Before I started running, I was afraid of a lot of things (without even realizing it!) I was unhappy with myself (in basically every way possible) so putting myself out there was hard and I avoided it like the plague. Like I’ve talked about a little in a previous post – I started running solely to lose weight. I was SO uncomfortable in my own skin, and it makes me so sad to think about how I felt back then, now. Once I had been running for a few months, not only did my weight change, but my whole mindset along with it.
And after those first few months in 2013, I was already realizing that running was becoming more than just a weight loss tool to me. As spring weather started finally hitting Wisconsin, and I was losing a substantial amount of weight, I finally wasn’t afraid to run outside anymore. I had previously been running on the treadmill at my house because I was way too embarrassed to run in front of people. Also, winter in Wisconsin, so… no. It seems like such a small thing now, but this was a HUGE fear for me at the time. Some days I still battle that fear (i.e. yesterday)…
Once I was no longer paralyzed by fear of running in front of people, I signed up for my first race. Another massive hurdle for me to jump over. I signed up for a 5k that I read about in that race section in the back of Runner’s World (you know the one) and felt seriously ill immediately after. I was so afraid I wouldn’t be able to do it, that I would have to walk, etc. etc. general race fears (which I know now is normal, but at the time… all the emotions.) I ended up doing the Quarter Marathon (why is that a thing now?) and doing better than I actually thought was possible.
And isn’t that how it goes? Fear over what turns out to be nothing or something so minimal it’s laughable? One of the definitions of fear on dictionary.com (super legit resource, I know) is: anticipation of the possibility that something unpleasant will occur. And I think it stands to reason that we all should focus in on that little word in the middle – possibility. Who knows what will happen? What if the worst DOES happen? So. What. Conquer those fears. Whether they be small (running in front of other people) or big (ultramarathon anyone?!).
And if you need more inspiration to buck up and tackle your own fears – read up on Katherine Switzer’s story, if you don’t already know all about it. Basically, no woman had run the Boston Marathon before, and she was having none of that. So she signed up, put her lipstick on (Hell. Yes.), and was ready to start the race. Once the race director realized there was a woman in the race, he tried to pull her out (you’ve probably seen the pictures), inciting fear and chaos around Katherine and her companions. She overrode her fear of the situation and kept on trucking. She knew it was on her to prove that women can conquer the marathon distance. And she did. Freaking fearless.
Katherine’s story is inspiration to women runners everywhere, to this day. In fact, SkirtSports has a whole line called 261 Fearless (261 being Katherine’s bib number for the race, and fearless, because, duh.) inspired by the outfit she wore during the race. You can use the code SSCBR20 for 20% off this collection, or anything from SkirtSports!
I’ll leave you with some words of wisdom from my homegirl T. Swift:
“I think fearless is having fears but jumping anyway.”
True that. Acknowledge your fear. Accept it. Jump in anyways.