If you’re visiting for the first time after reading my guest post over at No More Bacon, welcome! If not, the back story to this post is over there, so go read that and come back.
Time to face the facts; I’m afraid. While my fears run the gamut from fairly common (snakes) to the never-seen-outside-of–my-biological-family-but-still-totally-justifiable (foam), I’d like to focus on my biggest; fear of the unknown.
I’m afraid that I’ll never get back to a place where running doesn’t hurt. I’m not talking about running endlessly and nothing ever aching. I could just do without the sudden burning pain from hip to knee, combined with nerve tinglies in my calf. Then there is that breath-taking experience of my knee buckling. Repeatedly. Followed by the two days of hobbling, the possibility of my left butt cheek going numb from the position my leg is in when I drive…
All real experiences. All things I am afraid I will experience again. At a deeper level, I’m afraid that by choosing running to be my form of therapy I have counted my proverbial chickens before they have completed their (extremely weird) outer uterine embryonic development. I don’t have a good way to ease the pressure of my demons without it.
I know we’re supposed to pursue things that we find challenging. That is how we grow. I really like growing. I love learning. But. But. But. I also see the wisdom in the Einstein quote that I already used in Part I of this saga. So where does that leave me? How do I know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em? How many times will I make the same bet and lose before I walk away?
I can’t answer those questions. All I know is that I can’t take the “what-ifs”. It will drive me insane. So even though logically I understand the gambler’s fallacy, I can hope that just this once, the story ends differently.
There is no clear line as to when you go from pursuing something that doesn’t come naturally to you (determination) and move into banging your head against a wall (stupidity). While I loathe comparisons drawn between childbirth and anything else (same goes for comparing the brain to any sort of machine, but I digress), I am comfortable with applying a lesson learned from childbirth to running.
Near the end of a pregnancy, women become consumed by the thought “Is this it? Is this labor?” Every. single. twinge. becomes monumental. Then, everyone she knows who has already given birth tells her the same, excruciatingly annoying thing “You’ll know.” Or even worse, “You’ll just know.” (The ‘just’ makes it condescending.)
May I choke on my tongue if I ever say that to a pregnant friend.
As frustrating as that non-answer might be, it is so right. When it happens for real, it’s incredibly obvious.
I’m applying that same principle to my running. As of yet, there have been no clear signs that I should give up running. For the sake of transparency, the signs I’m willing to accept are as follows: animals speaking to me to warn me against running (I’m talking multiple species & plain English here), the sudden growth of gills on my neck (this would imply I should go back to swimming), or having sinkholes opening up under me as I run (it would have to happen at least 3 times for me to believe it was more than coincidence and they would have to be large to house-swallowing).
So, yes. I am afraid. My fear doesn’t define me, and it won’t hold me back. I acknowledge it, accept it and now I’m ready to move forward.