My first marathon was a dream. I finished with my friend’s hand in mine. Angels sang. I think there were rainbows. And all of our friends and family were there to celebrate.
My second marathon was a nightmare. I trained alone. I drove to the race alone. I ran alone. And I crossed the finish line with my hands clenched in fists ready to punch the first person who dared to look at me.
Yet, while running with my friends during a half marathon last summer, we all decided it would be a great idea to train for a full marathon together. Oh, hey!
Everyone knows the first rule of running is to never make plans to run another race during a race! Somehow, I forgot about that.
Over the past 7 months since that race, I’ve had a number of health issues, a major career change, and stressful life events that haven’t left much time for more than 20-30 minutes of running every once in a while. Sure, I have been exercising, but short weights-focused workouts and sprint intervals have been more time efficient and better for my wellness.
Then yesterday, I saw one of my friends post on Instagram that she just finished her first training run for a full marathon. “Which one?” I asked innocently, obviously not remembering our pact. She replied and then wrote, “I thought you signed up.”
Luckily, I didn’t sign up.
Still, I found myself panicking. My brain started spinning. Everyone is running it! I’m totally going to miss out! Hmmm, where can I get some extra money so I can sign up? How can I explain this to Jamey? (That’s my husband, and he has had to listen to me whine about training runs more times than I care to admit. But I will: All of them.)
Then I started thinking about my health, and the toll very long distance running takes on my body and immune system. I am a believer that too much of a good thing is actually not that good for you. But I also believe “too much” is different for everyone. For me, right now, a full marathon is too much.
Before I could make a huge mistake, I forced myself to write back, “I’ll be there to cheer,” and then quickly exited Instagram and headed to the pantry for chocolate.
As it turns out FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out, is a real thing. It is rooted in humans’ ancient need to belong to a tribe in order to survive, but is exasperated by our newfound attachment to social media.
These days, I also find myself wanting to “Lean In,” and live my “Year of Yes.” But I suppose I wouldn’t know about those things without…social media.
Instead, I will be living a “Year of No, But...”
This could possibly be one of the best ideas I’ve ever had, and I didn’t even have it while running.
Suffering from full marathon FOMO? Here are some coping tips:
Kerrie Turcic is a runner from Maple Valley, Wash. Kerrie is currently a copywriter by day, and also a