Last week I traveled for work for the first time ever. That meant a lot of “firsts” for me, and took me way outside of my comfort zone. It was my first time driving myself to the airport and flying solo. And my first time renting a car and driving by myself in a completely unfamiliar place. Everything went smoothly (except for the part when I couldn’t figure out how to start the “keyless car”). However, turns out that, even at the age of 34, I’m a bit of a wuss about doing new things on my own…I was SCARED. But, I was determined to not let my fear hold me back.
Before my trip, I did everything I could think of to prepare for success. I packed my most “confident” outfit…
And found a State Park just 45 minutes from my hotel, so that I could have a mini-adventure on my one evening with no work commitments.
Once I arrived at the school where I would spend my day, my nerves settled and I felt more at home among teachers and children. I was able to meet new people and relax a bit…until lunch. Because I didn’t pack any food, I had to venture out on my own. I really, really, really wish I didn’t mind eating in restaurants by myself. But, I don’t like it. At. All. Am I the only one who feels this way?!
Sometimes I wonder what’s wrong with me…
One of the teachers told me I should try out the “taco” place next door. I was game. Tacos sounded great, and not having to drive the keyless car anywhere also sounded pretty great. So, I walked next door to find a taco place that did not have a single “normal” taco. It was crazy. Every taco on their menu had at least one ingredient that I couldn’t read, and I’m nearly positive there weren’t any “Mexican flavored” options. I was clueless, and once again felt out of place and uncomfortable. That seemed to be the theme of my trip…
Instead of risking a bad choice, I asked the attendant what the two most popular tacos were, and then opted to go with those. I wish I could tell you what they were called, but I couldn’t pronounce them then, and I can’t remember them now! I can tell you this though, they were ah-mazing.
I’m not normally one to take pictures of my food, but they were just that good. And the adorable view was worth a pic as well. It was definitely the best solo restaurant experience I’ve had to date.
Once I finished up my work day, I changed into my running gear (minus socks because I forgot them in the hotel…UGH!), and input the address of Raven Rock State Park into my GPS. Not being used to travel, I was exhausted and almost changed my mind about the adventure numerous times, thinking that I could just go relax at the hotel instead. But, luckily, I remembered my prior determination to make the most out of my trip, and drove the 45 minutes to the park.
I knew there was a 5 mile trail with basically no chances to get lost (according to the map…), and chose that as my route. At first, I was giddy. Out there on the trails, I finally felt like myself for the first time on that trip. It felt like home.
I even felt comfortable enough to set my phone up for some selfies.
I was loving life.
But then, as the time ticked on, and the trails proved to be more and more challenging, and I didn’t see a single soul, I started to panic.
What was I thinking going to a trail that I knew nothing about in a place that I knew nothing about?
What if something happened to me out here? No one even knows where I am.
Why didn’t I stop and buy pepper spray? This was not a good idea…
I tried to push the thoughts out of my mind, but they kept creeping back in. Suddenly every frantic squirrel scurrying in the woods set my blood pressure sky high. I was scared. Really scared.
I said a few prayers and was determined to not let the fear steal this opportunity from me. The scenery was absolutely beautiful and I was going to enjoy it…dang it!
I finished off the 5.5 mile
sockless run with a sense of accomplishment (and a hashtag that read #bettertobebravethanboring). Should I have been out there alone? I really don’t know. But, I do know that if given the chance, I will do it again! Next time, with pepper spray.
When it comes down to it, I think I was scared for about 75% of that trip. Silly? Probably. But it helps me to remember that even in fear, we can accomplish some pretty great things.
And that’s what I’m holding on to as I get ready to run my marathon on Saturday. Because, truth is, I’m scared. Terrified actually. But I know that I have done my work to prepare, and I’m not going to let fear keep me from going out there and giving it my all.
Sparkle.Pounce.Breathe in Courage.Exhale Fear.