72 hours from this moment, this moment that I’m writing this…”the gun will go off”, so to speak, and I will begin what will be the most difficult race I’ve ever run…The Vermont Spartan Beast. It will test me, it will try me, and it will push me to my limits. It will show me what I’m really made of. And y’know what I’ve come to accept?

I must not fear.

I must not fear The Mountain. I must not fear The Beast. I just have to put one foot in front of the other and do it. It’s JUST a hike up a mountain. A really long hike…up a really steep mountain…with lots of obstacles…

Right. SO WHAT if this is the first time I’m running something so challenging? SO WHAT if it’s going to be at least 14 miles and 3 or 4 times up and down Mt. Killington? SO WHAT if I’ve NEVER run for 7+ hours in one go? And SO WHAT if the weather is unpredictable? I will admit – the last couple of weeks have been kind of an interesting roller coaster ride and frankly…I panicked a couple of times this past week. I heard it was going to be super cold, and I panicked about dressing warmly enough. I saw new obstacles that I wasn’t expecting, and I panicked that I hadn’t trained for them. I remembered I STILL can’t climb a damn rope…and I panicked.

But in the end, none of it matters. I have trained, I have prepared, and I am as ready as I will ever be. Self-doubt and worry will get me nowhere. I have to remember – I signed up for this. I wanted it. I wanted that race, I wanted that experience, and I wanted that finisher’s medal and the amazing sense of accomplishment that goes along with it. It’s time to go get it.

I suppose this mindset should apply to anything in life, really. Any race or competition you have coming up, any big exam (you signed up for the class, right?), any event or task at work (you applied for the job, didn’t you?)…it’s all the same. Fear, negative anticipation, dread, wild speculation and hype…none of it helps you swing on those monkey bars…none of it helps you climb up that rope or tackle that big mile-long hike up a black diamond trail…all it does is suck away your energy, your will, and your emotional strength. So why give in to it?

Suck it up, buttercup. Put on your big boy/girl pants and spartan the f**k up or don’t go on the mountain to begin with. I mean, you have to climb over a 6 foot wall to get to the starting corral…did you think this was going to be easy? As a wise man once said (very recently) – “Every single person reading this can finish – if you chose to. You can DNF right now, three days early – if you chose to let it get to you.”

I have accepted what is coming, and I’m ready for this. There’s no room for fear, just total ass-kickery.

So when you start worrying yourself silly…just remember the little gem below from one of my favorite books (this is The Litany Against Fear…bonus points if you know what book its from)

See you at the finish line.