At a New Year’s party over a good few glasses of prosecco I got chatting to a lovely local, (yes Jacquie M – that’s you) who I didn’t know well, but what I did know was that she was a ‘runner’. Not only was she a runner, but she was a member of a RUNNING CLUB (terrified emoji). Not only was she a member of a running club, but she actually was a coach. OMG I am not worthy. Somehow over the course of the conversation, however, she convinced me that the running club wasn’t scary, that I didn’t need to be an Olympic qualifier to join, and I committed to her to sign up. That was clearly nothing at all to do with the prosecco.
I kept my drunken New Year promise, and sign up I did, to to Dorking and Mole Valley Athletic Club, and with the membership receipt alone, in January 2018, I became a runner!!
It seemed the first thing I needed to do was to kit myself out in some hi-vis gear and get a head torch. Ooh, this was different. Sunset had previously been a readily accepted barrier to running, whereby I couldn’t possibly go out, as it wasn’t safe. Surely on a winter’s evening I should pour myself a glass of wine and release the pressure of the unwatched TV spilling out of my Sky+ (85% full need to binge watch something). How could I possibly run on a dark, cold night?
Well, it turns out, quite easily. Join the club, get the gear, and Bob’s your pacer. So this is how I first discovered that I may just have been a potholer in a former life….(see pics).
In all honesty I was absolutely terrified turning up for my first Tuesday evening run. The ridiculousness of my gear aside, it was all those horrible ‘new girl’ feelings, wrapped in doubts about my ability to keep up, being too old to join a running club, not fitting in, being an outsider etc.. This was somewhat exacerbated by the meeting point being a high school – I literally had to walk in the school gates on my own, in my new ‘uniform’ and try to find my ‘class’. Hideous.
I wasn’t going to let that deter me though. Little me is fierce, and I was determined to see it through. As soon as I approached the group, people started rolling around the floor laughing, pointing at me… oh no, no, they didn’t, that was my mind going nuts. They actually smiled, welcomed me, asked me my name. Oh my God they were so super friendly I went from one extreme to the other and wondered if this was some deep subversive cult. Surely people aren’t this nice to complete strangers? Well, in the running community, it turns out they are. I was given a choice of groups to run with – they cater for all levels depending on your speed, ability, how far you want to go etc… So headtorch donned, in the cold January night, I chose my group (‘Janet’s group’) and joined in. We ran on roads, worked hard, stopped often, and managed to chat in between. Every other person in the group appeared to be called Jane so that made it easier from the outset. Every time I smiled and said ‘thanks Jane’ I had at least a 50% chance of ingratiating myself (as long as I didn’t do that to the men). I ended the run totally buoyed, happy hormones flowing and with a new bunch of friends. All called Jane. Roll on next week.
First 2 pics – tentative and terrified beforehand. 3rd pic – grinning like a born-again cult member afterwards. Go me.
Thoughts of today: I miss writing, need to get back on it after studying. Maybe I’ll start a blog! (insert smiley face emoji). What will be of interest? Farthest official race I’ve ever done is 8km. Next stop ultra. Hmm….could that be interesting…? Would anyone relate? Am I nuts?