Doubling Down

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Doubling Down

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” – Ernest Hemingway

“A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.” – John Steinbeck

On Saturday, I registered for the Rock n’ Roll Savannah Half Marathon. What this means is that I put down cold, hard, non-refundable cash for the privilege of running 13.1 miles through the streets of Savannah, Georgia. For many people, signing up for a road race is no big deal. For me, it’s a total and complete ordeal.

I’ve wanted to run a Rock n’ Roll for ages. Savannah is hands down one my favorite towns. Running through the streets of Savannah would be heavenly. This should be a no-brainer. Instead, I stalled for days coming up with a million and one reasons why I shouldn’t go.

This is not how races get run, so on Saturday, I registered. Like I said, the race fee is non-refundable. Next, in what I can only describe as an act of total defiance, I booked a hotel room: for two nights. I made sure it was non-refundable too. I doubled down. I was immediately flooded with feelings of remorse and regret.

Anything could happen between now and then. My mind raced with the possibilities of things that could prevent me from showing up on race day. What if I’m sick? What if the weather turns bad? What if there’s an accident or emergency? What if my training goes poorly? What if I’m injured? The list went on and on and on.

The truth of the matter is I will go or not go, and I’ll either have a great run or the whole thing will suck. One never knows how it’s going to be with running. I can plan and train and do everything perfect and still go out and have a crap of a race. One lousy meal, weather that’s too hot or cold, or a bad night’s sleep can turn what should have been a great time into a 13.1 mile death march.

While my head knows this, the thought of having to live through the next several months with this event looming larger by the minute made my heart feel tight and the pit in my stomach grow larger. I decided to sit with the fear and uncertainty. I decided to lean into the discomfort.

What I realized is that it’s not just running races that sends me into a near panic attack. I realized that committing to any significant event that requires planning, dedication, and an outlay of cash, causes me to do a stress spiral. For years, I’ve stressed over vacations, social events, weekend outings, you name it.

That being said, I’m not a total wreck. I own a house, pay taxes, and take care of my family. I’m a good employee and team player. I’m a solid problem solver be they my problems or those of family or friends. I work hard to help other people (as long as they aren’t lying and stealing) reach their goals.

It’s just when it comes to me committing to something that I find exciting, enjoyable, or interesting that it all falls apart. If it’s something that I deeply care about, that I really want, then I begin to fuss and fret myself into a frenzy.

Is it fear of failure or fear of success? It doesn’t really matter. What I finally realized is that what this race is really about is the million and one things that I do between now and then. It’s about the weights lifted and miles run. It’s about rest and recovery. It’s about the food I eat and vitamins I take. It’s about holding space on that weekend for myself. It’s about saying no to what doesn’t propel me towards this goal and yes to what does. It’s about accepting that regardless of the outcome the experience was worth the effort.

The truth is that when I show up on race day, all the work has already been done. It doesn’t matter if I’m sick or well, if it’s hot or cold, if I run a personal record or not. The race started on Saturday. It started the moment I hit the button and transferred the funds. It’s about the journey and getting there.

All I can do is prepare and do everything in my power to make sure I’m on the starting line at the appointed time. All I can do is lean in, work for the best, and know that regardless of the outcome I was exactly where I was suppose to be doing exactly what I needed to do every step of the way.



  1. I do the stress spiral dance with my much longed for goals too. Funny how hard we are on ourselves and how motivational we are for others! Good luck with the Journey Denise, and I can’t wait to hear about the end result! xxxx

    • This being so supportive of others and so hard ourselves is an idea I’ve spent a lot of time with over the past couple of years. Time to cheer myself on along with all those I love so well.

  2. Very nice! I had a sort of similar situation where I outlaid cash for a hotel room, etc. not knowing if it would work out…and by golly I also just decided whether it all “worked out the way it was supposed to” didn’t matter. What mattered is that I had a plan. I also decided I was going to be sure to use that hotel room, whether it was for the convention I intended to attend, or for some rest and relaxation for me or my family or a friend. It really didn’t matter, it was going to serve a purpose. I didn’t have to stress about the “what ifs” any longer because I had the room booked, and I assigned it it’s purpose and back up purpose, and was happy with that decision. Strangely enough,(you know me, life is what’s happening while I am making other plans) it actually went according to the original plan!

    • That’s what I’m talking about J. At the very least, someone is going to have a nice weekend on Tybee Island. I’m voting for me, but I’ll roll with whatever happens.

  3. Oh, so familiar! My finger hovers over the buy now button for days, even if it’s just a book I think I want. For something big or long term, it usually doesn’t get past the hover stage. Good for you for going for it! Love hearing about your adventures, and always relieved to hear I’m not the only crazy, angst-filled person out there! Hugs to you!

    • I’ve felt emboldened by this commitment. So much so, that I’m contemplating two more very large and scary adventures. My finger has been hovering for several days…I’m not cured.

  4. Denise, bravo for committing to the race! That was a response to your heart’s desire. (Your brain will do funky things to convince you otherwise in the mean time… please disregard.) I recently read this quote: “Isn’t amazing how people spend more time planning their vacations than their lives?” (Words to that effect.) Sounds to me like you’ve planned both. Go for it!

    • Thank you. Planning is good but I want to become a woman of action.

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