I drove the 30 miles from Lakeside to Whitefish (Montana) and picked up my registration for the TwoBear Marathon this morning. It’s an off-road monster and I’ve had second thoughts about running in it, but it’s too late for that now. I have my number and shoe tag, so I’m locked and loaded. When I went into the fitness club to get my packet, the lady at the check-in desk asked,

“Where are you from?”

“Chicago, but I live here and I’ve been training here.” I said.

“Oh good, this a tough course. People coming from different parts of the country have no idea what they are getting into.”

“Umm, ok, thanks.”

I just try to look confident even though I never feel good when I’m in fitness centers where all these competitive people congregate.

Shuttle schedule from Health Club to Starting line.

Shuttle schedule from Health Club to Starting line.

Part of my reasoning behind doing it is to see if I still “have it”.

I ran in a marathon once, but I was 24 years old, and nothing was all that hard at that age. I felt invincible. You’d think with age you get more sure of what you can do, but I haven’t found that to be the case at all. I find after making a few big blunders over the years, I’m more prone to second-guess myself. That can be good and bad.

Being overly confident in youth, money, the ability to succeed or stay cool under pressure are potentially good things, but I don’t think anything that leads to arrogance is good in the long run. But there has to be a balance between not doing anything for fear of failure and stepping out and trying things that aren’t a guarantee. One minute I think, “You got this. Just put one foot in front of the other and you’ll be fine.” Then at other times it’s, “Gosh, what if you get one of those cramps in your hamstring or one of your knees gives out and you can’t finish?” But what’s that about? Fear of failure. Fear. Fear. Fear. You can’t let it rule you. I’d rather at least give it a try. It’s sort of a marathon for introverts. They cap it at 200 participants and when I left the gym, there were only 105 on the list. Perfect. That lowers my stress level a lot. I’ve been to the races (to watch) where there are 10,000 runners and to me, that’s just a nightmare. The last marathon I ran was in 1997 in Kona, Hawaii and there were 113 people running if I remember correctly, which was great. Like most stressful things, I just tell myself, “24 hours from now it’ll be over either way.”

Training road on Blacktail Mountain

Training road on Blacktail Mountain

I think the name of the race is significant, being the “TwoBear Marathon” considering we’re going to Russia for outreach.

They say bears are walking the streets there. Time will tell.