Sometimes things happen in life that leave us with a sense of fear, anxiety, or self-doubt. Last month, a 14 year old girl was murdered on a local trail that I have ran and biked many, many times. Her killer has still not been found.
That incident shook me to the core. I didn’t realize it at the moment I heard the news, but my next solo run proved to me that I was scared. Every rustle in the woods, runner I approached, runner that approached me, parked car, bird, deer, blow of the wind…every.single.sound. left me grasping my pepper spray a little tighter and looking over my shoulder. The overwhelming fear inside of me took away every ounce of enjoyment from that run. It left me feeling weak and vulnerable.
Luckily, (I guess?) just after that run, my husband was out of town for almost two weeks. That meant that all of my runs had to be completed in the comfort of my home, on my treadmill. Although this definitely isn’t my favorite place to run, the one luxury is that I get my Netflix time while on the run. (In the last two years I’ve watched all of Lost and Breaking Bad while running!) It’s actually the only time that I watch TV at all, so it’s kind of a treat.
Well, I was in need of a new series to start watching, and I just so happened to stumble upon an older series called, Alias. It may sound silly, but I think God had a hand in the choosing of this particular series. If you’re not familiar, it’s about a bad a&% spy, played by Jennifer Garner, who is incredibly strong and is able to fend off any and all bad guys with her wicked kick-boxing and fighting skills. Suddenly, she is who I want to be.
So, after nearly two weeks and 100 miles (that’s roughly 1000 minutes…or 16.67 hours…eeeek!) of watching Alias, I had pretty much forgotten all of my fears of being alone for a run…or anything else.
I planned my first mountain bike ride of the summer, and set out alone on the back trails at Stony Creek Metropark. It had been a year since I went biking, and I had forgotten how much I love it. I felt pretty awesome out there tackling all of the uphills and flying down the other side. I felt strong, brave, and fearless.
There was no looking over my shoulder or clutching a container of pepper spray. In fact, every time I approached another rider, the dialogue that took place in my head was quite comical. It went something like this, “Listen here,
a bunch of really mean names that would never actually come out of my mouth, I’ve been watching a lot of Alias lately and I’m pretty sure that I could totally kick your butt right now. So you better just keep on pedaling. Ya. That’s what I thought.”
But in reality, what came out of my mouth was, “Hi! How’s it going?”
And we passed each other harmlessly. Each encounter leaving me less afraid and more confident. I even felt brave enough to go for a solo trail run after my ride.
And even though nothing has changed on the outside, I’ve decided that I’m not going to allow fear to keep me from enjoying what I love.