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Lots of people think of the marathon as the penultimate act of fearlessness and determination. It’s a bucket list item, a major achievement that many will never claim. It is also a thing that forces you to stare down your demons and then spend hours on the road figuring out how to deal with them.

So perhaps you’d think that, post-26.2, there wouldn’t be much that would intimidate me. Perhaps?

Well, you would be wrong. I didn’t really think off myself as fearless after the marathon, but I did finally embrace some more confidence as a runner. It felt nice.

Then along came Donyale.

She’s my Atlanta Track Club-assigned coach. For the next six months, she has signed on to coach me toward my next goals. (this is a free service the ATC offers to members, and a super perk in my opinion.)

I have yet to meet Donyale. But I’m
already terrified of her.

You guys. She wants me on a track. Yes, running on a track. In front of people. People with eyes.

I’m currently typing this in the fetal position.

Y’all, I’ve not stepped foot on a track since middle school PE. When I was the round nerdy girl who was living out the movie Mean Girls before Tina Fey ever dreamed it up. When running was something the skinny, snickering girls did.

Please. Oh Please. Oh please not the track.

Ok, truth is I’m actually super excited about working with Donyale. She’s a track coach at Oglethorpe University, and she’s someone who loves running enough to volunteer to coach people she’s never met before. She’s going to work with me on form! And speed! She’s going to help me with my goals to run faster, more efficiently, and further into my life!

And I do know that speed starts on the track (I currently do my speed work on a perfectly flat road in my neighborhood. How I ended up living exactly one warm-up mile from the only flat road in metro Atlanta, I’ll never know.). So Donyale really is a welcome new figure in my life.

When I get back from Wisconsin next week, Donyale and I will meet for the first time, talk more about my goals, and find a future 5k that she will run with me.

BUT. We will also talk about how, in the meantime, she wants me to run a race in one of the May/June ATC All Comers Track Meet. This is where the terror commences. She’ll be with me, but I just can’t shake the flashbacks of ill-fitting polyester gym shorts and ridicule.

Somebody, anybody… Tell me there is life after being totally outclassed on the track…

Tell me this will be worth it.