Two weeks away from the Muscat 10K and I feel nervous about travel plans, hotel arrangements and last-minute preparations for the race.
Gearing up for this event I have tried hard not to think about time but it constantly creeps into my thoughts during my training runs. I avoid looking at my Garmin and concentrate on how my body feels and attempt to keep pace accordingly. I listen to music and count my steps. Sometimes I imagine a positive ending to the race, me crossing the finish line with a few people still on the course behind me – an ideal ending.
Then, my mind wanders from this positive scenario and I see myself staggering, completely exhausted to the finish line as organizers and volunteers patiently wait for me, the last runner, so that they can take down the signs and pack up the equipment for next year’s race. I remind myself that there is absolutely no shame in finishing last. Somebody must finish last but I do not want to be this person.
I know the best strategy to overcome the fear of finishing last is to only compete against myself. I must focus on my goal of crossing the finish line. Time is not important. At the end of the day, I want to be able to say I completed the race with a leisurely pace, enjoyed the scenery and atmosphere and I didn’t create a scene. After all, making it to the finish line with the aid of a stretcher or help from some unknown spectator would be much worse than finishing last.