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!
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.