dreamer, heart break and failure come with the territory, but I can tell you it’s worth it, because it’s a way of living that is both moving and memorable.

– Lauren Fleshman





  1. Do what you fear most. Control your fear.
    A person who has found themselves – is lost.
    If what you did yesterday seems great, you haven’t done anything today.

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