Source: What's Newton Running?
Source: What’s Newton Running?

There are only five more sleeps until I run my first marathon and I am starting to think that this adventure might take the cake in the ‘in over my head‘ category.  In fact I noticed today that whenever the topic came up, my tendency was to make very unsure comments about my ability to even complete the race, let alone cross the finish line in one piece.

So what is this all about?

I guess I could easily blame my negative thoughts on my lack of training, which could be blamed on all the things that keep me busy; or I could say that these thoughts are caused by other people’s reaction when I tell them what I am doing this weekend, “that’s crazy…I can’t even run 3 km, let alone 42;” or I could  blame all the negativity on simple garden variety doubt because I have never run a marathon before, so how do I know I can?

In reality, this all stems from fear.  Fear that my body isn’t strong enough to support me through this, fear that my time to complete will be hopelessly embarrassing; and at the root of all that, a simple fear that I am not good enough to do this.  Silly, right?

The good news is tonight, during a very gentle yoga class and an amazing breathing exercise; that I will share another day, I resolved to battle my fear by focusing on my greatest source of comfort and peace; gratitude.  Specifically, gratitude for my body and all the things it can do and carry me through.  The yoga teacher stated it as an eloquent intention for our practice;

Tonight I want you to focus on the pleasure you experience from movement.

It is a simple, but subtle shift that we can all make.  We may not love and appreciate all the physical attributes of our bodies, but few people can deny that our bodies are miraculous organisms that allow us so much freedom and so many experiences that we often take for granted.  Our bodies walk, talk, hear, hug, swim, hike, bike, and pleasure.  They cool us, warm us, sense danger, comfort others, play games, pet animals, listen to others, build things, breathe, and of course, run.  Now these are worth appreciating.

While you may never have felt the desire to take on such a challenging physical goal, I am sure you have agreed to participate in something and then wondered, ‘why the hell did I sign up for this?’  Of course you have, which is why I wanted to share this experience with you.  In case you are also facing a situation where you are afraid that you can’t see something through.  It might not be a physical venture, but perhaps you have a difficult decision you need to make, a tough presentation to deliver at work, an uncomfortable conversation with a loved one, or a social engagement you aren’t sure you will survive.  Regardless of the situation, I know you can have the same shift in your perspective by doing two simple things.

First, take a moment and look for something in the process or experience that you can be grateful for and second, draw your attention and focus to your gratitude each time you become aware of the fearful thoughts.

You may need to affirm it to yourself a few times before it feels true or you could try writing it down and posting it somewhere that you will see it often.  However you choose to shift your attention, I promise that if you appreciate even one element of the process or a potential positive outcome that could bring you more joy, it will shift your feelings from fear to love.  The only thing you have to lose by trying is your fear.

As for the marathon; it may take me longer than I like and I know it will be challenging, but I am determined to love and appreciate every kilometer these legs will take me.

With love and gratitude,


PS – If you want to follow my marathong journey on Sunday I will do my best to tweet along the way.  You can find me on twitter @prettynewshoes

Use the comment section below to share any shifts you make with your fearful thoughts.  What did you find in your experience to be grateful for?


Marathon sized fear
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9 thoughts on “Marathon sized fear

  • 24 July, 2013 at 12:53 am

    Thank you for this… It’s exactly what I needed to read after the day/night I’ve had, and it reminded me to stop wallowing and worrying and just simply be grateful. 🙂

    • 24 July, 2013 at 5:54 am

      I’m glad it helped Jennifer – the Universe has a magical way of giving us what we need just when we need it the most! xo

  • 24 July, 2013 at 6:38 am

    I understand this all too well… fear can keep us exactly where we are… but growth is the goal… physically, spiritually and emotionally… thank you for reminding me that stepping outside my comfort zone and truly challenging myself is the only way I can evolve in all aspects of my life! Good luck on Sunday … you’ll be amazing..not just amazed at how beautiful the journey is.

    • 24 July, 2013 at 6:57 am

      Thank-you for sharing your perspective on this Dina and for your support along the way – you are absolutely right about the goal being growth from the experience! Thank-you for being an inspiration to me and many others in our ‘community’!

  • 24 July, 2013 at 6:54 am

    One of my favorite quotes, that wondrously came into my life just as I was about to under go, with great fear and trepidation ,my second chemo treatment and didnt think I could…..was this one by Eleanor Roosevelt
    ” You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”
    These words made me beleive that I would do all my treatments, be grateful to have them available to me and to enjoy each and every moment life gifted me. I still love those words and recall them often.
    YOU are an amazing woman, mother and friend. each step you take in your journey makes us look deeper into out selves to test those waters. Thank you for sharing the fears and joys and the huge small lessons in our day to day moments.
    I have no doubt in my mind that you will rock this marathon in your own step by step way 🙂
    I will leave you with the great words of wisdom from Henry Ford….
    “Wether you think you can, or you think you can’t….you’re right.”
    Wether you finish or not just signing up for it is huge! Do your best and each step of the way remember to breathe and believe you are amazing!
    Cindy xoxoxox

  • 24 July, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    I appreciate your honesty Melanie and your fear is only natural. The Melanie I know has overcome many fears, obstacles and challenges in the past and I have no doubt in my mind that you will succeed in finishing your marathon too. Best wishes for a great marathon (journey). I’ll be thinking about you. You GO girl!

    • 24 July, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      Thank-you for your love and support Stacey! xo

  • 26 July, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    Wonderful post, Mel 🙂

    All I can say is that the power of our breath is one of life’s greatest gifts. When we begin to understand and experience first-hand how our breath works, how we can work with it, how we can control it, we then begin to understand how to overcome fears, battles, see clearly, get new perspective, and so much more. And your post above, is a wonderful example (!) of body and mind connection.

    Can’t wait to hear what breathing exercise you practiced 🙂

    And GOOD LUCK!!! You’ll smash it! xoxo

  • 28 July, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    Hey Mel, Of course, I was a little hesitant on the run you were taking, but after hearing of your achievement, I was so excited for you! Your are awesome! Very proud! Auntie Shirley ps: I felt so proud of myself when I did the Sun Run years ago with no training, but I had a great partner to encourage me and stay on track. I know my physical endevour was small compared to yours but in my mind it was huge, and I loved every minute of it. Once again, congrats, love Auntie Shirley


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