40 min walk
I like to try and do some thinking while I’m running, but most of the time I’m concentrating on not dying. Generally when I run, some, if not all, of my route takes me onto the local bike path. It got me to thinking about how anxious I get around other people.
I read all sorts of things about running all the time, constantly trying to improve my training or to prevent re-injuring myself. I’ve read a lot of stuff about proper posture and breathing and how it’s best to hold your head up with your gaze looking ahead. I have a hard time with this because I have trouble making eye contact with people I don’t know. I look down when a car is approaching me. I look down until the last minute if a biker/runner/dog walker is approaching and then I’ll look up and attempt a “hi” so as not to be rude.
The first 5K race I did by myself (which was technically my second race, first running) was terrifying. I’m not gonna lie when I say that I got slightly teary-eyed after I left Tara on the sidewalk to go line up for the start. I was scared being by myself surrounded by strangers. Not only that, strangers that were WAY better runners than I was. I felt like I didn’t fit in. I didn’t know what I was doing, how it would go, how to move with the crowd as we started out.
As time has gone on, and I’ve now done many more races, it’s gotten a little more comfortable but I still have anxiety before every race. It was really tough doing two obstacles races (mostly) by myself. The first one I did, I ended up chatting with two women before the race and they were nice enough to let me run with them and they helped me at a couple of obstacles.
The second one I was completely solo. It was a nice team atmosphere, but I didn’t have anyone I knew to help me. There were 2 walls at that race that were VERY difficult to climb because there was nowhere to put your feet (and my upper body strength is lacking). On the first wall, a couple of girls cheered me on and helped me with my feet. The second wall was higher, but I couldn’t do it and no one helped me this time. I skipped the obstacle and teared up a little bit. Mostly out of anger/frustration (yes, I cry when I’m mad. I know it’s stupid). These walls were early on in the race so I just skipped it, sucked it up and kept on going because I was too anxious to ask anyone to actually help me.
I feel like the social aspect of my racing has gotten better. I’m also hoping it will continue to do so. Running has not only given me back a life in terms of my health, but is making me branch outside my comfort zone mentally. It’s scary, but hopeful.