Facing Fears

Alright, I admit it. I am afraid.

Lately, there have been too many stories on the news and in the papers about women being attacked while jogging. I do live in an area where I feel safe and I schedule my run while it is light out, but because of these incidents, I have been scared to go running on my own.

My roommate says to just stay in high-traffic areas. My mom says to carry a handful of rocks. I end up just talking myself out of going, saying I’ll try again the next day.

But yesterday, after way too much deliberating on my very oversized, very comfortable, and very persuasive couch, I finally decided to literally go out into the world and take on this fear.

I ran along the main road just outside of my neighborhood. Thanks in part to the location of my house and as well as to the topography of the Salt Lake Valley, the trek was all downhill on the way out but all uphill on the way back.

I hardly noticed the difficulty of the run, however, as I was more concerned with being very aware of what was going on around me. I had my phone and iPod tightly clutched in my left hand – just in case I needed to fling them like Chinese stars at any potential attackers, I suppose – and my music was turned down so low I could barely hear it over the speeding cars blowing past me.

Things seemed to be going well and as I turned around to head back home, I finally started to relax. But then, just as I had let my guard down, I noticed something coming at me in the corner of my eye.

Suddenly my music was too loud, dogs were barking, chasing my along the inside of the fence, and I started to really speed up. I finally worked up the courage to look over my shoulder to see who or what was coming after me…

Turns out, it was only the guy who had been delivering sodas to the gas station I had just past. He was walking around the truck to climb into the driver’s seat. Man, am I jumpy or what?

A few minutes later, I made it up the hill and back to my house, safe from all attackers, dogs and soda delivery guys.

I only ran about 1.5 miles – that’s as far as my body would take me after a four-week running hiatus – but what I accomplished yesterday actually had very little to do with distance. Rather, it was simply about going. While the fear that has allowed me to talk myself out of running on my own may seem quite silly to the general public, and it does to me as well, it is still very real.

But I faced it. I proved to myself that I could do it. And, while this may not be a typical running goal most people set, I still achieved it. And isn’t that, achieving goals, the point of running in the first place?

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