And actually it has nothing to do with Taper Madness – or even stressing about the marathon. I’m actually scarily calm about that (though the temps going into the 70s aren’t my idea of fun – I’d prefer cooler – but there’s nothing I can do about the weather, so…). The race itself? I got this!
It does have to do with the weekend. And namely all the group gatherings and stuff that tends to go on around them. (My ROTE readers, this is what I’ve already alluded to on the forum. Remember…it’s nothing personal!!) Bear with me…it’s gonna be kind of stream-of-consciousness.
I get that running is a community. Really, I do. But that said…
I’m actually pretty shy. People don’t believe me when I say that, but until I get comfortable, I’m shy.
I also don’t slip easily into friendships. It takes me a while to warm up to people and to feel like I can trust them. Several reasons for this.
First, I know it didn’t help that my best friend Phillip died right before I turned 5. That’s intense stuff at any age, but especially at 5. Then a couple of years later, my new friend Jill pretty much abandoned me for another girl in her kindergarten class. That just sort of started a whole tendency to hold myself back at first even in one on one friendships, I guess it’s the little kid in me waiting to be abandoned. Or the more recent history part of me waiting to be betrayed and disappointed by broken promises and broken trusts.
Additionally I’ve got a huge history of always being on the outside of groups, never able to penetrate the “inner circles”. Especially where people have known each other for a while. I’ve talked a bit about this on my other non-running blog – specifically this post. I don’t slip easily into groups as it seems so many others do.
I do have to say here that my experience with ROTEars at Disneyland was great! Especially at the pre-event with Jeff Galloway where Megan and Gina met me and immediately started talking with me. The morning of the race I talked with them and a few others, but still I felt a bit of the outsider. (I have been given props for approaching though as others watch from afar.)
Online forums can be great for chatting and getting advice and that type of thing. Many people easily make the jump to face-to-face meetings. I’m not one of them. For all the reasons mentioned above, but also because throughout my life and even as an adult, I’ve been bullied in various ways by people I’ve met in various online forums (not just running-related…and really not at all running-related yet as I’ve really held back with those encounters) I have opened myself up to and trusted. More on that here. I’ve found that the whole online thing makes bullying even easier than it used to be – for some reason bullies don’t seem to think that online hurts as much. They’re wrong. Again, I am not saying I’ve been bullied by anyone in an online running forum – just saying why I’m not “OMG JUMP RIGHT IN!!!” like some people are.
I’ve found that in so many cases, there’s just an assumption among running forums (moreso than others) that because we’re running and we happen to be running the same race, we automatically want to spend all free time together and/or be BFFs. For me, reading and feeling that kind of pressure has led me to leave at least one forum. While I am excited about the chance to say hi, I have my own things I want to do as well.
Things may be different when/if I travel to a race on my own (and therein may lie the rub…my travle races have been to Disney where I’ve been with my sister and hanging with Seth, my running buddy, so I’ve had people there I know), but in the case of Marathon Weekend, my family will all be together. It’s been a while since that’s happened and it’s my dad’s 70th birthday weekend. I don’t mind saying hi or in the case of ROTE (most likely) even hanging out before heading to start corrals. But I don’t feel like this weekend is the time I can go running to every (or even any) group meet-up or especially meal. I’m not going to abandon my family for that long, and I’m not going to ask them (all non-runners) to hang out with runners or eat somewhere that may not be our choice. I’m also not into the matching shirts thing. That’s just me and my streak of individualism. Heck, I think I’ve mentioned on here how I’m not really even a fan of wearing my running club shirt at races (and yes, I do still feel like an outsider in running club a lot of the time). And in at least one case (not ROTE), whether intentional or not, I was made to feel less of a “group member” because I wasn’t all into meeting up. That kind of pressure isn’t good for me and is the quickest way to run me off.
I hope this is making some kind of sense.
I am looking forward to seeing my ROTE friends – especially as I’ve gotten to know you a little over DL and W&D. I’m looking forward to hopefully meeting Damaris since that never happened over NYC Marathon. I’m looking forward to saying hi to some other friends – Rick and Amy in particular. But given everything, my family will be my socialization focus that weekend. That’s who I am, and I’m not going to apologize for it.
I guess mainly what I’m saying is if I get the chance to meet you in person, it’s cool! Come and say hi! I won’t bite your head off by any means. But also don’t be offended if I’m a bit withdrawn. I will warm up at my own pace. Sometimes it’s faster, sometimes it’s slower. I’m not anti-community at all (in spite of what this post may make it seem). I’m just gun-shy and take some time to warm-up and trust.