I’ve been experiencing some anxiety when it comes to running. The night before my 10 mile race last month, I had serious race anxiety. The anxiety for this weekend’s half started on Tuesday, so I reached out to my Facebook running group. We share our struggles and triumphs, mostly with running but also with life when need be. Our group is dedicated to praying for the members – through racing, injuries, and fear.

(Our group photo, courtesy of Clay)

When I expressed my anxiety to the group, one of the ladies suggested I go back to the drawing board. I race so much these days, getting caught up in PRs and new experiences, I have forgotten why I run in the first place. Turns out, I have had a board laying out each of the reasons I’m a runner.

Several years ago, The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans gave their readers homework – build a motivational board. First up Derek Redmond “I’m going to finish my race.” I remember watching those Olympic games in awe. How could anyone push through injury to finish a race? 

Being active is a part of my life. There are so many things I want to tackle, including a hiking/camping trip through the Appalachian Trail. I’ve never been camping, so I’m not sure I’ll ever be made of sturdy enough stuff to hike the AT in its entirety, but I do enjoy being able to hike on any given day without effort. 

My niece and nephew have grown so much since I made this board! They’ve been at the finish line of races and I love the encouragement I get from my sister and her whole family. The Princess wanted to bring me flowers at the finish line of one of my first 5Ks. Instead, my mom convinced her to bring me a stuffed animal (from a collection at home). Now I see her gift every night before going to bed.

Something I’ve gotten away from is having a “race verse.” Maybe its because I’m racing too much. Isaiah 40:31 was written on my arm for my first marathon. I repeated 2 Timothy 1:7 over and over during a monster bike climb during my first triathlon. Maybe I should go back to scripture memorization for/during races?

And finally – finishing on the 50. Only this time, instead of going for my fastest 5K time ever, I’ll be heading into the University of Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium to run the last 50 yards of 26.2 miles. Right or wrong, this marathon training cycle is all about getting that PR. No clue what a reasonable finishing time might be, but I’m a faster runner than I was 2 years ago when I last races this distance. That’s gotta count for something.

Motivation. Sure PRs are part of what motivates me, but they don’t tell the whole story. And its about time I remembered that.