I have to say, I can't quite wrap my head around the fact I'm racing AGAIN this weekend. I know it's only a training run-- a "tempo with others" but I know myself well enough to know I'll get nervous and want to do my best, regardless of pace.
The thing is, I'm not as fit as I once was. I feel like my legs move in slow motion and my lungs are only working to half capacity. And so, what do I do with that (aside the obvious of "train more" which I fully plan on doing?) I'm so afraid there will be people there-- runners or spectators-- who will think I'm fat and slow and secretly hate me. It's an irrational fear (or is it?) but it's one that I live with every time I step outside this "training zone" into, well not quite a "public eye"-- but where others might notice me.
I know this is an issue I have to deal with in one way or another. But I really do doubt myself so much. I wonder how Steve could love me, how two graduate committees could have possibly awarded me an advanced degree in ANYTHING. To myself, I'm nothing but a fat girl who smells bad and who cannot use the English language correctly. I hate mirrors: I hate the image they give me. Can a runner have such thoughts, if they want to be good at what they do?
The nature of the sport is endurance, or rather, tolerance of a certain level of pain. But there must come a time when too much pain is just too much. When physical pain and emotional insecurity derails a person who might have had an otherwise successful career.
The other day, I was asked why I run and I couldn't answer. Is it to distance myself from the things that cause me pain or to induce other pain, in order to block out the emotional issues I live with? I don't know. I'm starting to worry, though, because I've poured myself into this life of running and writing. I train twice each day: I write each day. Unlike many of my friends, I don't have a family of my own and I don't have a great job. I've neglected all that for a pursuit I can't even define. Who does that?
I can only say I doubt every step I take and every emotion I feel-- every "me" that stares into my eyes above a bathroom sink basin. What if I do all this and I end up just as I see myself: a fat failure, alone with nothing?
I know, I have to believe. But-- I wonder if I will always have this nagging darkness, this inarticulate depth that makes me shy away from life. Can a person live with that-- to say nothing of running? Of writing?