One thing I learned from my years of actual horseback riding is the sooner you get back on the horse, the better. The longer you wait, the more time there is for fear to creep in, and fear can be crippling.
I successfully "got right back on the horse" of running in general, and have stuck to my training, but the "horse" of racing has yet to be remounted.
A part of me would like to wait a long, long time before attempting to run another 5K. It would be nice to have run 3.1 miles so many times that I could do it in my sleep, such that there would be no question about whether I could finish without walking. At the same time, I know that if I wait too long, the head games will start all over again and I'll have a big wall of fear standing between me and running a complete race. I need to get back on this horse as soon as I can.
To that end, today I registered for the Semper Fi Fund 5K which will be held two weeks from tomorrow. It benefits a worthy charity, and a dear friend who will be visiting from out-of-town is going to run it with me.
The one drawback of this race is that I will be attending a wedding rehearsal and dinner the night before, and thus may not get to bed too early. I pretty much never get a full night's sleep anyway, and though I'm sure I would perform better with more sleep than I currently get, at least my body is accustomed to exercise while tired.
I promise not to freak out this time if I don't manage to run the whole race. Completing the distance without walking is still my goal, but to be honest, I'm no longer that confident that I can do it. I'm going into it this time accepting that I might fall short of my goal. The difference this time is that any failure will be a physical one, not a mental one. If I take a walk break, it will be because I literally HAVE to, not because I'm giving up when things get tough. And you can bet I'll start running again and finish STRONG no matter what happens!