Lately, I’ve been fearing something that is hard to admit, but heck, might as well get it out there.

For the last couple of months (more?) I’ve been afraid of running.

Yes, running.

I can’t even explain why.  Afraid of something hurting?  For sure.  But mostly, afraid of failing.

It’s hard to look back at who I was not much longer than a year ago, when I would do 10 miles for fun, and I actually enjoyed my 20 milers back when I was training for the Chicago Marathon.  Sure, they were tough, but they were pleasant.  And now?  I know I can’t even run 3 miles without taking a break – and even then, I will be a lot slower than before.  And before?  I was already a slow runner, so it’s not like I ever thought I could get any worse.

So you read me babbling about lifting weights at the gym, or muay thai, and all this time, no peep about running.  And now you know why.  I’m afraid I can’t run anymore.  Not that my body is incapable – no, that’s not it – it’s all in my head.  It will be hard and I will hate it, and I will give up.

The worst part of it?  I actually MISS running.  I miss it dearly.  I daydream about it, I think about it  I just don’t actually, you know, RUN. 

Running in Manila still doesn’t excite me.  I don’t want to deal with the traffic noise, the pollution, the crowded sidewalks, crossing streets where pedestrians don’t have the right of way even when the pedestrian light is on, dealing with badly maintained sidewalks, just waiting for the next sprained ankle, dealing with running alone.  So when I run here, I usually take the treadmill, because it’s easier, more convenient, and I don’t have outside factors making it unpleasant.  But I never enjoyed the treadmill, so then, I just don’t run at all.

At the end of last year, I even trained for a 10k (a big deal around these parts lately), and then when that got canceled, I just pretty much lost my motivation.  All of it.  Dealing with foot and now hip pain no long after didn’t help, and sunk me into a deeper hole.

But yesterday?  I went to the gym to do my hour of lifting weights, got back home and jumped on the treadmill.  My goal was for a mile (because small goals are all I can handle now), and I got tired quick, had to walk before the mile was even over (but I knew that was coming) but it didn’t hurt anywhere.  I hopped out after a mile and a half, having done some walking in the midst, but mostly running.  Who knew I could still put my foot in front of the other?  My endurance is still not there, and I might not get it back until I’m back in DC running with the best running buddies DC has to offer, but I can get back there, even if my time in Manila is meant to be spent on 3 milers only.

I’m still afraid.  I’m afraid it’s going to be hard, that it will never get easy again (was it ever easy?).  But now I’m hoping that each time after weightlifting I can hop on the treadmill, even if only a mile, because I have to start somewhere, but I won’t get anywhere if I don’t at least TRY.


Filed under Runs

10 responses to “STUPID Fear

  1. Oh, Carla! I really feel for you. I had all these plans of running through the streets of Cairo, exploring the area, running in races. And then I got here and realized what Cairo was. Well, is. Not meant for running. Organized races are few and far between. Streets are dangerous for pedestrians. I gave up, I told myself running (which I love so very much) just wasn’t for me here. I hit a deep depression over it – I had been running so much the two years before, when we lived in L.A. and even in Ohio.

    I can’t say I really know what pulled me out of it, but I’m doing much better with it. And I hope this will be the case for you as well. If it’s only meant to be 3-milers, then so be it. Do what you can when you can, and remember why you love it! (Easier said than done!)

    I’m lucky here because I’ve found an area that is pretty safe for running (dry river bed, although it’s a bit of a trek to get to and the weather here is treacherously hot!) and I’ve found a group that runs every Friday AM. But it’s still not what I totally need, so I have to treadmill. WHICH I HATE. PASSIONATELY.

    But it beats the alternative. Which is, I guess, what I finally realized.

    Good luck getting back into it! You know what you gotta do!

    • Doesn’t it suck? When we were in temp housing I even ran a few times to the boardwalk at Mall of Asia which had no shade, but was pretty, and actually quite nice and empty during the weekday (though only a mile long, it was a mile there and back so it was something), but it was maybe TOO empty (running without seeing another soul in the middle of nowhere always makes me extra-alert). Now, that path is 5 miles away, which can mean an hour drive each way with traffic, so of course, not an option. Before we moved here, I even had thoughts of running to the Embassy and back! (Which is 4 miles away — little did I know the route there has no sidewalks for a big chunk of it, and it’s just not somewhere you want to be running by yourself, ever.)

      The funny thing is, there are runners EVERYWHERE here. There’s a race almost every weekend (no joke!). But it’s always on the same route, and to train, the runners here just do loops around the park (the “big” one by us is a 0.7 mile loop, so they just do that as many times as they need to run). Not only I rather shoot my own foot than run loops around the park every.single.time I go off for a run, but half of that loop is through very crowded, not well maintained sidewalks, next to pollution and horrible traffic.

      I know it *can* be done, but after spending 3 years running on the beautiful riverside trails of DC, it’s hard to run through those conditions, you know? I started running in DC, so the beautiful trails is all I ever knew! And though I have tried running locally before, but dodging people and traffic is just not fun. You have to start at 6am if you want to avoid the crowds. Plus, I miss running with company.

      So yeah, nowadays running to me means the treadmill (oh, and I hate it so much!). I think long distance running will have to be picked back up after I leave Manila, but hopefully slowly I can go back to just 3 miles and call that a day. And stop beating myself up about it.

  2. Jessica

    I can relate – I’m not allowed to run yet, but I still have these twinges from time to time, and am terrified that I’ll re-injure myself and have to go through it all again. It doesn’t make sense, since the whole reason for the surgery is that I *would* be able to run again afterward, but I’m nervous, nonetheless!

    You can do it – I know you can! And just remember that when you go even 1 mile, that’s a mile more than someone sitting on the couch has gone.

    I’m actually considering starting off with a C25K-esque program when I’m allowed to start running again. I have to remember (as do you, I think), that I’m coming back after a pretty long hiatus and injury recovery. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with starting at or near the beginning, and taking the time to work my way back up. Yes, I’m going to be frustrated at having to stick to 1-2 mile routes at first, and having to take walking breaks, but it will eventually be worth it, when I’m back up to 25-30 mile weeks again and don’t have any pain.


    • I was actually thinking of downloading the C25k app too, as the 10k one I have now sounds overly ambitious for someone who’s been out so long. I think it’s a good way to insure you’re not doing too much too soon (and getting re-injured).

      I’m feeling all of this now, I can’t even imagine coming back from surgery! (By the way, my hip still hurts, but I have been having a hard time scheduling an appt with the doctor. At this point it’s been at least 2 months, I have taken breaks and no luck, so I’m starting to get worried. Getting old sucks, huh? Stupid body.)

      Good luck coming back — you know I’m here cheering for you, even if from far away!

  3. Frank

    The problem is not you… it’s the climate and it’s the city… you should run early morning or late evenings not to overheat… and try the “villages”: these subdivisions like Dasmariñas or Forbes: very green, almost no traffic and also very safe… good luck! I enjoy your blog.

    Someone that used to live in Manila

    • The overheating is not a problem. DC’s summer is worse than anything I’ve experienced here (and I was training for a marathon there!). As for the villages, you can’t get in unless you know someone, so I’ve only run in one once when I went with a friend a while back. The times I tried on my own, the guards always blocked my entrance.

  4. jend420

    Carla, you have to remind yourself that your mind is capable of running but your body needs to catch up. Running is hard on the body, and you don’t want to reinjure yourself. Take it slow. If you can let go of the past performances, you can do little bits and so enjoy it again! And, think how only having to run for short periods on the treadmill is way better than training for a long distance on it! You could even break it up and run a bit several times a day. Get that distance in, but break up the monotony. And you’re doing great with your strength training. That’s nothing to to cast aside. Keep at it!

    • It’s really really hard not to compare myself to what I used to be! REALLY hard. And I think that’s what has made me so scared, admitting how much I lost endurance-wise…

      And good thing I’m not signed up for any races! Running long distances on the treadmill is something I DEFINITELY cannot do. think I just need to get used to re-adjusting my expectations…

  5. I am so happy you got that mile in and remembered you could do it! I wish that you had your trails and the beautiful Mall (or something equivalent) and some friends there! But getting on the treadmill after weight lifting is great and it will help keep your muscles loose after 🙂

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