I walked into the restaurant a few minutes late, so almost everyone was already there, drinks in hand, mingling. Normally this would cause me a lot of anxiety – new place, new people, walking in late – but the room was mostly filled with familiar faces. Close friends, casual acquaintances, people who’s names I didn’t know but had a nodding relationship with, so I felt comfortable and at ease. I got my own drink and made the rounds. Hugs and hellos to people I hadn’t seen in a long time; introductions to the people I didn’t know. After everyone had settled in, enjoyed some nibbles provided by Tempo Restaurant and Barrington Hotel, the group was called to gather round for formal introductions and speeches.
That was when it hit me. I wasn’t supposed to be there.
This was the kick off get together for the Blue Nose Team Myles half-marathon ambassadors. They couldn’t possibly be including me in that group. Every self-doubt came flooding in. I’m not a real runner. I’m too old, too slow, too fat. I’ll never be able to do this. They’ll take one look at me on our first run, laugh and run off, leaving me in their dust. After all, I’m always the slowest, the last to finish a race, coming in long after the “real” runners have packed up and gone home.
I looked around again. I knew most of these people, have run with a lot of them before. They’ve never laughed at me. They’ve never left me behind. They’ve cheered and supported me. So why would this time be any different?
After the speeches were done everyone had the chance to mingle again, ask questions, meet anyone they hadn’t had the chance to talk to yet. I was full of questions. I’m a planner and organizer and have a lot of anxiety when I don’t know exactly what is going to happen. So I found the head coach Victoria from Lifemark and hit her up with a slew of questions! What was the training plan? Was it based on pace or time? Does it account for people like me who can’t run fast or for long? She listened to all of my concerns and reassured me that Yes, I could do this, and that I would have the support and structure that I needed to succeed. That it was going to be My Race at My Pace.
I left the restaurant that night still with many fears and concerns, but also with an overall sense that I did belong and that with the support of the mentors, coaches and my fellow ambassadors that I could this.