Thursday, August 15, 2019

Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway

I’ve rewritten this post in a dozen different guises over the last 2 weeks, trying to work out what it is that I’m trying to say and why I think it matters. In all of those drafts, this bit came at the end, but I think actually this is where the story starts:

I have signed up for the UK Athletics Leader in Running Fitness Course. Think, foundation to coaching.

I don’t need it for anything, and I sure as hell have other things I should be doing of a weekend like stripping wallpaper, or spending £170 on, paint and plaster maybe? I’m not an especially talented runner, I don’t work in fitness or coaching, my help or assistance is not required nor requested by anyone. So you might (rightly) be asking: WTF? Chloe, get back to something useful.

Here’s the thing, you can’t be what you can’t see and you cannot allow fear to steal passion and opportunity from you.

I am inspired on at least a weekly basis by the people I talk to who rock up to run with the Adidas Runners London community. These are people who are searching for their identity outside of being a parent or a spouse. They are people who don’t think they deserve to be there because they don’t run certain speeds or distances or worse still because they're not 'runners', and need reminding that they form the fabric of a community. People who are embarking on a journey of doing something for themselves. People looking for friendship and support in a country they don’t know and people who new or returning to sport and don’t know where to start. Showing up takes guts, and I should know, because this is me, having a blast, running strong, feeling at home: 


And this is also me, the picture of anxiety 101, taken less than an hour apart trying to find my voice:


Back in January I committed to myself that I would give AR London a go, having failed miserably (actually miserably, the last time I ran with a crew or club in 2018, I cried on the bus home and never went back….) to find a new running home that gave me the same sense of direction and community that I’d had before relocating back to London in 2017. And home is the word for me. A safe space in which we can dare to try, and a place of welcome that we seek to bring others into. I was introduced to the concept by someone I met at an event and who promised me I'd be welcome (she was right, and happened to be one of the coaches - HI EMMA), and with the London Marathon looming large in April this year, I knew if I could make it work, my training alone would benefit from regular running commitments.

And so it is that every week I’m surrounded by all these amazing people doing all these amazing things, not least, showing up. I found my home. And for me, that left me wondering: what else can I do? What can I put back out into the world that shows gratitude for the home that I've found? For me, the best way I know how to show that is to DO something with it. To find a way to pay it forward or put a little bit of love and support back into our running home. One of the many lessons from training with such diverse and inspirational groups of people, is that it takes all kinds, to do all kinds of things and there are a hundred ways to get there. We need to see people of all levels achieving their goals to understand that we too can achieve all of our different goals at all levels. It isn’t always about the fastest, the furthest or the heaviest, it’s about showing up, being present and putting that satisfying tick in a box on your own plan, working towards your own target, whether that’s busting a 5 minute mile or finding the joy in doing one little thing you couldn't do one month ago, including learning new skills and overcoming the fear of not being good enough to help other people. 


I’m still terrified I’m going to be out of my depth on the day, that I’ll be surrounded by semi-pro runners or that the course leader will quietly ask me to leave because I’m somehow not qualified for this and there's been a mistake. But this is me owning the fear, accepting that there is some fear and it’s ok for me to be a bit nervous, but I will not allow fear of the unknown take away from me something which is driven by desire to do something positive for the world around me. I am taking the spirit of showing up, and using it to get out there, and to do it anyway.


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