These Boots Were Made for Walking

by Jane Moneypenny

“Whether you believe you can or believe you can’t, you’re probably right.”
-Henry Ford

Everyone has fears. Fear of dying, fear of heights, fear of spiders. Normal fears.

I fear running.

I can hear the internet laughing. It’s ridiculous, I realize, but it’s something I just can’t seem to get over. It’s all mental, of course, but it’s plagued me since I was a child. I hate running. I detest it. I fear it.

Maybe because it’s an option; I don’t HAVE to run. It’s not a life requirement (although it feels that way living in Austin). Unlike Kilimanjaro where I had no choice but to keep hiking up, I see running as the last thing on my list. As terrible of a swimmer I used to be (and not that I’m great now), I know swimming is a crucial survival skill and so I keep pushing myself, lap after lap, even when the water is frigid cold and 70s year olds are swimming circles around me. But I’m doing it, aren’t I? A few months ago, I could only doggy paddle and float (even though it was slightly stressful) and now I’m swimming laps like it’s instinct.

As with everything in life, running will take practice and mental strength. This is a fact that can’t be changed, but no matter how much I tell myself “I can do it!” or “Pfsh, just a run,” I can’t move over this giant boulder in my way. Not being able to run a mile (except on a treadmill) feels like a giant failure. While walking to the start of my mile today, I was so freaked out and scared that I almost started hyperventilating in the street. How do people do this? One mile seems impossible and yet people run 15 without blinking.

I’ve tried the running and walking back-n-forth technique but can’t stop counting in y head or looking at my watch. The day I managed to run a mile on the treadmill was so pretty incredible, but deflated the moment I attempted to transfer it outdoors.

So I get frustrated and upset and mad at myself and the insecurities set in. Will I never lose weight? Will food always be my vice? Will running ever be natural to me? Why can’t I be skinny like the other girls? No matter how much I’ve accomplished life, I still get stuck on running.

The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”
-John Bingham, running speaker and writer