Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Fear

"I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain."
Dune by Frank Herbert

I've faced the fear before, when training for the Medoc Trail Marathon. The fear of injury. The fear of failure. It's no easier this time for Umstead.

Strange that having a mediocre, almost trivial, goal in a race would so easily open the doors and allow fear to slink into my mind. Stranger still that I would be unable to shake free of that fear. Then again, the investment of time and effort to achieve the goal has been anything but trivial. I suppose even a mediocre goal may become precious with enough devotion.

Maybe it's not the fear of failure. Failures may be redeemed after all. Maybe it's the fear of loss. Loss of time, the most precious gift of all. I don't know.

All I know is that I have the fear, but the fear will not have me.


  1. Based on your training and racing consistency through the trying holiday months, I think you will easily achieve your goals. You certainly have a firm grasp on the variables within your control.

    "Every man who's worth a damn feels fear. It's the use you make of it that counts.”
    ― Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie

  2. Crap, Scott, you totally read my mind! Every time I think about running the Umstead Marathon (less than 2 months away), I easily convince myself to prepare for an asskicking. I'm so afraid that I won't be able to finish. I mean, I hacked a 20-week training schedule into 10 weeks just so that I could build up to running 20 miles again. What the hell was I thinking?

    You'll be awesome, though. Your mileage base is fantastic. And, you know those trails so well.

    I recall being disturbed to some degree by that movie when I was a kid, so much so that I've pretty much forgotten it. I remember black robes...

  3. @Andrew - Thanks! I love that quote. I'm struggling with letting go of the things that I really have no control over. Work in progress...

    @Ash - Yeah, this goal fear and paranoia is getting old. I may stop setting goals for marathons if every training ramp is like this. Thanks for the vote of confidence though. Also, I'm sure you will finish, and with a much better time than me, even if you bonk. ;-) Oh, and the book is *much* better than that wonky movie.

  4. After Bigfoot gets through with you in Uwharrie, you won't have much fear left for Umstead.

  5. Crap! I keep forgetting about Bigfoot living in Uwharrie. Hopefully the "bear rule" applies. I won't need to be faster than Bigfoot, just faster than someone else the race. OK, now I'm really worried...

  6. Hey Scott! Man, the Litany on Fear has been a favorite of mine since I first read it back in... 1980? (!) And I think you may have inspired Jason a bit... Good write up!

  7. Thanks David! It's one of my favorite book quotes as well.

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