I, like all of you, felt the urge to throw cash at my computer screen with every Black Friday & Cyber Monday email that screamed with unbeatable deals for the 2019 race season. At one point, I had my bank app open on my phone while I collected an excessive number of RAM-stressing tabs highlighting unbeatable race deals in my laptop’s browser all while sitting just inches from my ever-growing handwritten Christmas shopping list on the table; here, I perched just one click away from securing all of my 2019 goals and glory. Just minutes before I traded my retirement plan for branded bling to add to my accolades, my husband, step-daughter, brother-in-law, and even our two dogs approached me in my manic state where I sat at the kitchen table. Calmly, my husband spoke slowly first in his signature southern drawl, “Honey, it’s time we talk about your FOMO…”

Okay, maybe that last part was merely a dream, nay, a nightmare. Even if that intervention didn’t actually happen, I know I’m not the only OCR enthusiast who suffers from the 100% real, diagnosable—and treatable—condition known as FOMO, that is Fear Of Missing Out. If you or a loved one suspects that you are suffering from FOMO, please consult the following guide, soon to be pitched for inclusion to your favorite medical diagnosis website…

Overview & Causes

FOMO is marked by a seemingly uncontrollable urge to sign up for every event that the afflicted hears, sees, or learns of via email, social media, word of mouth, etc. The anxiety of passing on an event that yields unmatched feelings of swelling triumph, enviable swag, and celebratory libations fuels a desire so strong to compete that the fear of missing out overwhelms the afflicted. Though the exact cause remains unknown, it is a common belief that a racer becomes a carrier of FOMO upon participating in his/her first event. It is suspected that the condition is spread via contact transmission. FOMO is a cousin to influenza B and the now-obsolete Bieber Fever. One scholar categorizes FOMO as a form of addiction. More research is warranted.

But…but…the joy!


The most common symptom of FOMO is anxiety. Those afflicted may experience varying degrees of anxiety based on a number of factors including, but not limited to: experience level, competitive nature, current health, social media involvement, schedule flexibility, geographic location, socioeconomic status, innate desire to add to the bling collection, and many other factors. FOMO may also result in the following:

  • Irritability
  • Hunger
  • Greater than normal insensible perspiration
  • Thirst
  • Excessive nonsensical chatter, mostly to those in close proximity who are not aware of the acronym of OCR
  • Brief blackouts
  • Inhibition of reasoning, budgeting, and meditation


If one questions if he/she suffers from FOMO, and/or knows the acronym without consulting a search engine, he/she is likely a candidate for diagnosis. Currently, Western medicine does not recognize FOMO as a diagnosable condition, though it has been rumored to be featured on a popular long-running primetime medical drama that airs on Thursdays on ABC. One scholar maintains that if reading this brief causes anxiety and/or the reader has a web browser currently open to potentially register for a race, said reader may diagnose him/herself with FOMO. Retroactively, if a potential sufferer has signed up for an event purely out of social media pressure, as to miss out would result in feelings of sadness while scrolling social media following the chosen event, he/she is afflicted with a high-degree grade of FOMO. (The author/scholar requests that if a reader fits this description that he/she contact the author directly to participate in a research study for the benefit of future sufferers.)


The wide world of science has yet to discover a cure for FOMO; however, carriers of the condition maintain that it is treatable. Provided is a list of steps to consider based the suggestions of the currently afflicted:

  1. Acknowledge the problem: If one is torn between groceries for the week and adding another event this weekend, it’s time to admit that there is a problem.
  2. Evaluate goals in terms of current training status: If to date the afflicted has run a few local 5Ks does there exist an actual need of a purple belt buckle from the mountains next week or would a shorter distance and purchasing of a basic belt buckle keep the pants up just as well this year?
    • Set realistic goals for next year
    • Commit adequate time and energy to train in relation to the time available to give to maintain a work/life/slay balance.
  3. Get off the grid: Stop scrolling on #MedalMonday lamenting the weekend’s epic Netflix binge in comparison with everyone else’s race day triumphs. The sufferer should feel proud that he/she watched a full series in one weekend. Similar–celebrate little victories.
  4. Prioritize recovery: Rest is an important cog in the ever-grinding machine. Remember that it’s okay to skip this event this time. Chances are, there’s always next year. Return to item 2.ii

Killington = the birthplace of FOMO

Managing & Support

In the event the afflicted is overwhelmed by FOMO due to an injury, prior commitments, financial conflict, or other, it is advised that he/she spend that time in a supportive environment. Perhaps that means dedicating time to a particular aspect of training for a different upcoming event; maybe that means registering for the same event the following year; or, and most remarkably, that may even mean engaging in a hobby completely separate from OCR. *Please note that this radical method of managing the condition has received little to no research by the scholar thus far, though shows promise in other observations.

In conclusion, while FOMO has not yet hit pandemic levels, the incidence has been trending upward as many racers enter the 2018 offseason. Potential sufferers are encouraged to lean on each other to cope with the affliction. Though it once was considered to be a phantom condition, as it turns out, FOMO most certainly is real.

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