As I have posted before, I like looking at the search terms people use to find my site.
And it looks like there are a lot of people signed up for upcoming races who are worried about finishing.
“Is there shame in the sag wagon for Tinkerbell”
“What if I don’t finish the race”
Don’t think like that! YOU WILL FINISH! You can do this! Think positive.
First off, if you’re the person running Tinker Bell, that race is in January. You have plenty of time to train! Get out there and get running. It’s a half marathon, so find a half marathon plan that has you run at least one long run of ten miles (or more – but ten is plenty). Will you do all the training runs? Probably not. I don’t know that I know anyone who has set up a training plan and stuck to every single run. Life happens! Get in the long runs and believe in yourself and you will be fine.
The key here is to do your best. Is there shame in ending up on the sag wagon (meaning that you’ve fallen behind pace and been picked up and transported to the finish). Absolutely not. It’s sad, and I know I would be bawling if it happened to me. But it happens. Even the best laid plans sometimes fall apart. People get injured during races. People get sick before the race. These things happen. And there is no shame.
Now, I’ve talked about the idea of taking a medal even though you don’t finish the whole race. To summarize – I don’t like it. Yes, you trained. Yes, you paid the money. But it’s a finisher’s medal. If it weren’t, the race organizers would hand it out at packet pickup. But that is your choice. Personally, I would want something good to come out of my bad experience so if it were a runDisney race, I would take the medal and then sell it on eBay (there are Disney collectors out there who don’t care that it was a race – they want everything Disney) and then I would donate the money to a charity.
But you know what? You’re not going to have to worry about that. You’re going to earn that medal. You’re going to cross the finish line.
The fear of not being able to finish is familiar to a lot of runners. During my first half marathon, the 2010 Disneyland Half Marathon, I wasn’t convinced that I could do it until I hit mile ten and realized that I had well over an hour to finish within the 3:30 time limit. At that moment, I teared up. I knew that I could run 3.1 miles in an hour. I could walk 3.1 miles in an hour. I was going to finish.
And that first finish… it’s a beautiful moment. It’s an amazing sense of accomplishment, and if you’ve never experienced it, I am so excited for you to finally have that feeling.
I admit it. I am terrified of my first marathon coming up in January. I’m crazy excited, but I’m scared. I’ve never run more than 14 miles. But I have a training plan and I’m going to stick to it as best I can. I’m scared something will happen and I won’t get the (beautiful) medal. But I have to stay confident. Sure, I’ll have moments of doubt. But I know I will have a moment during the race where I realize I will finish and I know that I will cry when I cross the finish line. I can’t wait.
You’ve got this and you can do it. We can do it.