Irrational Running Fears

22 Sep

BEEP, BEEP, BEEP!

That is the sound of my alarm going off at 5:00AM this morning…on a “vacation day.” Why? To go run, of course! I shuffled my way into the bathroom, pulled on my running clothes and got ready to pound the pavement. Then I realized how DARK it was outside…and foggy. I mean, it was like a horror movie just waiting to happen! Maybe now that I am so far along, much less stable on my feet, and obviously slower, the thought of being approached by a stranger on the roads scares me to death! I am not normally a scaredy cat, but the thought of running out on the road all alone was such a turn-off today that I opted to head to the gym instead.

Oh, and if you are wondering what a human school bus looks like, here you go. Let the giggling commence…

On the way to the gym, I let my mind wander. That’s what happens early in the morning when I am still trying to “wake my brain up.” Oh, and the ADHD certainly does nothing to help keep me on one train of thought. Anyway, I started thinking about all the other things that I fear about running alone. Granted, these fears are not so massive that they actually keep me from running, but they do cross my mind from time to time when I am out pounding the pavement on my own.

What if I get pooped on by a bird?
Okay, so this one is kind of funny. I admit that photos of other people getting pooped on while they are running makes me double-over in laughter, but the thought of it happening to me? No, thank you! I hear that it is supposed to be good luck or something insanely absurd like that. If that is the case, then I want to be the unluckiest runner EVER. We do not have a lot of them here, but I hear pigeons are the WORST offenders. When traveling for work, if I have to run in downtown areas, I will go out of my way to avoid groups of pigeons in city squares. I know they have it out for me. They are like dogs, I know they can SMELL my fear. Those beady little pigeon eyes…

I KNEW they studied up on this!


What if I see a dead body?
I know that I watch WAY too much CSI. Seriously though, art imitates life and runners really DO find dead bodies…probably even more often than we hear about! I have this insane fear that while running past wooded areas or alleys that I will look over and see some bloody bloated body that has been there for who knows how long. You know what is worse? I even look in the woods and alleys to make SURE there are no dead bodies in there. I mean, I do not go into a full-on crime scene investigation, but I definitely keep my eyes in that direction…you know, just in case. When I am running in sort of remote areas, I will even think to myself, “You know what? That seems like a good place to hide a dead body. I would put money on it that there is one in there.” I mean, who does that!? I am a weirdo and I have really got to give it a rest with the Law & Order marathons.

What if I get bitten on the butt by a goose?
This sounds totally absurd, but this one has actually happened to me! At the LSU lakes, geese are everywhere. One time when I was in college, I was running with a friend of mine. As we approached this large gaggle of our feathery friends, he casually said something like, “Wouldn’t it be funny if those geese tried to chase as we ran by?” I squinted my eyes, cocked my head to the side and gave him that look that said, “Why in the heck would you say something like that?? Don’t you know you just WILLED it to happen!?” My friend’s comment must have done some Jedi mind trick on the geese because as soon as we ran passed them, here they came…half running and half flying. Keep in mind that in light of his comment, I passed the geese on the far side of the street, as far away from them as I could get. Apparently, my chubby (at the time) little runner legs could not out-run the big, hissing white and gray monster with wings that was in the lead. I tried my best to keep hauling butt while still looking behind me. All of a sudden I realized that my friend had ditched me! His sprint was cheetah-like and when I turned my head to look forward, I saw that he was a good half a mile ahead of me already! As I mentally cursed him for bringing this whole situation upon me, I felt it. A big, hard goose beak right below my left butt cheek. I do not think I have ever yelped so loud in my whole life! I kept running and running and running, finally catching up to my friend. The geese must have gotten tired of chasing me because I realized I no longer heard them behind me. As soon as I stopped, I could FEEL the welp on the back of my thigh. I could not twist around to see it, but I didn’t need to. I pulled up the leg of my shorts to let my friend see and his eyes nearly bugged out of his head. There was already a bruise nearly the size of a softball forming. Needless to say, I hobbled back to my car (the LONG way around the lake, obviously)…not saying a single word to my friend the rest of the time. Stupid friend and his stupid big mouth.

Geese are the devil!


When it comes to running, most people fear things like not finishing or tripping and falling. Not this girl. In regards to the tripping and falling, I guess I have just done that one enough to have gotten over it. Let’s just say that not a whole lot embarrasses me these days. Looking back on it, my fears seems sort of ridiculous, but it is what it is. Maybe one day I will get over them, but until then…don’t think I won’t keep one eyeball looking out for that dead body.

What are YOU afraid of when it comes to running, training, and/or racing? Do YOU feel like your fears are justified or do you think you should find some way to get over them?

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17 Responses to “Irrational Running Fears”

  1. Concrete Runner September 22, 2011 at 11:36 AM #

    Ha! I have really stupid running fears also. First, I’m afraid to run in the dark anymore. I used to be able to do it all the time, but I one time went for a run only to come back and find out there was some murder or something they were trying to catch on my running route. I don’t think I’ve run outside since then! I am also scared to death that I’m going to be hit by a car. I run on sidewalks, but again, my husband has been hit running once + I have almost been hit before. On sidewalks. My biggest irrational fear is getting attacked by wild turkeys on my run. The route I run has a few wild turkeys that I think are beautiful, but I absolutely hate birds and am scared to death of them. Again, stupid – but now you have assured me that this could quite possibly happen!

  2. kscincotta September 22, 2011 at 11:49 AM #

    It seems like there are a lot of bird-related fears! Personally, my bird enemies are mockingbirds. We have a lot of them here in Atlanta and they can be VERY territorial. I’ve had them chase me down streets and even pecked at my ears. They’ve even tried to attack my dog. Stupid mockingbirds. Every time I see them on my runs, I speed up and avoid eye contact at all cost.

    Also, I’ve been pooped on during a 3 Day training walk. It happens. 😉

    I’m Kristen, by the way. I’ve been reading your blog for a couple weeks and I LOVE it! A great motivator for a reluctant runner (but trying!) like me!

  3. Britni (@brobic8) September 22, 2011 at 12:27 PM #

    Well, I’m a hearing-impaired woman so I have A LOT of anxiety of running outside by myself. I’m scared to run in the dark because of the potential of an attack happening. I have a hard time hearing surrounding sounds so if someone would yell or try to warn me I have NO idea what they are saying. Same thing for cars, bikers, pets. I am constantly looking over my shoulder- you would think I was being chased! LOL. When I do run outside, I have to be extremely alert of my surroundings and that is tiring at times. I recently started running with Happy’s Running Club and it is SO much better running with a group of people!!!

    As for irrational fears, I’m originally from Berwick, LA (way down south) and our running trail always had a risk of snakes, bears, and alligators!! And there’s the occasional fear of tripping and falling flat on my face, but I think that’s a normal fear! 🙂

  4. Jo Anna Leuck September 22, 2011 at 1:58 PM #

    Mine used to be irrational, but almost happened the other day….Stepping on a dead animal. I was just running along, enjoying the nice fall weather, in a beautiful neighborhood, actually listening to your running mix, when I looked down in the nick of time to barely miss a small, dead, super gross rabbit. Yuck, yuck, yuck. If it had been dark, I totally would have smooshed right down on him. Grody, grody, gross.

  5. Courtney Leigh September 22, 2011 at 2:00 PM #

    Oh god! I SOO look for dead bodies sometimes. I’m glad I’m not the only crazy.

    As for geese – I can’t beleive you got bit! I live in fear, not just run in it. I’ve been chased several times. The most tramautic happend when I was taking a metatitvie walk around a lake during a retreat. Had my shoes off, going slowly because there was a lot of gravel, just enjoying myself. I went to walk behind the boathouse and as I rounded the corner I stopped dead. I had just walked into the nesting ground. I swear the rest of the scene plays out in my mind like a movie. I’m afraid to move, maybe they won’t notice me, but no they all look up. We stare at each other (If it was a movie the camera would be panning back and forth between their beady little eyes and my terrified face.) and then one of them gives the battle cry a gaggle of 50 some geese charge at me. I turn and RUN. They chased me about halfway around the lake and I had to limp back to the lodge because of sprinting barefoot on gravel. *Shudder* I will shamelessly put people between me and geese anytime I see them. I also have this thing about goats… but thankfully I’ve never seen any while running.

    The thing I honestly fear the most is falling. I fractured my wrist in elementary school by falling and hitting the pavement in just the right way. I’m terrified that the result of any fall will be a broken bone.

  6. Sean September 22, 2011 at 2:51 PM #

    Add one more to the being bit by a goose list.

  7. Lauren September 22, 2011 at 2:53 PM #

    I always look for dead bodies when I run down this one bayou road. I thought everyone did that, though.

    I have to run at night due to scheduling but I don’t like it either. I live alone so I always make sure to text someone before I leave what my route is and estimated time. That way, if I don’t text that I’m home safe later, they can start searching for me. I just feel that’s a good precaution. I don’t usually feel scared while I’m actually running unless a car slows around me or I see someone acting shady.

    The only other thing I get scared about is either having to use the bathroom and not having a public restroom or injuring myself 3 miles from home and having to limp back somehow. I always try to run with a phone in case of the latter.

  8. littlegreengoddess September 22, 2011 at 3:05 PM #

    I feel 2 of these are related to growing up near LSU in the early 2000’s…I too have been chased by those AWFUL geese, the only place that I know of where these damned birds give chase. Also, the whole serial killer thing in 00/01 contributed to my personal belief that I will someday find a body in the lakes. Man, are we ever morbid!

  9. lifeisarun September 22, 2011 at 3:45 PM #

    GAH!! The dead body one! I watch WAY too much CSI and Criminal Minds I constantly am like “my body could be dumped there” or “what if I one day see a body there.” Those thoughts make me feel like such a weirdo. Haha Last night my run ended in the dark and there’s a couple of nursing homes on the very outskirts of my neighborhood I run by…a man happened to be a good ways from the building on his break smoking. Of course I then start assuming he’s going to jump out and attack me! Thankfully he didn’t and there was always a car driving along the road from the beginning of me thinking this and until I was well passed him.

    -Beth

  10. Megan September 22, 2011 at 7:25 PM #

    Jessica and I saw a dead dachshund on the road when we were running (one that we would see in the neighborhood all the time) and it really messed with our run! It shook us up!

  11. Jimi Dodge (@JimDog) September 22, 2011 at 10:12 PM #

    For those running really early or at night (I’m one of them) I’d suggest a handheld pepper spray like this one: http://bit.ly/nnxPP9 I carry one. Granted it’s for my fear of running in to a bear or a coyote (I live in Colorado and we have both and just a while back they shut down the trail because of a bear).

    I also wear one of these: http://amzn.to/nZ8mhC Cars see me at every intersection and let me cross!!! The blinking red light on the back is great for any bikers that might be coming up from behind too (basically this headlamp was designed for runners)!!!

  12. JeriBeriNananbana September 23, 2011 at 6:31 AM #

    Too funny!! I haven’t found a dead body or been bitten by a goose, but I’ve been pooped on plenty of times. So gross!! My biggest running fear? Vampires. For real. I don’t get it. I’m 53 years old, and I won’t run in the dark by myself because I’m afraid of vampires. I know there is no such thing, but it’s always there. Always in the back of my mind. Crazy, I know.

  13. Donna Riopel September 23, 2011 at 7:17 AM #

    Snakes. I have a general all-the-time fear of snakes. Even cartoon ones and the fake rubber ones at the toy store – I know, my kids make fun of me. No…they torment me. Anyhow, four times (FOUR times!!) I have had a snake slither across my path while running. So this thought often creeps up on me while I’m out on the trail and once I think about it, it’s hard to think about anything else. One good thing is that it makes me run faster!

  14. Tri Madness September 23, 2011 at 9:49 AM #

    I second @Donna’s fear of snakes. Making it worse is that I live in the Sunshine state…where snakes seemingly NEVER go to hibernate. I’ve seen more than my fair share of them.

    I have never been bitten by a goose, but I have been attacked by a mallard! When I lived in North Carolina, I was running in a beautiful park around a lake. While I was running, I looked over to my left and saw this duck flying in a direction that looked like he was on a collision course with me. I thought “surely he’ll turn”. Nope. Ran into me full steam. Almost knocked me over. The crazy thing – it hardly phased him. He quacked and kept flying as if I was nothing more than a bug.

  15. Stephanie September 23, 2011 at 11:13 AM #

    Ooo gosh I am with you. THe other day it was sooo foggy and dark and scary. I was glad it was not a running day but it has gotten so dark lately and it is realyl scary. I am scared of running in the rain and apparently I get to face my fear tomorrow eek

  16. Lisa September 24, 2011 at 5:50 PM #

    You should talk to Steena about birds and geese attacking!! (her site: http://findingmyhappypace.com/)

  17. mrsraushel September 28, 2011 at 5:07 PM #

    ahaha the fears! Ugh! I am afraid of being pooped on now! I see lots of dead critters on my runs. I try to just pretend they’re not there and pick up the pace a little. I saw a squirrel doing a great impression of a pancake the other day…. :/

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