Entering the expo to pick up my race packet for my first half marathon was a humiliating experience. Even though I’d trained, I felt like I didn’t deserved to be there. I compared myself to everyone else and I felt huge. I assumed everyone was judging me and wondering how in the world I expected to finish 13.1 miles. I had trouble making eye contact with the expo vendors.
John Bingham was one of the expo speakers and I planned my packet pick-up around his speaking schedule. He was and is my favorite writer on the subject of running. He’s credited with introducing the sport of running to ordinary Joes and Janes like me. I spoke with John and felt safe telling him that I wondered if I was too large to do a half marathon. He calmly replied, “You are not too large.” While it turned out he was right, I doubted him until I reached Mile 11.
While I enjoyed chatting with John, I was glad to get out of the expo.
I attended the expo with the attitude that I had just as much of a right to be there as everyone else. I made eye contact with vendors and runners alike. I even advised a fellow participant about a purchase she was about to make and she treated me like an expert on the subject.
It felt great to be free of the self doubt that ruined my expo experience two years ago.