As part of my day job (that's the one where I look semi-professional and in control and active wear is not the outfit of choice) I have the pleasure of mentoring and coaching others. Today I was working with someone at a crossroads in their career. I asked them to think of a time when they felt so happy their heart could burst out of their chest. This was to help them pin point the reasons, triggers and causes for our moments of true joy and bliss.
It set me thinking about how lucky I am.
I belong to a Facebook group of mums that are runners. When I joined the group, the women on there were strangers, but what amazed me was the support and understanding that all members shared. There are ladies on there just starting out on their running journey and then the ladies that regularly do ultra runs, with distances and times I cannot even comprehend. Yet there is a universal culture of care and I have never seen a harsh word or fall out (which on Facebook is a blooming miracle).
This group of ladies helped me when my infamous photo first reared its sweaty head, and a newspaper wanted to come and video me. My low self-confidence at the time was telling me "don't do it", "everyone will laugh at you". "You don't look like a runner - no-one will believe you". Yet these ladies who I only knew in the virtual world lifted me up (hypothetically of course) and gave me the confidence just to do it. And you know what, no one laughed. Apart from three negative comments in a certain national newspaper, every single comment has been positive and affirming we made the right choice to be brave and let the picture and story go as far as it did. And I hear every day from women (and some guys) about the positive impact my story has had for them. We definitely made the right choice to be brave - I say 'we' as it's not just my journey. So many others are sharing it with me. I'm happy my 'I' became a 'we'.
Through the running group, some ladies from Rugby parkrun contacted me to see if I would like to come to their "Here come the Mums" special parkrun on the Saturday before mothers day. Children and dads took on the volunteer roles to allow all the mums to run and enjoy parkrun. As those of you who have been following my story for some time know, I said this year that I would step outside of my comfort zone and try new things and meet new people. So trigger me on a train to Rugby on Friday afternoon with a date to meet up with the ladies for dinner. Now a while ago the idea of meeting 6 women for the first time in a social setting and in a bar in a place I'd never been would have resulted in a cold sweat and me refusing to go. A night of non-stop gossip and laughing and I have made 6 new friends. We ran on the Saturday together, some for the first time at a Parkrun and we just had a ball.
Crossing the finish line with new friends and women sharing in the joy of the moment - that was one of my bliss moments. I feel lucky.
I got asked to do this blog that you are reading now. Something about my story and it being about a real person and an honest journey, seems to speak to people. It's not just about finding my love of running but me living my life alongside it, warts and all.
When I got my official email with my logins to blog on the Huffington Post was a moment of joy.
Joseph Jordan, a clothing company for runners, asked through a mutual friend for me to write a guest blog for them. They use the hashtag #ChasingFitness. I felt more nervous I think writing that blog post than I do when I write my own. This blog is my story and it's just about me. This one was for runners. What did I have to say that would be of interest to 'proper' runners and speak to those much fitter than me? So I just went back to my original pledge when I started this journey - to be honest and real. Cue my first guest blog.
Seeing my words and my story as a guest blog was another bliss moment. I think I have pin pointed the reasons, triggers and causes for my moments of true joy and bliss.
I am lucky.
Thanks for reading