How to Beat Fear in the Human Race and Get a Shiny Medal

Okay, so maybe, if you beat fear out of your life, you won’t get a shiny gold medal.

But you should.

Living in fear is something so many people do every day.  And for some, fear is a legitimate reaction to preserve the human race.  If you live in Syria, for example.  If I lived in Syria, I am all in favor of my nervous system telling to get the hell outta somewhere dangerous.

But in the modern world, I’m not encountering real danger very often.  When was the last time the threat of death or even physical harm stopped you from doing anything?  Has fear stopped you from getting your eyebrows threaded/giving a speech/joining a circus?

I, being in lovely suburban, middle-class America, decided to go to get my eyebrows threaded one sunny afternoon.

And yet, despite the sun shining (er, rainclouds storming), birds chirping (I mean, the sound of construction workers tearing up the roads), I was wracked with anxiety.  I was literally shaking as I drove to the Place Where They Extract My Eyebrow Hairs.  I wanted to cry.  I was so overwhelmed with fear.

This is something I have done for several years.  (Ah, the power of the threader over my upkeep.)

But why?  I have, on occasion, ended up with manly eyebrows, and the world has not ended.   The process itself is quick and painless, too.

So.

In lieu of an actual medal, I give you a mneumonic to go through.  MEDAL: Meditate, Excavate, Detonate, Allocate, Lactate  (just kidding…the actual last word is Live, but I really wanted an -ate to finish off the list…ah, well, c’est la vie). 

Meditate:  Why are you so afraid?  Some thought, not much, needs to occur.  Be careful not to get too deep into your thoughts, which can lead to melancholy, over-analysis, and some serious Google-searching anxiety cropping up at three am over fears deeply rooted in your childhood.  Meditation is not the most important here.  Find a reason, settle upon it, and move on!  Most anything will do.  Realizing that there is a reason, however trite or important, and acknowledging it, is important.  In my case, I realized that it was because going to the Place Where They Extract My Eyebrow Hairs reminded me of my younger self, when I hated running into my peers there.  It was like going to the Place was openly admitting that I was an ape of hair.   An APE!

I was so convinced. This was the me the world saw.

Excavate:  Take those memories out of your head and put them in your current situation.  I have hair.  So does everyone else.  I take pride in taking care of myself, and if I feel great after the process, shouldn’t I feel great before and during the threading as well?

Detonate:  Imagine those memories, sticking them in a box, and exploding all the negative feelings and insecurities that (possibly) accompany them.  BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM.

Allocate:  Yes, that time in your life was bad.  Instead of ruminating on this, allocate those emotions to a better, more charitable use.  Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, donate that pity to a cause like  girls who can’t afford an education or perhaps contributing to the fund for fallen rangers who have died protecting apes.

Live: Finally, go get your eyebrows threaded/finish that speech/join a circus.  You’ve earned your medal.

 

Dare I Say It?

For the past two weeks, I haven’t dared utter a word of what I have been doing.

Running!

What has been taboo since March 23rd for me (after an ill-timed torn tendon), is now slowly creeping back into a habit. I have been taking the process extremely slow. I injured myself by doing too much too soon, and I’m determined not to do so again.

I’ve been jog/walking, actually, and even though I’m of the “if you put on running shoes and slog through any kind of weather, no matter what the speed, you’re a runner” camp, I felt as if I were deceiving myself.

Today I ran for six minutes and walked for one minute. Just for a mile. Granted, it was a slow mile, but I had no pain at all afterward. My watch even said I was on track for an 11:17 mile. I am going to focus on the fact that I RAN A MILE WITH NO PAIN and ignore that it was only a little over twelve minutes, actually, because I took two walk breaks.

I’m okay with walk breaks. (Repeat to self ten zillion times until I actually believe it.)

I know eventually I’m going to tear through the Walt Disney World Princess Half-Marathon, and I’m going to be in tip-top shape because I’m being careful.

I hope.

Ahhh, caution.

A good adventurer should not throw caution out the window. Maybe you should just tuck it in a back pocket–the kind with a zipper, you know, the one where it won’t fly away.

After over two months of molding my body to my couch (seriously), I’ve had a lot of time to ruminate about my running philosophy. After all, my life philosophy is to BE ADVENTUROUS.

How this translates into my running/fitness life:

Try new ways of cross-training. Rock climbing! Swimming! Biking! Even spin. Uh-oh. (My second-ever spin class post is coming this week! I blocked the memory of the first one out of my mind. From the horror.) Triathlon sounds like a fantastic idea to me–I can count cross-training as my real training! I love multi-tasking.

Be practical. I love the idea of barefoot running. Born to Run romanticizes it, but I have no doubts that humanity thrived barefoot for ages and the technique has its benefits. However, I don’t think it’s easy in the Northeast to run with my toes peeking out in the dead of winter. Minimalist running is a good compromise–I run in New Balance WT101 shoes. My knee problems have disappeared in them, and they’re both lightweight and durable. The majority of my running is asphalt, not trail, but whatever works! They’ve molded well to my feet and they’re comfy. I don’t need bells and whistles on my shoes as long as I can do what I have to–run, and run well. I shaved a minute from my mile time with my first timed run in these shoes, and I definitely think it was because lighter shoes made me increase my step cadence.

According to Galloway, “When you practice running with a lighter, quicker turnover, you become a faster, more efficient runner. An increased cadence also decreases your risk of injury, because your feet spend less time pounding the pavement.”

Sounds good to me!

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. I tooted this one around before, but now I truly try to follow it. I never skip a warm-up or cool down. There is a difference between “sore” and “hurt” and I learned it the hard way.

Happy adventuring! I’m back on track for my goals, and that’s a successful day in my mind, no matter how slow.