I admit it. It terrifies me. I’ve committed to a new goal.

This shouldn’t be so difficult. After all, I’ve visualized this for years and years. I saw this person in my mind that could do this particular activity well and was in tip top shape to do it. Yet, the other day, when I showed up to do this particular thing, I chickened out, and was intimidated by those around me who made this thing look so easy, and they had no nerves about them at all. They were laughing and joking like it was the most natural thing in the world, and I stared at the group, and then slowly slipped by them into oblivion. I admit it, I didn’t have the guts.

But now? I’ve faced my fears. I told the coach that I really wanted to do it but was nervous about whether I could really do it and he has convinced me that I can; and now? I’ve done it. I’ve actually done it.

I’ve joined a running club!

I know, I know, I can hear you now! What’s the big deal? Grab a pair of running shoes, hydrate your body and go for a run. I know, I do it all the time too. But what I have just committed to was regular coaching, time trials, regular workouts, and a team of other runners who will keep me going even when I want to quit. And if I know myself, I know that might be more often than most.

I have always prided myself on being an athlete. I was always one of the fastest kids in elementary school and had trophies to prove it! I was a competitive swimmer and made it to state meet in high school and placed in the top 12 of my stroke. I was on a nationally ranked medley relay team and actually swam in the lane next to Tracy Caukins, the amazing All- American swimmer in the 80s. (I said in the LANE next to her, not NEXT to her!)

Even now, I feel athletic. I go to the YMCA and do my workouts several times a week. I was a member of a masters swim team for a few years and diligently showed up at 5:30am practice 3-4 days a week. And I go for runs in my neighborhood to break a sweat.

Why is this different? Well, have you ever looked at something with those wishful eyes, knowing in your heart that it could be you, it should be you, yet there is something holding you back? Have you ever seen someone accomplish the exact goal that you set out to do, but something happened that didn’t allow you to complete your goal? Did you feel the jealousy? Did you feel the pain? Did you feel the envy? Or how about the anger at yourself for not doing it! Then, come the excuses and then, nothing. For me, it’s always been a lame attempt to achieve a goal that I thought just wasn’t meant to be. I did a few small races, and trained for some triathlons, but never ran in a race where I was really competing. I didn’t feel like I could do it well, so I didn’t even try.

Years ago, I remember standing in NYC on the first New Years Eve that we lived there, watching all of the runners dressed up in crazy costumes, ready to do the midnight 5K run. They had groups of people from all over the city, office workers who banded together to support one another on this wacky and fun night, all running together. I stood by many times watching the NYC Marathon runners, and the ones that brought tears to my eyes were the ones that finished 12, 15 and 20 hours later. They were the ones who were walking with prosthetics, or were blind, or walking to prove that they could still compete in the existence we know as life. I watched with utter respect, amazement and awe, and always wanted it to be me.

I stood on the sidelines, wishing.

And now? I’ve committed to give it my best shot. I’ve committed to show up and run with this committed group of runners a few times a week, even if I’m the last one to finish. My coach is an avid runner with such enthusiasm for the sport and for other people, that he makes it even sound fun! He won’t stand for an attitude of anything but positive, so I’m now recharging my thoughts with positive messages that I’ll call upon when I’m in pain and want to quit.

Today, I’m facing the terror. Tomorrow I face the stop watch.

And one day, I’ll be writing the day before my first race. By then, I’ll have hopefully put in many miles on my shoes, and I’ll be facing my nerves from a different place. My body will be ready to meet the miles with strength and endurance. My goal of a ½ a marathon may turn into something more.

But now, its one day at a time. I’m facing the fear and doing it anyway.

This time, it feels good.