Do you ever get The Fear? That feeling that grabs your guts and twists them until you feel like you can’t breath anymore. When I was “young, free and single” and went out drinking more often, The Fear was a regular visitor the “morning after” – I am very sensitive to stimulants so even alcohol induces this. Anything stronger than that and I would be very messed up.
These days The Fear is caused by different things as I rarely go out boozing anymore (let’s just forget about the wedding last weekend – I am still paying the price for that). Anything that takes me “up” will also bring me down into the cold embrace of the this horrible feeling. I suspect that the endorphins released by running are also inducing low doses of The Fear.
**Now, I should say that The Fear shouldn’t be confused with The Panic which can be identified by the sudden lurging feeling in the stomach and jelly legs. This I usually experience with my son when he does things like scooting fast whilst looking backwards – he has hit a tree more than once. All parents must be familiar with the pure feeling of The Panic when your child is climbing up the super high structure in the playground and you realise he has reached the point where you can’t reach him anymore. I suppose it is an analogy to them growing up, sooner or later they will be independent and on their own. You are there, ready to catch them if they fall, even if you would prefer to be up there to keep them from falling in the first place. It is scary.
I was thinking about The Fear yesterday when I was doing my hill run session. My body still hasn’t recovered from the night of madness last weekend; my legs are heavy and tired, my lungs are half of what they were and I am sleeping poorly which is affecting how I feel generally. And I was terrified before the run, knowing it would be tough. In fact, I am afraid before every single run. Afraid of what, you might ask.
Well, I am afraid of (here comes the list):
– that this is the run when I won’t be able to complete it; I NEVER stop and I NEVER walk. But what if this time I have no choice?
– that my stomach fails me mid-run; I have never had to dash for the bushes but it has been close
– that my “true colours” will be revealed and the world will see that I don’t really have the faintest idea what I am doing
– the pain; I am afraid of the pain and that I cannot overcome it
– that I will finally snap at some poor idiot pedestrian blocking the pavement or a driver who won’t stop at a zebra crossing
I think mainly, I am afraid of failure. I am always afraid that this is going to be a bad run. And I know they happen – it is part of the cycle to have good runs and bad runs. But running has started to define me in a way that nothing ever really has. I have never been hugely ambitious at work or one of those natural born home makers. The labels Mother, Wife or whatever have never really described WHO I am and what I am capable of. “Runner” is the first label I feel I have had to earn or am still earning. It speaks of hard work, dedication, ambition, passion and the ability to overcome. I have given my heart and soul to running and I am afraid it still isn’t enough. I am not saying I am the fastest or able to run the furthest. I don’t need to. I just need to be able to run faster and further than I did before.
And yeah, some runs defeat you. You do them but you may not have done them as well as you had wanted to. Some runs just kick my ass but then sometimes I am doing the ass kicking. But every time I put on my runners, turn on the gps and hit the road I have won half the battle already. I have defeated The Fear and I am out there proving it wrong.