Twelve months ago, I was feeling lost and not really pleased with me. I had a day off work for some random reason, and I was scrolling the facebook, probably just trying to procrastinate on life. I mindlessly scrolled down, past an event that a close friend had RSVP’d as ‘interested’.
“Wait a minute, go back. What was that?” I thought to myself. Scrolling back up, I felt a jolt through my conscience. I instantly felt a belonging to the ‘interested’ event, and I challenged myself in that very moment to commit. What was it, you ask, that had me so hooked? A beginners running program, for women, in my local area, aimed at teaching you how to get running. That’s was me. Feeling stale and uninspired by me and my life, I wanted to challenge myself. I had indeed tried running, seeking the thrill of the recreational activity. But, I would lose my breath all too quickly or feel self-conscious of my jiggly bits or that people would look at me running and know I was a fraud. So, I’d just stop and walk.
It took me a lot of introspection and courage to turn up at the local sportsfield on this night, twelve months ago. I think I nearly turned the car around, then nearly kept walking when I arrived. But I took some deep, courageous breaths and urged myself to do it. I walked up to the coach, and introduced myself, only to be pointed in the direction of another lady. This athletic-looking woman I’d indentified as the coach was not the coach, just another runner. Oh goodness, why am I here again? How much of a fool will I make myself out to be? Thank goodness I don’t know anyone here…wait, hello, don’t I know you? Oh gosh…
Ha. Well, I don’t remember my first few weeks anymore, just that I had made the commitment to myself to give the program a go; turn up to the 10 sessions, and see if I could get to running 30 mins. After that, I would probably part-ways, be pleased I’d tempted the running thing, and then amble back to my world. I really had no self-belief and couldn’t really envisage reaching that 30 min goal, but the evening away from the family was proving too good; it gave me the much-needed self-care and direction I craved, plus the support from the other women involved in the running group was (and still is) unrivalled.
When I joined Serotonin Running, it turns out I’d found THE most loyal, supportive and judgement-free women. They are strong, and celebrate each others successes. They challenge each other respectfully, cheering you on, because you are there and assuring you that you’re doing an amazing thing. They pick you up off the ground (literally and metaphorically) and they do it all with an arm around your soul. Some of these women are amazing runners, some of them are just social or casual runners. But that doesn’t really matter – you see, it’s not one’s ability that gives the credit, it’s their drive to support anyone out running. I don’t know any of these women particularly well, but I feel loyal to them and their running dreams.
The coach of all these lovely Serotonin runners is one of those beautiful souls, with empathy and understanding, who empowers and gets each individual moving toward the identified goal. Without her, I doubt I would have stuck with running. I probably would have quit when it got too hot, too cold, too wet or too hard.
Tonight marks exactly twelve months ago that I started my running journey. I’m far from running my best. But, I have goals and aspirations. I have achievements and medals. I have an extended running family, and most of all, I have confidence in me. I can’t believe how lucky I was to stumble my way into this community. Turns out Social Media can be useful.