Saturday, 15 October 2011

Facing up to life with a little help from my trainers and even more help from my friends.

The last couple of months have been a bit of a rollercoaster, with far more downwards sloping stretches of track than up. Many tears have been shed but I’m feeling more positive than ever right now even though the situations around me haven’t really changed. The only thing that has changed is the way I am dealing with problems that I now realise are completely out of my control. Life throws many challenges your way and sometimes you have to decide which problems are yours to fix. I have a tendency to try and carry the world on my shoulders but sometimes you have to realise you can’t fix everything.
You may have read about my first big running challenge when I ran the Paris half marathon back in March with Team Bangs on the Run. When I returned, I basked in the excitement for a little too long and before it even dawned on me I was taking an extended unplanned break from my running. The longer I left it, the harder it got to throw the trainers back on and life just managed to get in the way. It felt a little bit like when you lose weight and get excited. You start with a little bit of chocolate and then a bit more and the weight creeps back on so you’re as fat as you were to start with and you just give up altogether. I was still thinking about running but the problem was I just wasn’t actually doing much of it. Work got busier and I ended up staying in the office longer leaving little time for running.  As the exercise diminished, I got more sluggish and lethargic so I signed up to the Run To The Beat half marathon to set my sights on a new challenge. 
Look at these babies for motivation. Designed by me and won at Run Dem Crew courtesy of Nike ID

I had good intentions but it seemed that every time I cried, a little more of my running mojo was being lost leaving me empty. I tried so hard but I just couldn’t enjoy it. Running can be a solitary business and I usually thrive on the alone time. I like my own company and sometimes it’s refreshing to just say nothing which is quite a change for me. However, while I was feeling down I just wasn’t really enjoying the ‘me’ time and couldn’t motivate myself.
I had considered joining Run Dem Crew for a while but I live in Barnes and they run in Shoreditch. Fairly far in distance terms but even further apart in culture. I’m not cool enough to hang with the handlebar moustached, vintage-wearing cool kids in Shoreditch but I knew that running on my own wasn’t working. I headed over to RDC with a couple of my other running buddies a couple of months back and I haven’t looked back. It is seriously one of the best things I have done this year and I’m pleased to say there have been no handlebar tashes in sight. Just a group of amazingly positive people that make you feel welcome every week and encourage you to push yourself a little bit more. And yes, Barnes and Shoreditch are a fair distance apart but it's worth the journey!
 I ran Run To The Beat and against all the odds I actually finished on a course that was way more hilly and far hotter than I had ever anticipated.  It is traditional for Rum Dem Crew founder Charlie Dark to award members of the RDC with their race medals at the session following the run. Tuesday 27th September was a special night and it was on that night that I realised just how special RDC is to me. As Charlie told inspirational stories about himself and shared anecdotes about the achievements of other RDC members whilst presenting them with their medals, a tear rolled down my cheek. It was a different type of tear. Not sadness but happiness, positivity and a whole lot of proud all rolled in to one. It was at that moment I realised that in the time since I had joined RDC the sad tears I had been crying had stopped.
I look way happier than I actually am here.

It wasn’t that the sad things had gone away but I’d been distracted and focused in a positive way. The inspirational stories and positive vibes are infectious and you can’t help but leave RDC with a beaming smile. The combination of a sense of achievement, the rush of endorphins and the opportunity to hang out with some seriously inspiring people forces you to crack more than a smile and it makes you re-evaluate things. I look forward to Tuesdays and I know that each week I will get the chance to meet with friends and meet new friends. Not only that but I am loving my running again too. The running keeps me sane at a time where things around me are slightly crazy. I know it can be hard to actually put the trainers on and get out the door but nothing beats the sense of freedom or the feeling of achievement when you’re done. Before a lot of runs I do have that niggle of ‘shall I just go home and throw myself on the sofa?’ but I ignore it because I know how amazing I will feel after the run.  The more I run, the more energy I have and the happier I am so I’m just going to keep running.
Running is a metaphor for life. It is important to set yourself goals in life and when you really put your mind to it you can achieve whatever you want. If you don’t set challenges then you’ll just drift along with no sense of purpose. There are some things in life that you have no control over but you do have the power to change your behaviour. I realise now that it’s a waste of time and energy stressing over things that you can’t change. Instead put that energy to good use and use any reserve you do have left to support those around you that may need it.  Life will be much happier. I’m still there for those around me as much as I can be but by focusing on my running goals I’m much happier and I’m pretty sure I’m more fun to be around. Thank you Run Dem Crew for helping me find my running mojo. The next challenge on the agenda  is Mo Running in Greenwich Park on 12th November and I will be seriously disappointed if I fail to see a handlebar moustache that day.

1 comment:

  1. I love reading your posts - they are always so warm & eloquently written. I REALLY wish I lived in London whenever I read anything about Run Dem Crew, sounds like something pretty special is going on over there! x