In 2 weeks I will compete in my first Ultra Marathon.

And I’m so so scared.

I’m so nervous that I find myself shaking at the very thought of the 50km distance. I feel like breaking down in tears at the thought of standing on the starting line and the imagery of the hills that I have to climb make my knees weak with anticipation (and not in the good ‘boy band’ kind of way). I feel (imaginary) twinges in old injuries and worry about getting new ones; and not to mention my phobia of catching the flu that the 3 kids have had this week. I’m doubting myself, questioning my abilities and wondering if I can sweet talk my way into a full refund. But if I’m honest with myself I know I don’t want to give up. I’m just scared of the unknown.

It’s all about the fear.

My rationale brain knows I’ve trained hard, done the miles and put in the effort to be able to make the distance but that pesky, insecure part of me keeps rearing it’s ugly head making me second guess myself. “What if I can’t do it?”.

Then the thoughts of ‘self sabbotage’ start to creep in “Maybe if I miss tomorrows long run then I’ll have an excuse if I can’t do it on race day”.

This is then quickly followed quickly by the ‘training guilt’. Training for distance events means you need to spend a lot of time out on the trails. You sacrifice precious family time each week to run solo in the cold and rain, through bushland and up hills in the pursuit of your own goals. “If I don’t do well (or in my case just finish!) on race day has all the sacrifice been for nothing? Have I let my family down? Have I been selfish?”

Then there’s the short-tempered fuse (aka nerves) that cause not only me, but everyone around me to be walking on egg shells. If only stress caused me to be become Little Miss Sunshine rather than Little Miss Nasty!

Finally, there’s the race day fears. What if I need to go to the toilet in the middle of nowhere (#feedingtheroos)? How will I cope if I have my period (unfortunately very likely)? What will I do if my head starts to give up before my body?

I know that all these feeling are normal for an Ultra rookie, or for that matter a rookie at any distance. We are all first timers at some stage of our lives, and not just as runners. We have all had to face the fear and do it anyway (childbirth anyone??) so that’s just what I’m going to do.

Instead of my nerves turning into fears I will turn them into gratitude and excitement.

I will think of the mammoth challenge I have set myself and the joy of having the ability to even try it. I will think of the beautiful bush I will run through and the sea that I get to run alongside of. I will think of the amazing people that I will get to meet and share my experience with as I plod my way along the 50km course.

But most of all I will think of the trip to the Chocolate Factory I have rewarded myself with on the Sunday!

In 2 weeks I will compete in my first Ultra Marathon.

Let me rephrase that. I will COMPLETE my first Ultra Marathon.


Lisa McInerney is an RMA, Mum of 3, Chiropractor and healthy recipe developer and you can find her on her blog here