Dust it Off

It’s probably not the best sign when your running shoes have a layer of dust on them. And I’m talking a 2cm layer of dust that you’re pretty sure you could use to meld into a third shoe, if necessary. That’s what I was facing last week as I dragged my shoes out of the back of my closet to officially start training for the Dam tot Dam in September. A whole lot of dust, and a whole lot of work ahead.

Depending on the day, month, year, I might call myself a runner. Sometimes a dedicated runner, sometimes a casual runner, sometimes a former-runner and sometimes a please-don’t-ask-me-to-run-with-you-because-I’m-not-sure-I-can-even-make-it-to-the-next-Albert-Heijn-and-back runner. I’ve done a couple of half-marathons and triathlons in years past, and even worked as a “Run Storyteller” for an international athletic wear company, where my entire job was to talk about running! But I’ve never been one of those people for whom running came easy. In my deepest moments of loving running, it was because of the sense of accomplishment it gave me rather than the actual step-by-step process. In my deepest moments of hating running, it was because it was just SO DAMN HARD. But after a nearly 3 year hiatus, and after moving halfway around the world for a new adventure, it was time to pick up those shoes and become some kind of runner again.

I think anyone who is new to running, or is starting on a new training plan or with a new group, knows the sense of trepidation that starts in the days before your first run. Is everyone going to be faster than me? Am I going to have to stop and walk after 30 seconds? Are my black stretchy running pants still going to fit after all that cake?!?! Far too often I’ve let those thoughts and fears stop me from joining a run club or going for a jog with a new friend. Because, what if I fail? Heading into my first group training run last Saturday, I felt the familiar doubts creep in…. Maybe this was a bad idea.

Maybe I should just spend a few more months trying to start running again on my own before I embarrass myself in front of others. Maybe I should just give up on this idea of being a runner completely. But I had already signed up for the race in September, and knew that this was the moment, the time to push those pesky thoughts back down and just run. So with one loosely defined “run” (aka slow jog/walk/shuffle to the grocery store) under my belt in the last 6 months, I dusted off those shoes and joined my first House of Running group training run on a beautiful Saturday morning.