I'M NOT AFRAID
Today I did a thing. A thing that I have been so scared to do for so long. We're talking years and years. And it wasn't necessarily a fear of the thing itself. It was more a fear of the mere thought of doing it. Of all the what ifs and possible drawbacks of doing it. We'll get to what the "it" is soon enough. But first, let's go into story telling mode for a minute.
Today I ran 9 miles for the second time in my life. Yup you read that right. The first time, if you're an avid read of this blog you might know this fact, was on my 22nd birthday back in March. There is no possible comparison between this run and that one, although they were both full of firsts. Today, I knew that I could run the distance. And that I could do it with a smile on my face and with a positive attitude.
What I didn't know, however, was just how monumental this run was going to end up being. It started out pretty much like any other run. I took the first mile slow, then ran miles 2-4 at a decently fast pace. Probably way too fast for someone who was going to be tackling such a daunting distance. I had barely started lap 2 when I noticed that my tank top was absolutely drenched in sweat. Like, I could no longer wipe away the sweat on my face with it drenched.
For anyone who has the misfortune of having to run with glasses in the heat, you know how terrible this scenario is. Even that early on in my run, the thought of just saying screw it I'm going to run in my sports bra entered into my mind for a brief moment. I mean, what's the worst that could happen? However, the though of actually having to physically stop running for 15-20 seconds in order to take my tank top off seemed impossible at that point.
So, I trotted on, doing my best to keep my spirits up and focus off of the immense amount of sweat that was dripping from my face. Fast forward to the critical transition between laps 2 and 3. I had removed my glasses by this point, and was in no mood to tackle the mini hill or normal 3-4 hills that I have been adding on to my long runs lately at the end. With that in mind, I opted to pretty much just repeat a good portion of lap 2 in order to accumulate some extra hill free miles.
Let me tell you, running without glasses is honestly still a pretty weird experience for me. Especially when it's broad daylight and I've gotten used to actually being able to see where I'm going. It basically meant that I had to be hyper aware of every bump/crack in the road/sidewalk and all of the cars/semis/etc. around me. Oh, and do all this whilst lipsyncing to Demi Lovato and trying to remain upbeat and cheerful.
By some miracle, I was able to tackle the mini hill with no issues after my second loop down 11th street. At this juncture, I felt the strong urge to check my watch to see exactly where I was at distance/pace wise But, I didn't. I was feeling good (or as good as you can when you're soaked in sweat and running around visually impaired) and I really wanted to hold onto that for as long as possible. As I sprinted down hill towards the edge of town, several minutes later I finally glanced at my watch.
6.80 miles. Already? I guess skipping out on those end of run hills really did make things more enjoyable and go by faster. Welp, off to the twisty trail we go! You see, the great thing about the twisty trail is that you're on the outskirts of town with way less traffic and people. Aka spectators. So, there really is not harm in running like an idiot or running around in a sports bra.
At the 7.13 mile mark I had finally had enough. The heat/sweat had gotten the better of me. It was time. Time to ditch the insecurities. Ditch the fear of what other people would think/say. I took a minute to take my tank top off, hang it around my neck, and then took off running again. Those first few moments were a little bit uncomfortable. I definitely felt cooler, but a little off at the same time. Like, maybe this wasn't on of my better ideas.
A funny thing happened as I finished my first twisty trail lap and headed into my second, I realized that running in a sports bra really, truthfully was not scary. AT ALL. It wasn't a big deal, I didn't feel self-conscious like I thought I would. I felt strong. Bad ass. Like a real runner. Like someone who actually has more confidence that a cardboard box lying along the side of the road. When I saw a car drive past me (that obviously could have been someone I knew) I didn't freak out or get super anxious. I just focused on running my run. Doing me thing regardless of what anyone else thought.
Words really cannot describe how monumental of a day this was for me. How much strength and courage it took for me to not only run in a sports bra...but to record the experience out on the Internet for virtually anyone in the world to read.
I'm putting this specific story out there, in hopes that someone who is afraid of something (literally anything) will read this and come to the realization that you're not really afraid of "it." You're more afraid of the thought of it. The unknown. The what if's and the thousands of potential negative consequences you have created in your head. It's all bullshit.
Don't let that fear hold you back. Or keep you from living your life from the fullest. If you have to, do it afraid. Be okay with the flood of emotions you're going to experience along the way. Anxiety. Self-Doubt. Overwhelming Pride. Strength. Most importantly, remember that it doesn't matter what anyone else says/thinks. Because, you're living your life for YOU. So, don't be afraid to really live it. Take chances. Fall flat on your face. But make sure you get right back up, and face fear head on.