Running is not something I ever thought I’d do (voluntarily). Being diagnosed with asthma at age 3 and forever being told not to run, ever, pretty much squashed any inkling or aptitude I may have had. As a result, I hated track and field day, and I was always picked last for team sports. Always. In jr high, I played soccer (goalkeeper) and volleyball, and pretty much managed to avoid running. I was more than happy to keep running out of my life.
What changed? Why on God’s green earth would I start running in my late 30s? WHO am I becoming?!?! Well, there are a few answers. At first , it was what all my cool friends, the Chicks over at Scootadoot, were doing. Since we are all spread out across the country, I thought running would be a good way to stay connected to my girls. Plus, it’s good for me, and that never hurts. Now that I’ve been doing it for a bit, I run for one reason, stress relief (but more about that later).
I still have some issues with running, though. There are things I’m still worried about, mainly because I’m a worrier. It’s what I do. Here’s the top five:
1. Losing my boobs. Because really, I can’t afford for that to happen. I have none to spare. I know, this is shallow and shitty, but it’s honest. I’m fortunate to have a healthy self-image and I’m proud of my body, but if my tiny ta-tas disappear I will be super sad panda.
2. Scary stories my dad told me about running. My dad was a body builder and personal trainer at Gold’s Gym for many years. His favorite soapbox topic was how running was the worst exercise one could subject their fragile joints to. He would bemoan its benefits in favor of convincing me that runners destroyed the cartridge in their knees, hips, and ankles. “You don’t want to be hobbling around with a cane when you’re fifty, do you?” He also swore running was a definite boob-shrinker.
3. An asthma attack will finally kill me. Training in Colorado at a mile above sea level adds to this anxiety and certainly makes breathing difficult during running. However, I try to focus on the upside of the altitude problem by remembering that when I go to my next race at sea level, I’m going to KILL IT. (Or so the theory goes.)
4. I will lose too much weight. I know. Go ahead and grumble under your breath about how that must be a nice problem to have. I agree, generally it isn’t a bad problem to have. Generally. I happen to be one if those rarities who represent the other side of the weight spectrum. That’s the side that is never talked about, because there’s no reason to talk about us. However, on many occasions I have been asked if I’m anorexic or bulimic, and the answer is, was, and always will be, no. But lemme tell ya, it’s a super shitty feeling to try to convince someone you don’t have an eating disorder, and have to endure their pity filled looks of disbelief when you tell them you had chicken fried steak and eggs for breakfast.
5. Personal safety. I have a lot of fears about being attacked, raped, murdered, all of the above, or worse, sold into slavery. Most of it is ridiculous, and highly unlikely in my tiny town, but my unnatural fears may have something to do with that time I really was almost kidnapped as a child. There was a big scary van with no windows involved, and to this day those kind of vans creep me the eff out. To ease my fears when running, I went and bought some police mace last week. What I really want to have is a black belt in some amazing kick-ass martial art technique. Maybe that’s what’s next? I imagine myself like the women in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, utterly capable of subduing any threat with a thorough and decisive ass kicking, no sword needed.
Until then, I’ll carry my mace, be extra aware of my surroundings, and take my little dog, Coco, with me when I can. I’ll also carry my stupid inhaler on every run, just as I’ve carried it with me everywhere my whole life. I’ll be checking the mirror and scale more often, too, watching to make sure I’m not shrinking in all the wrong places. And I’ll be worrying. Worrying about whatever, doesn’t matter. You can count on it!
What fears did you overcome when you started running? Any advice for chronic worrying or addictions to fried food? Help?