On Fear and Laughter

So, I am running again. Thank God. Really. But that also means jumping right back on the Hope-Fear Seesaw of Insanity. Every step that goes fine feels amazing, but I have to work to keep my big brain out of the way. While driving Aidan around, my mind wandered to some sick fantasy of a new and different injury that would stop me from running right as I am getting started. What? No thank you, brain, shut up, please. The Maestro said I need to “run free” and quit thinking about my foot, which is good advice, when I manage to follow it. The Celt said “don’t be afraid to run less” which earned him a big ol’ eye roll because of course I am worried about running less, but I am also worried about running at all.

Which is where I was Wednesday morning, staring at my treadmill. The Maestro said I could run five miles with one minute walk breaks (FIVE MILES!). But on the way down the stairs to my treadmill, my brain said: Did you feel that? Was that heel pain? Was it just your arch? Probably your heel. Probably you’re going to get on the treadmill and it’s going to hurt right away. Remember all that running while hurting last fall? Yeah, it’s probably going to be that all over again. Sheesh, brain, STFU already.

[Spoiler alert: This went fine!]

Ok, I thought, maybe if I do a really good warm-up, it will be all right. So I pop on my iPod and cue up the Sub30 Recovery Playlist I created last time I was injured. Just start, I said. Do your heel lowers, and your storks, and your butt kicks, etc., and get going. I hit play and here comes:

Oh, my, God, Becky, look at her butt!
It is so big!

Oh yeah. Baby Got Back, on this playlist, courtesy of a friend who knows a thing or two about laughter, having re-invented herself recently as a stand-up comic. I have to smile because “I mean, her butt, is just so big!” and who can keep a straight face with lyrics like that? Before I know it, I am through the warm-up and on the treadmill and I hit rewind so I can listen to this goofiness again.

I think of another friend, who recommended “Greased Lightning,” the song I listen to at the start of nearly every half marathon. This guy has been kicked around by life so badly it makes my heart hurt, but he keeps getting back up and when he does, he almost always cracks a joke.

Sometimes the enemy of fear is not bravery or even hope, but laughter. So I am running again, with as much joy as possible.


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