Pushing Past Fear

A funny thing happened today when I went for a run.

Per my usual routine, I ran to a small park by my house with some winding paths that are nice to run on. As I approached a woman walking two large dogs at that park, I saw she was speaking to me and pulled out my ear buds. I slowed to a stop and asked her to repeat what she had said. She proceed to offer me a warning that there was a man by himself around the corner. A little thrown off, I thanked her, put my headphones back in, and picked up my pace again.

Sure enough, right around the bend, an older man was just standing on the side of the path.

He didn’t follow me, and nothing happened, other than me becoming paranoid until I exited the park (a little quicker than I originally intended). But the encounter got me thinking about a topic that often comes to mind when I am running:

I hate that I am afraid.

Afraid when I go for a run on a trail (even in the middle of the day).

Afraid to run without my phone.

Afraid to run after it gets dark.

I’m not sure how it even started, but for as long as I can remember, I have always been on edge when I am running (and it’s not that I live in a bad area or anything). Or even just walking to my car alone late at night. When I went to Temple, my pace was usually just a tad faster walking to the train stop or from the stop to my house after dark. Maybe it’s because I’ve always been on the smaller side and never a great athlete, but this lack of trust and fear somehow became ingrained into me.

Even if all I am exuding is confidence, there’s a good chance that what’s underneath isn’t quite so sure.

It can be easy to let fear consume your thoughts. But I’ve found that the best way to overcome fear to is do what scares you in spite of it.

If I waited to go for a run until I felt 100% safe, I may never go for another run.  I’d probably not go anywhere after dark and definitely wouldn’t travel abroad alone. But I continue to do all of those things despite my fear, and my life is richer for it. I use common sense about things like running at night (I don’t, even though that’d be my ideal time) and trust my gut when something seems off. But I refuse to let my fears, rational or not, stop me from enjoying life.

“Thinking will not overcome fear but action will.”  — W. Clement Stone



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