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Overcoming A Runner’s Secret Fears – part 1

This is the first part of a series that I will be sharing on the things that come up on a runner’s journey and how I deal with them:

Slithery Things

My fear of large snakes along the roads and rice paddies in rural Thailand most certainly contributed to my challenges in running while I lived overseas. According to Wikipedia, Ophidiophobia is the fear of snakes. The word comes from the Greek word “ophis” which refers to snakes and “phobia” meaning fear.

Here are two pictures that bring up the feeling of fear and dread within me just at the sight:

So, how does a runner with this phobia cope in the farm country of northern Thailand? I lived in Chiangmai, Thailand from 2000-2005. One of the main things that helped me mentally cope with this challenge to my running was how I dealt with my fear so that it became less of a problem for me. I knew this part of the world was habitat to many dangerous snakes and reptiles. I had to eventually put my trust in the local people who took responsible for controlling the snake population. I eventually concluded that it would be best for me to run in the local communities where I knew and trusted my neighbors and could feel confident that they were diligent about removing these slithery creatures.

I can report after living in Thailand for over five years that I only encountered a Cobra in our yard one time. It was disturbing but I didn’t let it affect my lifestyle and activities outdoors or around the house. I actually found a neighbor who was willing to come over and deal with the snake. He successfully captured it and took it out to the local rice field. All that mattered to me was that it went away.

I believe as we cope and overcome our fears that we become more confident, and our fears become less threatening to us. But each of us are different, I hope you are able to overcome your phobias.

What are some of your phobias and how do you deal with them?


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