On Joy and Fear

A whole lot of last week was not so fun. My foot is not where I had hoped it would be. The official “Boston Marathon Training Kickoff Day” threw the worry gear in my brain into overdrive: What if my foot doesn’t stop hurting? What if it gets worse? What if [gasp!] it gets so bad I can’t even run Boston? Or, for variation’s sake, what if I’ve had so much time off from running that my fitness level somehow doesn’t come back to where it was? Why does this all seem so hard?????

Oh my goodness. My friends have heard me say that I have a big brain and it can work for me or against me. Last week, it was largely working against me. It kept tossing words at me like “scared” and “daunted”. I imagined lovely scenarios like a permanent deep freeze over New England from now until late March. How about every step between now and then hurting? What about the difficulty of finding time to train while also teaching my most grading-intensive class? Sigh. Are there any other worries you’d like to consider, brain? Really, let’s just have all of them on the table at once, ok? I managed to be both quite anxious and simultaneously bored by my own anxiety.

Finally Thursday evening I told Coach Mick how I was feeling. He helped me take my fears out and look at them, one by one. Did I want to withdraw from Boston and just focus on healing the plantar fasciitis? No. Did I want to try wearing the boot to see if that helps? Probably give up a PR attempt at Boston, but still run? No. Did I want to keep training as we have been, give the EPAT treatment time to take effect, modifying if needed? Actually yes, that one, please. It turns out I needed to look at these fears in order to put them away. At least for now.

This past weekend was the third Sunday in advent, when we light the candle of Joy. This week’s scripture reading at church started with Isaiah 12:2-6. These verses begin:

Surely God is my salvation;
    I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense;
    he has become my salvation.
With joy you will draw water
    from the wells of salvation.

I hope I remember that the next time I approach a water stop. Fear really gets in the way of joy. It’s hard to be joyful when you’re afraid. On the other hand, joy also gets in the way of fear. Which I know, but sometimes forget. In thinking about this today I realized that when High Power Running Mentor #1 tells me before a race, Do Not Be Afraid and Coach Mick says, Run with Joy – they are giving me the same advice. Like so much else, true in running, but also in life. Here’s to a week with more joy and less fear.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *