Feeling very out of sorts, I posted the following on FB on Saturday morning:
You probably don't know how painfully shy the person who showed up at your club's group run is. Or how far out of her comfort zone she was. Last year, when she showed up for a run, people were welcoming, so she thought she'd be okay. A couple of you said good morning as you walked past her, but after 10 minutes of standing there, nervously clutching her water bottle, feeling anxious and out of place, with no one talking to her, she left. But you probably didn't notice that.
The supportive comments this post received meant a lot to me. You see, not everyone knows how shy I am. It took a lot for me to even drive to this group run. When I got there, it took a lot for me to get out of the car. I seriously considered turning around in the parking lot and just driving home. But I didn't. I metaphorically put on my big girl panties and got out of the car. I slowly walked to the club house, and nervously said good morning to the people who were already there. A couple of people acknowledged me, but most didn't. The few women that were there just continued on in their conversation as if I was invisible. And that's what I felt like. Invisible. I toughed it out for several more minutes, feeling more and more like a loser the longer I stood there. Funny how the big girl panties can quickly disappear in situations like this. Finally, feeling a panic attack coming on, I walked away from the club house, back to the car. I managed to drive away (past the club house, mind you) and get down the road a bit before I started crying.
When I got home, it was not even 7:30, so The Aussie was still in bed. I climbed in beside him, doggies hopping on the bed to snuggle with us. He asked what time it was and I said 7:30. Puzzled, his asked "aren't you going?" I told him I was back. He asked what happened. While he's a very outgoing person, he knows how difficult things like this are for me. He just held me as I cried while telling him what had happened. He told me that I at least made the effort and that was what was important.
It was important. I made the effort. But I won't be again. Oh, I'll show up for races that this group puts on a couple of times a year, but I won't be showing up for group events. Want to hear something funny? When I was half asleep not long ago I thought about why I sign up for races. This is going to sound pathetic, but part of it is the pictures of groups of friends all running together, wearing goofy costumes, having fun. It's like I'm still the nerdy little kid, always picked last for the team, looking at a group of friends from the other side of the chain link fence. I want to be a part of their popular group. But I'm not. A dear friend left this comment to my post ... When you are out there in a race it is just you and the pavement. You have everything you need inside you right now... She's right. I do have everything I need inside me. I'll be fine. Just me and the pavement.