A group of runners covered in colored powder after running Color Me Rad.

Intimidated by “tribes” but also wanting to be a part of one

tribe
/trīb/
noun
  1. a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.

This first Follow Friday is dedicated to the running tribe. That moniker alone is enough to make it sound exclusionary, and the definition of tribe makes it seem like it would be hard to be accepted into one. I currently stalk many a running tribe on the social medias but have yet to try to join one.

There’s a reason running is my sport; it’s because I’m scared of people and I don’t need people to run! More accurately, it’s because I’m scared to try things and be vulnerable in front of people. Who isn’t? This is nothing new!

They always claim to be a very welcoming bunch with hashtags such as #justshowup and #nojerksallowed, and I’m sure they are! But then I look at their feeds and become super intimidated. There really is no excuse for me to not join them since they have an open invitation on their social profiles. But I’ve always told myself that I didn’t need a group of people to run. I just need my shoes and some good music.

But lately I’ve been feeling like I want to have people to talk to about training who also understand what I’m doing. I can talk to my boyfriend for hours, and he listens and is really good at not letting his eyes glaze over (bless him), but it’s a one-sided conversation. I can talk to my personal trainer about it, but she wants me to focus less on running and more on muscles so she’s really good at changing the subject. Plus I only have a few sessions left with her and I won’t be buying more for a long time because she’s expensive (but worth it). I’m really excited that I will have a friend training along side me once marathon training starts so we can talk to each other endlessly about it. But that’s still about 5 months away.

I have been following a few of these tribes on social media for years, just about as long as I’ve been running, and I would tell myself that when I’m a better and stronger runner I’ll show up to one of their workouts. Well dammit, I’ve been running for six years, I’ve run 16 races including three half marathons! I’m training for my fourth half marathon and I’ve committed to training for my first marathon. I’ve hired a personal trainer to get my muscle game on point. Can I just be ready now?

The short answer is yes. I’m ready. I have been ready this whole time. It’s my head that isn’t wasn’t. I let my own self doubt and insecurities get in the way of meeting some really rad people. I’m also scared that they will push me out of my running comfort zone, but isn’t that kind of the point of running with others?

I’m done holding myself back because “I’m shy”, “I’m not a good enough runner”, etc. No more negative talk, no more excuses. I would like to get to a point where I’m showing up for November Project Vancouver every week before work, as well as running with a local running group once a week.

I’m a planner. So I fear the unknown and I HATE being late. I can’t just do something new before work without knowing exactly what’s up. So my first time showing up for November Project will be when I’m on vacation (Wednesday August 30). That way I can do a dry run. I need to make sure there’s a safe place to leave a bag while we workout, I also need to know that I’ll have enough time to get from Queen Elizabeth Park to my office in time to shower and start work at 8:30. If it all works out I’ll be joining them weekly (if they accept me – they totally will).
Update: I already met this goal and went to one of their pop-up workouts! It wasn’t without interference from my social anxiety.

And in the meantime, my second goal is to go for a run with a running group by the end of the month. This should be a piece of cake because they meet behind my apartment building at least once a week.
Update 2: I already met this goal as well! I’m on fire.

I can do this. People aren’t scary. Being vulnerable is OK.

Until next time, finish your coffee and go run!

6 comments

    • I know, right! I saw them run past my window one day and was like “what the what?!” And then realized it was a group I had been following for ages. I’m going to join them next week! *nerves* Thanks for reading. ❤️

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      • That’s awesome–I bet it will be a blast. I never run with people, I am very much a solo runner–but I have another friend who is running the marathon in november as well and we have decided to try and do a long run together–we will see how it goes! I figure it’s good to be grown and be open to different things once in a while!

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  1. […] I know I said I wanted to come out of my shell, but I expected a much more gradual process than this. I didn’t just come out of my shell, it feels like I exploded out. But is it too much too soon? Is this amount of progress sustainable? Or will my introverted tenancies get overloaded by all of this socialization and pull me back into my alone space? I’m proud of myself, though! […]

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