Taking the fear out of running

I have a fear of heights. And snakes. But mostly heights.Roller coasters are devices of torture. The mere thought of one makes my heart pound and my palms sweat. I don’t get the fun of being thrown around, secured by nothing more than a polyester seatbelt and someone else’s faith in physics.But I also have a fear of looking stupid, so when I was 18 and my date took me to Lagoon, it was as if all my fears collided into one gigantic horror flick, with me as the star.

Of course he wanted to ride everything, including the Colossus, which not only throws you around but turns you upside down. I feel my lunch come up as I write this even now.

Not wanting to admit that I was a 4-year-old in an 18-year-old body, I pretended to be thrilled at the prospect. For three minutes that dragged into eternity, my world was a blur of color and screams. I disembarked the torture cave with shaky legs and a spinning head. My date? That was our first and our last. Enough said.

My point, though, is when I say I’m going to do something, I do it. Putting my intentions out there to the world is enough to motivate me. I don’t want to look stupid, after all.

So I’m putting my 2012 running intentions out there.

First, I want to run more local races that I haven’t done. The first one on my list is the Thanksgiving Point Half Marathon on April 28. I’ve run in our beautiful mountains, but never through the tulip gardens. I hope to do more than just tip-toe through those tulips.

Second, I want to run more races with friends. That means that some of my races may be a little slower, but I can guarantee they’ll be more fun. I’ll start with the Lake-to-Lake Relay in St. George in March.

Third, I want to finish the Utah Grand Slam. I did this last year and even came in as the first overall female, but it didn’t happen without a fair amount of physical sacrifice. I ended the Grand Slam with a fractured foot and a sore IT band. I ran three of the four marathons with strep throat. Not long after, I suffered some from some serious back issues. This year, I want to finish physically whole.

Fourth, I want to run the Boston Marathon this year for my grandpa who passed away from Alzheimer’s. His example of hard work and perseverance has never left me, and this is my way of showing him that I get it.

Finally, I want to run a half marathon with my husband. Doing what I love with someone I love sounds like my idea of the perfect date. I don’t know if he’d agree, but this is my list, not his.

Doing something different isn’t always comfortable, but most times I’m glad I tried something new. There was a day when running itself was new. Where would I be if I hadn’t laced up my shoes for that first run?

Write down your intentions for the upcoming running season and include a few new goals for me. There really isn’t anything to be afraid of. Except maybe stray dogs.

Kim Cowart is a wife, mother, 24-Hour Fitness instructor and marathoner whose family thought it was funny to watch her suffering through the “Soarin'” ride at Disney World.

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