Finding confidence by defining it

There’s a mountain foot race that, in normal years, I would’ve run about two weeks ago. It is both my first mountain race and the only race I’ve run twice. The course is set out something like a figure-8, with one mountain peak sitting at the intersection of the two circles and a second peak at the top. The start and finish line are at the bottom. The long course takes the full “8” while the shorter course takes the bottom circle. I run the short course.

Ellevetindan and Mistfjorden seen from Fjærhesten, Kjerringøy, Norway

This setup is special for me because during my descent home, the frontrunners in the longer race begin overtaking me. Their confidence in descending carries them out of my view in minutes. Today’s adventure presented the opportunity to test my own confidence. On my assignment list is to work at increasing my speed during descents. I didn’t mean to probe at my thoughts on the idea, but visions of rapidly descending semi-professionals played in my memory as my feet carried me downhill.

Confidence is recognizing my strength to recover from a stumble without being afraid of that inevitable stumble.

My working definition of confidence.

It’s steep on Kjerringøy, and a severe misstep can mean exit via helicopter. The trails, where there are trails, oscillate among bare rock, thin soil, loose and rolly pebbles, and “traditional” trail. In today’s first stumble, my shoe rolled a few centimeters downhill on those loose pebbles to give enough freefall to send a dose of adrenaline flowing. When my shoe gripped again and I carried on with speed, I recognized that my newfound confidence wiped out any scary feeling of an adrenaline rush.

Sørvatnet, Kjerringøy, Norway.

Whether in work or play, healthy confidence is worth finding. How had I become confident? What did “confident” mean in this case? How can I transfer this feeling to contexts broader than running? Rather than sinking into a mire of questioning, I put a few seconds into defining confidence for me. Yes, literally on the run, I decided that I could be confident because I knew that a fall might hurt but wasn’t going to send me on a helicopter ride. I was confident I could recover from a fall while being unafraid of falling.

Fear rises in my professional and adventuring worlds. Next time I’ll be ready to recognize that sensation and swap it it out with a quick recognition of my confidence at knowing how to recover from a coming stumble.

Grandma’s roses, Kjerringøy, Norway.

Run on Strava

Published by Soldrevet

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