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?

6 thoughts on “Harder than a marathon”

  1. I’m in the same boat. There is a running club down the road from my house, but I just don’t seem to get around to finally join it. In my defence, it’s not just shyness – they run in the evenings, whereas I like to run first thing in the morning, but still, I’m sure I’d benefit from it as a runner.

    1. I felt the same actually. I usually run in the mornings, and it felt really hard running in the eveneing. I’m glad I went though – if I make it to a Tuesday session they do “efforts” which is what I need help / encouragement to do. It was lovely having peole to chat to before & after my race on Sunday as well. Go on – give it a go!

  2. Go for it! And good luck. If I’m honest I’m concerned about rejoining my group for similar reasons. I don’t know anyone anymore, I’m a lot slower post babies and the whole thing is making me nervous. However when I first joined ages ago it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I’d imagined and everyone was friendly. I really hope it goes well for you. I’d love to read your post after you’ve been to find out how it was!

  3. Hiya from another ‘shy-be’! It took me over 2 months to work up the nerve to begin contacting the running clubs on the list I’d compiled and once I did it was the same thing–Show up and ask for a committee member. Absolutely terrifying! And absolutely worth fighting the fear to do so. The club I ended up joining has introduced me to some amazing people that I now consider friends and made my transition to living in the UK so much easier. Go for it!

    Gabby

    1. Thank you Gabby. If you read my next post you’ll see that I did, indeed, make myself go. And as ever, it was all fine. The people were nice, people chatted to me, I found a lady to run with. I’ll be going again I think!

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