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ISSUE 115 VOL 18 PUBLISHED 4/19/2002

Overcoming Running's Hurdles

By Erin Piel
Staff Writer

Friday, April 19, 2002

I used to be afraid of running. I thought that running was something you were innately blessed with the ability to do and all those people who said they enjoyed running were just freaks of nature. Last summer, my fear of running grew so great that it started affecting my sleep. I had dreams that my legs were weighed down with lead and I couldn’t run away from the little gremlins that were chasing me. Then it progressed to the point where I was dreaming that Murdoc, MacGyver’s arch-nemesis, was chasing me with a flaming welding torch and I couldn’t escape because I had no feet. I know, I have some messed up dreams. That had to end, so I figured the best way to overcome my anxiety was to face my fear head on  I went for a run. And you know what? It wasn’t that bad. Pretty soon, I was running on a daily basis, and while I wouldn’t exactly say I enjoyed it, I did enjoy the refreshing and satisfying feeling of accomplishment I felt afterwards. I believe I was experiencing what they call “runner’s high.” I started to crave that feeling so much that when I would visit friends over the summer, I would run there too. I even ran the hills of Iowa. It surprised me too  Iowa does have some hills. Who knew? When I got back on campus and classes started up again this past fall, I found it difficult to find the time to squeeze a run in during daylight hours, so I started running at night. That presented a whole new set of obstacles. One evening, as I was cutting across the grass, I ran into the netting they put up everywhere to keep us out of the mud. The netting acted like a slingshot and propelled me into the steps by the chapel. I think I need to invest in some night vision goggles to avoid such mishaps. I also had issues with losing my balance and twisting my ankle when I mistakenly ran on the soft, squishy, freshly-sodded grass the grounds crew lays early each fall. That is a mistake you don’t make twice, because completely wiping out in public is a little damaging to the ego. Despite these minor setbacks, I started practicing to build my endurance to run a 5-K race. 3.1-something miles isn’t that far, but I had never run a race before and it sounded cool when I said I was “in training.” I registered for some charity races where the purpose was to raise money for the organization and not solely for competition. Now I wasn’t just running to overcome my fear, I was running with an end-goal in mind. I was going to be a do-gooder. However, my attempt at being a do-gooder was short-lived. I slept through both of the 5-K races in which I planned on running. They really shouldn’t hold those things so early in the morning. I should have known better when I signed up to run a 7 a.m. race the Saturday fall break started. I missed that race by a long shot – I woke up a little past one in the afternoon. I hate it when you accidentally set your alarm for p.m. instead of a.m. Now that spring is once again fully upon us, the atmosphere for outdoor running is most inviting. Just watch out for that one pine tree as you’re going down Ole Ave. No matter how prepared I am for it, it gets me every time.

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