Running is something I’ve always enjoyed. When I was in Primary school I ran in several competitions and won medals but running was piss easy back then. As a child you have so much energy to burn and you don’t have a care in the world! As I went to high school I began to run less. My high school PE lessons varied more than my Primary school ones did. There was more to be done than just running but I hated the sports we played. Hockey, Netball, Javelin, they’re just not me. When it came to the running sports we did more long distance running than short. I was a sprinter. Anything more than 400m I struggled with due to my asthma. I think this is where I started to lose my confidence a bit. Because we mainly did long distance running, I was pretty shit, couldn’t do long distance at all. The PE teachers would moan that we weren’t putting enough effort in but my legs and lungs wouldn’t allow me to put more effort in. As our PE lessons were mostly focused on sports I disliked or wasn’t any good at my attitude towards PE changed. It turned into a chore. Something I reluctantly had to do.
When it came to choosing our options, I chose to do GCSE PE. I didn’t really have another subject I was remotely interested in taking. By this point I had grown a pair of breasts. They weren’t as big as they are now, or as big as some other girls but they were there. Physical activity became borderline painful at this point. Sports bras weren’t as widely known or appreciated back then so I just had to wear my normal wire bras. Running became painful. Both short and long distance. My chest feels tight when I run anyway, but it worsened when I grew boobs. After a run the skin on the top of my breasts felt like it was going to tear away from the skin on my chest and I had boob ache for days! Running soon turned into something I hated and all we ever did was long distance running which I was pretty shit at anyway. If I could have run around holding my boobs (like I usually do now) I would’ve still loved running.
Once I left high school and went onto college I had almost forgotten that I was a runner. A couple years after college, I went through a mental breakdown which was when I rediscovered running. I was working on a yard near Shrewsbury. My mental health at the time was bad. Very bad. I broke down one day and didn’t really know how to pick myself up. One night after work I went for a walk. I needed some space to myself. Whilst on the walk I reached this long, flat road and I just started running. I ran to the end of the road and felt like I was going to have an asthma attack but I felt good. The run helped blow off some steam and built up energy. After that I tried to go running every other evening or every weekend. Eventually I left that job and moved back to Cheshire and got a new job. This yard had its own farm trail that the horses usually went for hacks on. There were 2 lakes, a huge field and you also got to go through some woodland so I started using it for my running track. During the summer I’d try to go every other evening. When winter arrived, it was dark by the time I finished work so I never bothered and the yard was on a by-pass road so I definitely wasn’t going to risk it on there. I usually went home for my days off so I started going for my run then. I’ve always been paranoid about my cheeks being so red but running really brings the redness out. I can recall more than several times my cheeks have been pointed out by others, resulting in a more paranoid me. When I used to go for my runs, I’d take some make up with me for me to try and cover my cheeks up with. Stupid I know, but that’s what I did to try and help myself feel better. I could never run on the streets either. I’m lucky to have fields and acres of woodland behind my house. It provides to perfect place for walking or running. So I’d walk there, do some running, stick some more make up on and walk home. Over time it became a lot of effort and the paranoia wasn’t going away so I pretty much gave up.
I’ve started to get back into running this year. As summer arrived it was easier to find the motivation to go for a run but I was still terrified. I was scared about my cheeks going red and my whole face looking like a tomato. I’m naturally a sweaty person so I was scared about excess sweating. I was paranoid about running near or passed other people. I’d get so paranoid and I’d convince myself that they were thinking about me and how I look. Last week I had a moment where I just thought fuck it. I’m moving to Australia soon and I want to prepare myself for it. For my first run back I wore my trainers, lightweight leggings, large baggy top and a sports bra that suffocates me but the ladies are strapped in and secure when I wear it. I waited till the sun had gone down. That way there would be fewer people about, it was cooler and if my cheeks went red or I started sweating it wasn’t as noticeable at night. I think I left the house about 22:45pm and off I went. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever done so much running. It wasn’t continuous. I had walking breaks in between for me to catch my breath back. Not gonna lie, it felt weird to run and not have to worry if my boob tears off from my body. The sports bra helped me more than I thought it would! I love running uphill. I feel it really works you. So when it comes to going for a run I will always plan my route with 2 or more hill work. On a downhill I will usually walk. Running downhill really knackers my knees. Depending on how much energy I have I will either run or walk on flat ground.
Since my epiphany last week, I have been on quite a few runs. I have tried to go for one almost every evening and I even went for a run when it was still daylight outside!! So I’m hoping now, the more I go running, the more I’ll stop giving a fuck.
Compromise with your fears. Don’t fight with them and accept the fact that you can’t hide from them forever. Find a some standing ground between comfort and your fear.
Lots of love,