break through fear

Running has been an off and on passion of mine since high school. It didn’t start with myself though. Like many things in life, motivation was kindled from the opposite sex. I was attracted to someone that joined the cross county team and so I did as well. I liked running already so it wasn’t a hard choice either and the high school girls I went to school with looked good in their short outfits. It’s easier to keep pace behind someone that you really want to keep looking at.

I continued running in high school and for fun in college but that’s also where things took a turn.

For anyone that runs or is any other sport that might have a similar concept, the Wall is something to come upon and to overcome. You hit the wall and you either smack into it and stop, or you push through it and keep going, letting the endorphins kick in and riding the wave.

In college I had a path I liked to take down to the mall and around back to campus. I can’t remember how long it was but it was long enough and fun with ups and downs and good scenery. There was one day though that things took a turn.

It was in the late fall/early winter and I think I started in the late afternoon. I was dressed in dark clothes because it was cold. If it had been a normal day and a normal run and I would have ended up right back at campus and life would have just continued on that path. But this day when I hit my wall and passed through it, I lost myself in the high. It’s something I normally enjoyed and looked forward to. Unfortunately I zoned out too deeply.

I remember seeing a flickering in the distance. A light bobbing up and down. It’s the movement that probably snapped me out of my state. The bobbing was from a set of car head lights moving up and down on the road. Had the road been flat I wonder if the constancy would have just kept me in the state I was, and I would have met a different ending with the car instead of moving out of the way.

As soon as I woke up from my state I also noticed that it was dark. Like pitch black no street lights and in the middle of nowhere. I saw woods on my left and fields on my right.

The other thing that I realized was that I was exhausted. Not just tired. I was spent. I remember looking at the fields and having the thought of going and laying down. I also had the next thought of what it would be like to wake up with a tractor bearing down on me, snakes and rats so I tossed out that option.

The road was just meant for light traffic and it was straight so I just turned around and started walking back. There was no way I could run though. I passed a couple houses and finally saw someone still raking leaves in front of their yard with the lights on. I approached the elderly man, making sure to make noise as I was walking, and introduced myself. I explained that I was away from campus running and got lost. He agreed to give me a ride back since I didn’t know where I was and without anything on me hopefully not a threat. The drive back took about 30 minutes from what I remember. In hindsight I wish I had been alert enough to see how far I had run. Needless to say the next day my body was a wreck.

The other problem I faced after that was fear.

I became afraid of running and zoning out again. I would get to the wall and just fizzle out there, usually slowing down or going to a walking pace. A hip injury later helped me to make excuses about not wanting to run as well.

But recently something changed. I was running on a treadmill and like usual I could feel the wall coming up and I was preparing to slow the pace down. But a thought occurred to me. I’m heavy and I have got to get back into shape. I can’t let this nonsense keep affecting me like this. I might zone out but on a treadmill I wouldn’t get lost and there would be other people around. So I tested out the waters, pushing down the fear as much as possible. I did it though. I slipped through the wall for a short time and felt the endorphins rush come back, pushing down the pain from my thighs and shin splints. Again I almost backed down worrying about readdiction to running and losing myself. Sadly at this stage I’m quite out of shape so it’s not like my body would have been able to keep going much longer as well. I haven’t had a chance to get back on and test the waters again but I feel a little better trying it out on the treadmill knowing I can program some safety into it like a set time or distance that will automatically start a cooldown even if i zone out.

Keep on keepin’

-SFA

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