Afraid to Run

Hi, my name is Danielle. I’ve run 50 marathons and dozens of half marathons, and I’ve been writing about it for almost five (!!!) years.

And I am afraid to run.

It might seem ridiculous to say that and it’s probably even more ridiculous to hear it, but when I think about the feelings I have had towards running lately, most of them are rooted in fear. That fear has led me to run less and less to the point where now, I am barely running at all. It seems like worlds away from where I was years ago, when a half marathon was nothing and a marathon was more than doable. It’s even a vast departure from just a few months ago, when I was working on training for what was supposed to be a goal race at the Pocatello Half Marathon. A lot sure has changed since then!

p1000819-1024x768-19 Ah, the good old days! Marine Corps Marathon 2012

Running hasn’t quite felt easy for a long time, but the past couple of months have been especially hard. Since getting back from Nicaragua, it’s been one thing after the other in terms of my physical health. Between a chest cold, repeated issues with my back, and ongoing digestive issues, running has started to feel intimidating. It started out as trying to deal with a few issues and not being able to run consistently, but then, everything started to snowball.

Now, every time I think about running, my thought process starts spiraling. Will I be able to finish my run without stopping? Will my back go out on me? What if my stomach starts freaking out and I can’t get to the bathroom? What if I have to take a million walk breaks? Combine that with relentless fatigue and near constant headaches and let’s just say it’s not very hard for me to talk myself out of going for a run.

But just because I’m feeling afraid of running doesn’t mean that I don’t miss it. I definitely do! And I find myself thinking about running all the time (and cycling, but that’s a different story for a different day) and just not doing it. So much of this is a result of foolish expectations I have placed on myself based on where I used to be in terms of fitness, ability, and health. It’s silly, but I can’t help but remember how things used to be. Of course, I’m not stupid, and I realize that the only way to get my fitness back is to start working on it in the first place. But even when I make that link, then the fear of injury and sickness comes back – it’s a vicious cycle.

img_7613-e1474937757260-768x1024-19 #FearFace

But while I do need to make sure to be careful and take care of my health, I also can’t allow myself to make excuses. So it’s time to get back on the horse with not only running, but fitness in general. I started Monday night, with a short run around my neighborhood. I thought I would have to take a bunch of walk breaks, but I actually didn’t end up walking at all. My back was achy at the end, but it wasn’t the end of the world. It will be a long, slow road back (literally), but I’m ready for running to be a refuge for me again. It’s time!

LEAVE A COMMENT: How do you get out of a running rut?