Posts Tagged With: fear

Don’t be an Embarrassed Runner

There’s no reason to be.  I bring this up because recently I’ve had a few interactions with people, who for whatever reason, are embarrassed to work out.  I guess I didn’t really know that so many people feel this way.  But I hear that they think everyone is judging them (either in the gym or on the roads) and they don’t want to be embarrassed by how they look working out.  They tell me that they are self conscience about their bodies, their running pace, their lack of knowledge around gym equipment, their age, etc. etc. etc.

I have never felt that way.  Well, except for once.  I had just had wrist surgery, and once I was cleared to start rehab, the only weights I could lift were 2-3 lbs.  So I hid in a side room at the gym so nobody would see me doing curls with baby weights.  But then a group of body builders came in the same room and stripped down to g-strings and started critiquing each others poses, as they were preparing for a competition.  I was trapped in the room, surrounded by giant men in tiny banana hammocks, lifting 2 pound dumbbells – so yes, I was a little embarrassed.

But anyway, I seem to recall in college someone telling me they were intimidated being around buff dudes in the gym, so they didn’t go.  Now I’m not saying I was buff, but I was on the cheerleading team and we had to lift weights…a lot.  The gym was our second home.  And yes, we had a strength and conditioning coach, just like every other sports team on campus.  Here’s photo proof of my involvement:

Here's my fav cheerleading photo (Hint--I'm the one on the bottom)

My fav cheerleading photo (Hint–I’m the one on the bottom)

I remember talking to some of the other regulars at the gym and asked if they ever judged anyone else, and they all said “No.”  They were too busy focusing on their own workouts.  In fact, they said they actually respect the out of shape people they see in the gym.  They respect how their in there working to get better.  The only time they don’t is when someone just shows up one time and quits.  Or people who are just there doing things half-butted.  But if you are there and committed, then others respect you, no matter what your fitness level is.

This goes for people running too.  Whenever I pass another runner, I don’t say to myself, “They should not be out here.”  Instead I think, “Hey, another runner trying to get better, just like me.”

And when I’m in my car and pass by someone running, I’m always jealous.  I’d rather be out there on my feet than on my vehicular wheels.

So to sum up:  lift the weights, run the roads, swim the the pools, bike the streets, yoga the yoga mats, do whatever it is you like to do without fear.  Nobody is judging how fast you run, how much weight you can lift, how unflexible  you are, etc, etc.   Chances are, you are actually being respected or envied……Unless of course you’re doing something weird, like stealing all the paper towels and putting them in her giant purse, like I saw an old lady at the gym do the other week.  If that’s the case, then yes, I am judging you Mrs. Paper Towel Stealer.

Categories: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wildlife Run

Unlike most people, I like to run in scenic places.  Problem is that I live in a suburb of a city and it’s not very scenic.  So I try to run in parks whenever possible.  Occasionally I’ll run at Arbor Hills Nature Preserve.  I like it there as there are both paved and non paved trails.  They wind all over and there are endless possibilities for routes.  Also, there are usually lots of other folks out there being active too.  Only thing is that it’s a nature preserve, so there are wild animals out there.  I have no problem with that, but I will tell you one thing – it keeps you on your toes.

There have been several times I’ve been out there running where I’ve had to jump over a snake on the trail.  That’s freaky, but that adrenaline keeps you running, I tell you!  After you jump over a snake, every single stick and root on the ground looks like another snake in my mind!

A couple of times I’ve been there either early in the morning or in the early evening when it’s dark out.  There are no lights on the trails, and if there’s no moon out, it can be hard to see what’s around you.  But what is freaky deaky is that you can hear animals scurrying about.  Chances are most of them are rabbits, but there could be bobcats, coyotes, snakes, or even mountain lions (I’ve been told).

I tell you this because in each of those experiences, I definitely picked up my pace.  I read a Matthew McConaughey story one time where he recommended running in perceived dangerous locations to keep your adrenaline pumping and your feet moving.  Let me tell you, it works.

This is all on my mind because last night I was running through a park near my house and I came upon a wild bobcat.  The sun was setting and it was getting dark.  I was on a paved trail that went through a wooded area.  I saw a few rabbits take of frightened into the woods as I startled them.  That was jumpy enough for me as I didn’t see them until I was right on top of them.  But then, I turned a corner and apparently startled a bobcat that was on the trail right in front of me.  It shot off into the woods.  But I could see it’s glowing eyes looking at me from the woods.  I didn’t know what to do, so I stopped.  I decided not to continue on that path as the bobcat could be up ahead.  Luckily there was another path to my right, and I took it.  The rest of the run though, I was looking over my shoulder to see if it was behind me.  I know that I scared it more than it scared me, but still.

Don’t get me wrong, it was cool seeing one in the wild, but freaky.  And I definitely picked up my pace a bit to get out of the wooded area as soon as I could.  I also made it a point to make loud noises the rest of that portion of my run, hoping that it would warn them I was coming and hopefully they’d be gone before I got there, if that makes sense.

So there you go, if you want to run faster than you are, just put yourself in a scary situation.  Most of the fear is going to be all in your head, anyway.  I’ve actually heard of an app that puts zombie grunts, footsteps, etc. in your ipod when you’re running.  They noises gradually get louder and more frequent until you’re at a sprint, then it calms down and starts over again.

Something to think on.

Categories: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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