Think of something that you are afraid to do. I don’t mean something that’s super scary, such as bungie jumping or hang gliding, but something more every day, like speaking in public, or eating solo in a restaurant. Now, go do it. That’s what experts say we’re supposed to do: face our fears.
And that’s what I did this week. I ran in a group.
Mind you, this isn’t the first time I’ve participated in a group run, or even the first time I joined in this group run. But, by letting go of my past misgivings, I had a great time.
Usually in group runs, I’m one of the last to finish. I’m not a fast runner in a city where nearly EVERYONE runs fast. Even slow runners will tell me “I’m really slow” and WOOSH!!! They’re off at a 9-minute mile pace. My normal pace hovers in between 11:00 and 11:30 minutes per mile, which is actually 30 seconds faster than last year. I am hoping to decrease that time even more this year, but until then I will consistently be a slow runner in the Bay Area.
Let me say that my fears and anxiety were all self-induced. The running group SF Runs, is nothing but terrific. They are truly good people, with a great leader, Leonard Adler, whose passion for running knows no boundaries. The free group runs are welcoming and warm, even if the weather is cold out, there are always friendly faces smiling at newcomers.
After my first time with the group, it was okay enough. But I was so far behind everyone that I felt everyone had to wait and wait for me at the end. Leonard ran the whole three miles with me. I wished and wished I could run faster and keep up with them. I wondered if I was up to this whole group run thing. I know I shouldn’t have been so doubtful, but it didn’t help my self-esteem much.
I left that first run wanting to do more, but not wanting to be so slow, so OLD so SLOW…..
But I did. I gathered my fears, threw them out, swallowed my pride and joined in this Tuesday. I kept up with a small group for most of the three miles and I was just a little slower that last mile. I ran nearly a mile faster than my normal pace.
I conquered my fear!
I can’t do anything about being older, but I can certainly change my attitude, cease my fears and enjoy how I am lucky to have wonderful people in a city where good people are getting harder to find.
Have great runs this week, conquer your fears!