Sunday, June 14, 2009

Overcoming Fear of Disaster

One week. That's all I have left, one week until Ironman CDA. I thought I had run out of things to say.

About the taper: all the little aches and pains are subsiding, I'm feeling rested, taper is doing exactly what it's supposed to do. About the race: I'm getting a grip on my mental race strategy, thinking about it regularly. About nutrition: I've been practicing all my race nutrition regularly and not overindulging socially -- much to my surprise, I even declined the offer of a lifetime last night: a chocolate vodka pudding shot (it looked like heaven in a cup, *cry*).

So, I've done it, I made it to Week One and I'm still relatively intact, both mentally and physically. What could I possibly be afraid of? Again, the voice of my former track coach, John Klarman, echoes in my mind: "What are the three D's that runners need to beware of?" The answer? "Dogs, drivers, and...... doctors." The punchline was: "DOCTORS."

For me, the punchline is: "DRIVERS." Although it took a while to physically recover, I don't think I ever fully recovered mentally from being hit by a truck in 2003. It was the end of my athletic motivation for five years. It happened six days before Half-Ironman Utah. I was on my last long ride before the race, feeling great, very excited, and WHAMMO! An 82-year-old man with very poor eyesight took a left turn and slammed right into me from the side. In broad daylight. I went over the hood of his truck and landed on my head. Twice. (I bounced.) The only thing I remember from impact to impact was praying that I would survive.

I learned quite a bit in the days and years that would follow. What's important in life. Who my friends are. How to appreciate all the little things. How great it is to be alive. Corny, I know, but all the cliches about a near-death experience are true. And I can't say enough about how important it is to wear a helmet while biking. (I became a great advocate of that as well.)

But, to get back to my race... and my training... I never shook that fear, that the same thing could happen every time I ride my bike. I am deathly afraid of cars and trucks and DRIVERS. It's not as bad as it was the first year back, but I certainly slow down every time I see a driver at an intersection. Even if I have the right-of-way, I do not trust the person behind the wheel, knowing that in bike vs. car, bike always loses.

But today, I have to get out on my bike and conquer the fear. On the bike that replaced the bike I lost (see photo). To end on a lighthearted note... when I bought my first bike, the Cannondale R600, one of the things I loved most about it was the color. It was a black matte finish with black glossy letters. We used to call it "run-me-over-black." All I can say about that is: live and learn. 

1 comment:

  1. Very thoughtfull post on overcoming fear .It should be very much helpfull.

    Karim - Creating Power