My Strange Running Phobias

The act of running is tough, at least for me. It’s a physical and mental battle that happens each time I step out the door, and as much as I love it, I’ll be the first to admit that it takes very little to throw me off my game. Some people are cool as a cucumber on race day, but not me – I’m pretty much on the verge of vomiting until I cross that start line, and I don’t really know why, because at this point you’d think I’ve run enough races to get over it. While running with AJ the other day, I was reminded of all the little things that have the power to totally freak me out when I’m running. Obviously, they are all ridiculous.

1. Hearing other people breathe

I know. I know how crazy this sounds. When AJ and I were running the other day, he was breathing really hard because, quite frankly, he’s out of shape. I felt great and was having no problems continuing…until I heard him breathing like that. I cannot handle hearing people gasping for breath around me. It totally freaks me out no matter how great I feel. All of a sudden, I’m thinking “La la la, I feel great! Oh my gosh, why is that guy breathing like that? I must be running faster than I thought. If he’s not fine, I’m probably not fine. Oh no, there goes my heart! I’m dying. This is what a heart attack feels like. WHERE IS THE OXYGEN?” It’s ridiculous, but it’s true. I will always either speed up or slow down to get away from that person because I cannot run under those conditions. The absolute worst is when it happens at mile 4 of a marathon. I mean, really?


The hard breathers are the problem, not me.

2.  Getting my hands sticky from Gu or Gatorade

My version of hell is spilling Gatorade on myself at a water stop early on in a race and having my hands feel sticky for the next 20 miles. I have, on more than one occasion, stopped at the next water stop and poured water over my hands while scrubbing like a madwoman to get it off. Once my hands are all gross, it’s all I can think about and it really stresses me out. I also hate the feeling of most hand sanitizer, which is unfortunate, since it’s required for, you know, sanitation. This is actually kind of bizarre because I’m not a particularly finicky person about dirt or sweat or anything, but sticky hands? No. I cannot.



3. Toenails that are too long

Another fear of mine that AJ regularly reminds me of is my fear of my toenails being too long. You know what happens when you’re a runner and your toenails are too long? They hurt really bad and then they fall off. Who wants to experience this? No one. As it just so happens, my newly minted fiance (so fun to say, by the way) has the opposite fear of me. He is afraid of his nails being too short because it hurts if you cut them too short. Just looking at his feet gives me anxiety for days. It’s a constant fight whenever I get a pedicure because I always tell the lady to trim my nails shorter and she insists they cannot be any shorter. SHORTER, I SAY!


The crazy eyes come out when the toenails are too long.

4.  Realizing my iPod isn’t charged

Once upon a time, I always ran with music. I didn’t run with people very often, so I used music to motivate me and entertain me. The night before the San Diego marathon, I plugged my iPod in to charge. I woke up and got ready for the race. When I got to the start line, I discovered that my iPod somehow had low battery. Disaster! I knew I’d be running the race by myself and I was not used to running without music. I swore that I would never experience that pain again, so from that day forward, I stopped running with music almost completely. It was not worth the psychological torment of feeling like I couldn’t do the race without it. Now, I’m used to being in my own head and I just sing songs to myself and it’s fine. I guess this isn’t a fear anymore because I eliminated the problem, but whatever.


Bye iPod! Bye Felicia!

5. Sleeping past the start of the race

I’ve mentioned before on the blog that I never have good dreams, only nightmares. I also have recurring nightmares, one of which always happens the night before a marathon. I am terrified of sleeping through my alarm and missing the start, or setting my alarm incorrectly and missing the start, or any combination thereof. I always wake up in a cold sweat convinced that I missed the whole thing. It’s the worst whenever it gets light really early in the morning. I always set multiple alarms just in case, and I’ve never actually slept through an alarm in my life (who can do that?!) but the fear is real. Ugh, I’m getting upset just thinking about it.


Can I get Big Ange as my alarm clock? I would definitely wake up.

LEAVE A COMMENT: What are your strange runner phobias? Am I the only person who has them? Discuss.

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