I haven’t trained enough. The trail will be tough. Pretty sure I’ll be the last one to cross the finish line. We have to run up a mountain. The weather forecast is a beast.
Stinging nettles.
It’s in the middle of a huge forest.
I’m going to get lost.

Did I mention bears?

My left calf feels pretty tight. Need to clean my hydration pack. Can’t find the stash of Tailwind. The race starts too early. It’s too far away. Hell, it’s too far to run anyway. I’m short on sleep. My right knee hurts. Either my allergies are still flaring up or it’s the start of a sinus infection or a definite case of brain-eating amoeba. The aid stations are too far apart. Creek crossings. Stomping through a swamp. I’m afraid I’ll forget my Bodyglide and chafe my tender bits by mile nine.

I’ve got a million reasons to turn away.

Nobody would miss the presence of one back-of-the-pack runner at a race this large. The aid station personnel and course workers would be able to go home earlier if I skipped out on this one. Just another slow runner out on the trail mucking things up. Not one person is counting on me to be there.

Still, there’s something. Somewhere, deep inside, there’s a need to run this race. To show up and battle myself. To fight back against the doubts; step into fear. Even if I come in last or look stupid or fail to finish the race…just to know that I tried.

I will make the journey. I will step up and feel that I’m alive. I will use the trail to learn who I am.

I will toe the line.