More than just another race

Tomorrow I run the Peachtree Road Race, the world’s largest 10k, and, frankly, I am terrified. 

Wouldn’t you be?  Look at all those people!

I’m not scared of the 6.2 miles; I’m scared of the unknown.  Even though I’ve read all the Atlanta Track Club e-mails, studied the start and finish maps, examined photos of previous races, rode the MARTA system, and did a practice run on the course, I still have no idea what I’m doing or what to expect.   

Six months ago, my fear of the unknown would have precluded me from signing up for the race.  I never would have had the audacity to dream of running the Peachtree Road Race.  Me?  Driving the highways of Atlanta to a public rail station?  Navigating the underbelly of Atlanta’s rail system?  Fighting my way through a crowd of 60,000 runners, plus 150,000 family, friends, and onlookers?  Not me.  I run shy away from the unfamiliar.
So if I’m such a scaredy cat, why run this race?  What makes this race so special? 
  • Is it because of the 42,500 ripe, refreshing, sweet Georgia peaches asking for me at the finish line? 

Scott Collins of Smyrna enjoys a peach in Piedmont Park, immediately following the Peachtree Road Race.
  • Is it because of the highly coveted Peachtree Road Race t-shirt that runners would sell their children for?

Tempting, but no.

  • ·       Or maybe it’s because I get to wait in line with tens of thousands of people who have to pee and take care of the common runner’s GI issues? 

  • Maybe it’s because of the unconscionable hot, humid, muggy, intense Georgia weather for which I want to risk heatstroke?
No. Not that either.  Although it certainly adds to the appeal.  But this race means more than that.
This race is a defining moment for me.
This race is either the beast that I will tame, or that will eat me alive. 
This race means more than my Reeboks plowing across the finish line. 
  • It means breaking out of my comfort zone and putting me in an uncomfortable situation. 
  • It means the unknown.
  • It means surrounding me with a crowd I can’t control.
  • It means “running” toward the healthy, fulfilling life I want to live; free of an eating disorder and dissociative symptoms.
  • It means taking a risk, taking a chance, and not hiding from life anymore. 
  • It means ripping me out of my comfort zone.
  • It means all that and more.  
Mostly it means progress, and, even though I’m afraid of that too, these are risks I have to take to get better.
I’m ready for it.  So I’m putting it all on the start line tomorrow.  At 7:45, in Corral D, when the gun goes off, I’m proving to myself I can tolerate new, unfamiliar situations.  I’m proving I can succeed in places that normally I would run from.  I’m proving that my fears don’t have to dictate my life.  I’m proving I can do what “normal” people do. 
I saw a t-shirt at the Peachtree Expo from that said (I paraphrase), It’s not that I finished the race, it’s that I started. 
Bring it on, beastie!

2 thoughts on “More than just another race

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  1. I'm sitting here with a big smile on my face… Yay!!!

    Sending all sorts of positive thoughts and all the (((warm safe hugs you want))) your way…

    It's now the day of the race for you, I hope it goes well!!

    Take care,

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