Saturday, August 6, 2011

Facing My Fears

This morning I woke up, tied my shoes, and did what so many of you do each day  -  I stepped outside for a run (actually I drove to my desired place to run to, but who is really keeping track of these things).  It was humid and hot and early.  But I felt determined....and scared.  Scared that this run was going to hurt like the others, scared that I would not be able to make it back to my car and be forced to walk back and scared that if I could not do this I certainly could not do an entire marathon.

In the end, I faced my fear.  I took a deep breath, turned on the Ipod, clicked the Garmin and threw caution to the wind (I know I live on the dangerous side).  In the end, I still felt pain in my right foot (not to mention the wonderful blister I developed around Mile 9 on my left heel to make things totally off balanced).  But was the run better than last week - maybe.  The point is I got out there and tried (with the ok of my PT of course).  And I was able to complete the 10 miles.  It was not easy, it did involve stopping for water a ton, just slowing down or stopping when I needed to, and being gentle with myself.

BEING GENTLE.  What an interesting concept that that I do not apply enough to many things in life especially running.  It has taken me a long time (and I still struggle with it) to learn how to be gentle with myself and my running.  Not so long ago, a voice in my head would be very angry when my runs did not go as well, it would compare compare compare - compare it to my better times, compare it to other people, and compare angrily telling me that I could do better and since I did not do better that my day was ruined. And ruin my day it did.  A hobby/sport (whatever you want to call it) that was supposed to be fun and stress relieving just created more stress, more unanswered questions and more worries!

Why am I not going faster?
Why am I so tired?
Why do I always get hurt?  
Why can't I try harder?

But at some point somewhere, that little voice has changed and I noticed it today as I faced my fears.  I could face them because that old voice had changed and become gentle with me.  Telling me to do the best I could and whatever that was it was ok.  The voice said:

It is ok that this felt hard - running IS hard
It is ok that I need to stop for water just a mile after the first water stop - it is HOT
It is ok I am breathing hard - It is HUMID

And then the reasoning stops and it is just ok...
It is ok I am going slower!
It is ok that I needed a Shotblok at Mile 7 out of 10 !
It is ok that my time is slower - for no reason, other than it IS OK!

In the end, was it a perfect run - no, not my any means.  Did I get to go have a pain free run - no.  And am I still afraid? Yes.  But I have begun to gain something - the gift of being gentle.  Of remembering what running can be and should be.  And even though it is hard and painful now, that it is ok and it is just for right now...

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