I need to be better about stepping outside of my comfort zone.
For example, on Saturday, I was fortunate enough to be asked to join an indoor marathon relay team with the Oiselle ladies up in Milwaukee. A running friend of mine who is on the team reached out to me when someone dropped out and they were looking for someone to fill in. A month out it seemed like a good idea, but as the race came closer I found myself getting in my own head.
What if I’m not fast enough? I won’t know anybody. I don’t want to let my team down. What if I can’t do it. Everyone is going to know everyone else except me.
If I hadn’t already committed (knowing that my dropping would screw everything up for other people), I would have tried to find a way out. Because that’s what I do when I’m scared or intimidated. I look for excuses. I try to justify not doing things. Which is weird to me, because on the day-to-day I am incredibly committed and good at getting things done. Then it struck me – it’s all about the comfort zone. Which got me thinking even more…
I did the same thing with joining a marathon training group in 2012. And 2013. (This is where many of my running buddies came from).
I did the same thing before I joined a racing team. (This is where I learned the importance of having the support of a training group)
Each of these events were something that I forced myself to do, even though I was nervous. Even though I wanted to make excuses and find an “out.” Looking back, making the choice to step out my comfort zone wasn’t just about showing up at the event itself, but making the choice to open myself up to new experiences and people.
So knowing this, why is it still so hard? Since I have moved out to the Western suburbs, I still have yet to find a group to run with. This has resulted in my driving an hour or more on the weekends (which isn’t always a bad thing, but does take up a significant amount of time) or running alone (which gets old for long runs). I can use any number of excuses to justify this to myself (being “too busy” or “I’ll go next week: always a solid go-to), but the truth of the matter is I am afraid to try something new.
But this weekend has inspired me. So I am challenging myself to get outside my comfort zone and joining more group runs (even when I won’t know anyone there). To attend events that seem interesting (even if I don’t know what to expect). Because if experience has taught me anything in this regard, the risk is worth the reward.