It all begins with an idea, a suggestion from a friend, or surfing the internet at odd hours of the night.  Our goals and racing plans sometimes come together when we least expect it.  But the hardest part, for many of us, is clicking “submit” and registering for that next big adventure.

I have a habit, and I know I’m not alone, of signing up for races in complete secrecy.  I may have a goal in mind but lots of doubts and fears to go along with it.  After a couple days of contemplating and obsessing, I’ll finally pull the trigger and sign up (biting my nails all the while), but I don’t tell a soul.  Then, I’ll start training, telling friends and family that I’m just keeping up with my running routine.  And finally, when I’ve gotten to the peak weeks of my training plan, I’ll explain what I’ve been up to all this time.  (Note: I went through this exact pattern this fall when signing up for my first ultra.)

On Tuesday, I did something I thought I’d never do.  I signed up for a 50 Mile race.  I’d done my research and as I saw the capacity start to get closer to 100%, I registered just before it closed.  When I got my confirmation email, I was jittery with nerves and excitement.  Dealing with it the only way I know how, I headed out the door for a run.  I started to think about why I’ve continued my pattern of keeping my races and goals a secret.

We’ve all met those people who say “your knees will give out?”, “we’re not meant to run that far”, “is that healthy?”, “why so far?”, “are you sure you can do it?”, “will you get hurt”, the list is endless.  I’ve never given a real answer to those questions because truthfully, I have those same questions.  These thoughts cross my mind every time I run, but so far, I’ve been lucky and healthy enough to accomplish lots of things I never thought I would.

I’ve learned a lot in 2011 about the mental aspects of running, self-doubt and goal setting.  All it takes is a leap of faith and determination; the rest will fall into place.  So this time around, no more secrets.   I’ll be at the Finish Line of the Lake Sonoma 50 Miler on April 14th even if it takes me all day to get there.

Have any of you registered for a race or set a goal secretly? Who do you talk to about your running?  When do you finally get the courage to register for a race you’re scared of?