Harder than a marathon

I’ve been running for 6 years, slowly improving, but now I think I’d like some help, advice, support, and yes running friends. So what does everyone recommend? Joining a running club of course. Simple.

However, for this runner, not so simple. You see, I’m shy. Yes I know shyness is only cute in small children so I’m around 40 year too late for that. I know I probably don’t come across as shy, but that’s years of managing to act a part when I need to. Acting the clown is a brilliant disguise for shyness (although I draw the line at the face paint and red nose). For things like job interviews I can put on self confidence with my suit jacket, but it’s such a relief to shrug it off again several hours later. I love to tell a good story (and if it’s not good it doesn’t necessarily stop me) and it just happens to be a way to fill air space to stop me dithering about if I should be talking, or what I should say, and what was the other person’s name again??

I keep being told how friendly running clubs are, how I’ll really enjoy being a part of a club and running with club mates on runs and at races. My husband joined our local cycling club a few years ago and just loves it. He has made so many new friends that I worry a party we’re hoping to hold later on in the year will be swamped by Wheelers. With this in mind, I have been a little bit brave, and e-mailed the running club about going along to try a session to see what it’s like. After my original e-mail was retrieved from the Spam (not a good start), I’ve been told to come along tonight and

If you come along we will try and pair you up with some runners of similar speed.

Just ask for a committee member.

So I need to approach a big group of runners, who will all know each other and “Just ask for a committee member”. I can feel my shyness spilling out, threatening to swamp me like a heavy blanket, muffling my thoughts and rendering me unable to move or act. I’m in danger of inventing an excuse and simply not going.

And now I feel angry at myself. I WANT to join a running club! If they’re horrible and unwelcoming, I can always try a different club. I’ve had an offer to go with a lady to next week’s session, and she seems really lovely, but I don’t know her either and I think I should try and go tonight because I’m too old to feel like this.

Running has taught me many things. It’s shown me that I can do so much more than I would ever have imagined. It’s shown me I’m much tougher and more resilient than I believe I am, and that I’m incredibly stubborn at times. I’m good at just keeping on going, which is more of a life skill than I ever would have believed. I can go out in public in tight lycra and (mostly) not care, (although I do sometimes catch sight of myself in a mirror and mentally raise my eyes heavenwards with a sigh). It’s also taught me what a great group of people runnners are, how supportive of each other we can be and how encouraging.

If you’re reading this as a runner, or as a fellow “shy-be” or simply as a nice human being please send me some support and encouragement to put my self-confident face on (along with my lycra and trainers) tonight and get myself along to running club. It can’t be any harder than running a marathon, can it?