Skip to main content

Running - Bailing - Hiding


Over the years I have spent a lot of time with big groups of people and been mostly okay with milling about between them all. Every January I would begin the year laughing at my lack of co-ordination in aerobics classes, following the annual binge and need to "quick fix" it all better. 

I've had no problem doing a yoga, pilates or dancercise class.. Though this is probably due to my Dad's self deprecating sense of humour, as it taught us how to build a front and take the piss out of ourselves when we got the moves wrong. As my deafness increased I came to realise I would always be one move behind the rest of the class. Shouting 'grapevine' or 'salutation' at me is pointless, but watching the teacher at the front, I can follow along no problem.

Throughout my teens I ran for Halesowen Athletics Club and trained at the Hadley Stadium in Smethwick. I trained for several years, to compete at 800m and 400m distances and after a few really badly strategised races, where I bombed off in the lead, only to bomb out at the end, I got on okay with race day, listened to my coach, enjoyed the competition and happily trained 5 days a week to shave the odd second off, here and there. We'd regularly train as a pack, do drills, go for group runs outside the track and it would be totally cool. 

Then on reaching 17, I completely turned my back on it all and was totally uninspired by racing and athletics, so simply walked away at the start of the season, without any sadness. Looking back at it, it may have been due to boys, booze or just a desire to have some free time again. Who knows. But I tried to return to track in my early thirties at the local stadium in Cardiff, only to be deterred by a bunch of girls who were really flippin cliquey, or perhaps I was having a bout of paranoia. I'd had a gap of 15 years since I had previously trained, I was overweight, it wasn't a happy situation, so I left.

So since then I just got on with running alone. I didn't need to feel like I was keeping up with anyone, I didn't have to torture myself for having an extra couple of stones in the trunk, I just concentrated on clearing my head and trying to remember to breathe. I love being able to lose myself in my tunes and being able to run along and choose to turn left or turn right, in which ever direction feels best. I didn't want to talk, or run and talk, just mentally file all my shit back into the right place again.

But every now and then I miss the company, the banter and the friendship of those group training sessions. I like having other people to talk to about running stuff, to ask advice, to give each other that mutual support and encouragement. The only problem these days, is that the desire to meet up with other people, is also wrapped up with anxiety, worry and a lack of confidence that occasionally stops that from happening, despite really wanting to participate.

And the feelings associated with that inability to participate come and go like yo yo's. For instance last week I joined two new groups and had an amazing positive experience and I will definitely be going back to joining them again this week. But by Thursday I was not in the right place to train with my regular folks at Track East and on Friday I completely failed to show up at a social run that I'd had planned for 2 months. 

The Friday night session was supposed to be with the London Midnight Runners, for their Matrix Special.. They seem like a great social group, were very welcoming online, but my head just wasn't there and I bailed 100%. I was so mad at myself that I then bailed on meeting up with my mates instead of going, as I had a really strong desire to get shit faced and turn all the stupidness off in my head. 

Luckily they were really understanding about it, let me chill and made an arrangement to do something another day. I hid for a while and got up early the next day to join a couple of other friends for a long walk on Saturday instead. I don't know why this happens and whether its my body telling me I'm too tired, or its my head telling me I'm shit, but when that desire to hide or bail comes up, I'm completely taken with it, unless I am letting anyone else down in the process.

Until this year, I had not been scared of busy places, talking to new people or making sense of the noise. Something this year has flicked over though and sometimes I get phased out, like that moment when you are standing in the station, with all the people buzzing around you. 

When it washes over, I feel like I'm a tiny pebble being swooshed about on the shore and the waves are in control of everything around me, pushing bigger, stronger and quicker.

In reality, I know this is totally internal to me and that I'm the only one that can change it, one footstep at a time xx

Additional Posts You May Enjoy

Adventures in Girona: Winter Training Camp

It's taken a while to come down from the buzz of this camp, to try to put into words the boost which the experience has given me. To be fair, its probably gonna take a while longer for it all to sink in still, but I'll try to give you a slice of how it went, to tide you over until I have got my head back into gear and worked my way through all the footage.

In January, I was totally lucked out, to be given the opportunity to join the Adventure Syndicate ladies, in Spain for a week long Winter Training Camp, with Lee Craigie, Emily Chappell and coach John Hampshire, within the grounds of Girona Cycling. As well as being led by this incredible team, the group of ladies participating alongside me, were a force to be reckoned with.

Do you ever sign up for something, with anticipation that its going to be pretty cool, only to find that you have by some strange fate, found yourself in the middle of a complete game changer? This was my initial thought on day one and over the course o…

Calling All Ploggers

We're all finding ourselves surrounded by more and more brands and channels making us aware of the rising plastic pollution problems. Most of us have been trying to recycle for years, but there is still too much plastic ending up in landfill, or worse across our landscapes and in our seas. Our European cousins in Sweden are ahead of the game as usual with their efforts to clean up and have been combining their love of the outdoors, exercise and being generally good humans and cleaning up after each other.. Behold a new phenomenon - Plogging! Erik Ahlström started the Plogging movement, which is a combination of litter picking and jogging, when he moved to Stockholm from the Åre ski resort. He created the website Plogga to help organise events in 2016 and it has been growing internationally since. The Mindful Movement Club recently had a beach walk and clean up session at the beginning of summer near Shoeburyness, but interest in this proactive way to get exercise and clean our enviro…

Bike Week - Not just for Newbies

After months of staring at my bike and thinking about getting back to my commuter days, I finally bit the bullet yesterday and got my pedals turning again. Its been almost a year since my accident and its fair to say that I have not been feeling too cool about the prospect of dancing the wheels between the trucks and buses on route to work again. But I haven't wanted to lose the bike, or the choice, I just had a massive confidence drop in my ability to feel okay about getting back out there.
Truth is, I'm still not totally cool with it, but I am getting better. Following the old bike getting written off by the insurance company, I have been able to purchase a replacement Genesis Road bike (Ruby), but I still don't have the balls to use it. I don't want to be on the drops in traffic and this has led to me keeping it in storage, rather than putting it back out on the road. So I am dabbling again with my single speed PlugOne Charge (Old Blue) as its a familiar friend and…