I don’t have a lot of physical fears. I like to stick to the abstract worries, like death, human selfishness, the downfall of man, etc. Bats, however, are for sure included in my top 3 greatest fears in life, and I can’t really explain it. I just know that I hate them, they’re disgusting and terrifying, I wish all of them died, all at once, and I never had to see another bat ever again in my life. I would rather live my life with every inch of my body covered in mosquito bites than have to interact with bats. I’ve never even had a traumatic incident with a bat, and I’ve probably never actually been closer than a yard from a bat. I just hate them.
Having said that, it’s important to note that I prefer to run in the evenings. I always feel better during and after the run if it’s later in the day, for whatever reason. I especially love starting my run about twenty minutes before the sun starts setting. I’m obsessed with that “magic hour” sunlight, and the clouds and sky are the perfect thing to distract myself from a run that otherwise might not be going so well. And if the run is going well, the sunset makes it that much better. I can hardcore pretend like I’m in a movie during good sunset runs.
So, especially in the fall, right around sunset (when I like to be finishing up a run), the bats are coming out. During my training, I have found myself blaming the bats for any skipped runs, or time spent walking during a run. Which is ridiculous. We can blame bats for a lot of things, but messing up my run – or making me skip it completely – should not be one of them.
I’m not trying to say that bats are serving as a masking fear or my real fear of failure, or some other meta theory like that. I just know that lately, I’m actively trying to stop blaming anything other than myself and laziness, lack of motivation, whatever it is that day. I am forcing myself to realize that when I say “I can’t run now, I’ll probably see bats out there,” I’m really saying “I don’t want to run today.” This kind of thinking works in a tough-love kind of way, and now I have to realize that I made a commitment, I paid money to do this half marathon, why would I sign up if I didn’t want to do my best, and the always-true: I’m going to feel better if I do run, even if getting out the door is going to be painful. It’s helpful, and a therapeutic way for me to go about training. It would probably be healthier if I didn’t need to use bats as a scapegoat, but I did, and now I’m dealing with it.
Still can’t stand bats. If anyone’s interested in a mass execution, please let me know. ◊