I sat this morning with the rain falling contemplating a race, much like I did yesterday and the day before.
I'm not going to lie, I don't always like running in the rain.
When I train for the marathon in the UK it's a bit of a given, but without a race to train for and a more relaxed approach to my training at the moment I'm not going to lie, I didn't really want to go. .
I spent a long time being motivated by the women reading this blog, knowing you were watching, thinking I better go out and lead by example, I mean how can I be the figurehead of a running movement if I have never run.
But that's not really the role of leadership.
I went out for a run. I did a 20 minute interval workout, part in the rain and part in my underground parking lot. And do I feel better? Absolutely. But I ran for myself… and not to get external validation.
This morning the TV watched part of the coverage of the London Marathon and part of potter around the house, setting things up for my next big adventure.
On Saturday (fingers crossed) I'll board a plane and head to Greece to write my next book… a book on leadership.
When I put in place Fat girls' guide to running it was never about being famous, or earning money, or even growing a tribe… I just thought that a few people might find my running journey fun, interesting and inspiring at the same time.
But above all, I put it in place to hold myself accountable.
The last 6 months have been difficult to say the least. Fitness contributes to my mental health as well as my physical health, and during confinement, like many women caring for others, my well-being took a nosedive.
I wasn't taking care of myself properly. I wasn't exercising, I ate foods that I know I felt like shit about, and I drank too much wine and went to bed way too late.
I was also trying to study from home while running a couple of fairly demanding online businesses.
I knew… and I know I need a break.
When my daughter's dad suggested he had Rose for a few months to let me get things back on track, I was worried people would judge me, I was worried about being seen as a bad mom ... but I now know that it was a good decision for all of us… and all 3 of us, a few weeks after the start of the new arrangements, we are adjusting well and happy.
But it was not enough.
I live in a fairly built-up area in East London and felt quite trapped. Newham had some of the highest COVID rates, and the rates are rising again, making me anxious again and in desperate need of space.
I had booked to spend a week in Ibiza next week for a yoga retreat, but unfortunately this was canceled so I thought instead… where in the world do I feel the freest, where could I I escape? and that's where it came to me.
Rhodes in Greece.
5 years ago one of my followers, a lovely lady named Cass, emailed me and asked if I wanted to come and spend a week on the Greek island of Rhodes ... she was also a runner and could see that I was struggling a bit with trying to grow my business.
I said YES… and I went there with Papa Rose and Roses (we weren't together at this point) and we had our one and only family vacation abroad. A few days before we got home, Kass said, "Can I show you something?" and she showed me an amazing 6 bedroom villa on top of a mountain, perfect for a running retreat.
And of course I said YES… and for 3 years I took groups of gorgeous women to Rhodes on an amazing adventure of fitness, wellness and personal development.
And so I return for my own retirement.
I plan to write, run and do yoga. Go on trips to the beach, go hiking, sea kayaking and reconnect with my mission.
For this to happen, it took desire, belief, trust and then action. It forced me to take the lead, to master my destiny.
And do you know what the same is needed every time you put on your sneakers and walk out of your house. And it doesn't matter if you're heading for a 26.2 mile or 2.6 mile run.
The ability to guide oneself should not be underestimated.
By rejecting this, we miss the crucial lessons, we devalue the effort it takes to act, to change our lives… and if not change, but to live them by design.
The story is that to be a leader you have to be a winner, you have to be your head and shoulders above everyone else ... the reality is ... if you are not competing with someone. one other than yourself, and you don't feel the need to be externally validated… so you've already won.
I will be spending the next 3 weeks in Greece writing my next book, in truth it's almost done, as I started writing it around this time last year, but COVID distracted me from publishing it in April as expected.
It will be a different book than the one I almost wrote, and maybe I needed to have lived through the last few months for me to really understand it.
I will also be running and continuing all of my coaching sessions from Rhodes so stay tuned for updates… I promise not to make you too jealous of the best weather and the delicious Mediterranean food.
Most people think of course as a solo venture. And while runners appreciate ( read : need ) quality “me time, ” there’s something quite powerful about course in a pack.
“Most of the time people join groups for the social experience, but the cool thing about a course group is that you can be a part of it without saying a word, ” says Scott Miller, founder of the Boulder Trail Running Breakfast Club. “It’s a great opportunity to connect. ”
Here, Miller plus five other course club founders, share tips for building—and sustaining—your own running club.
Jessamy Little, who founded the Cass Runners Club, a 100-plus person course group in London comprised of her business school classmates, suggests asking potential members what days, times, and locations work best with their schedules. Some groups may favor an early morning sweat sesh, while others may prefer meeting after work. “A recommendation for a newer club is to have two set course days, ” Little says. “One during the week that is more focused on ‘getting it done’ and one on weekends that can have a more ‘fun and footloose’ vibe. ” For Little’s group, the weekend runs were geared toward exploring new areas of the city.
“Don’t get discouraged if not a lot of people show up at first, ” says Marnie Kunz, founder of Runstreet, an NYC-based company that leads art runs—urban runs that pass by street art in cities across the U. S. When Kunz held her first art run in 2015, just one person came : a man on a bike. Kunz was disappointed, embarrassed, and considered canceling the whole thing. But the next week a few more people showed up, and then a few more. Soon, word got out. Runstreet has since hosted more than 200 runs in cities around the country “Realizing that everyone starts from scratch really helps, ” Kunz says.
Kunz stresses the importance of having your own website that houses all information about your runs along with photos. “Social media platforms can change—and not everyone is on every platform—so it helps to have everything in one place. ” Keep your communication consistent across platforms to help create a streamlined brand.
Let people know what they are getting themselves into, Miller says. His Boulder, Colorado-based group of 100-plus members meets every Saturday for a long trail run ( anywhere between two to six hours ) followed by a group breakfast. Because the group’s runs cover a wide range of terrain, he wrote several articles explaining the general types of conditions runners can expect and the group’s approximate pace along with safety tips.
The articles are published on the group’s MeetUp page, and when a new person signs up, Miller sends them the reading material. “If your group is not a beginner group, you need to make that clear, ” Miller says. “You don’t want people to show up and have a bad time. I try to be really descriptive about the time, en ligne, and elevation of our runs so people know what they are in for. ”
Many members of Miller’s group take photos during the runs and post them to the group’s page. He says it helps draw new members. “When people are looking for a course group and they see pictures of runs in amazing areas, people smiling—both men and women—they see that it’s a mixed group that likes to be social and have fun. ”
Frankie Ruiz, cofounder of the Miami Marathon and founder of the Baptist Health South Florida Brickell Run Club, a free, once-a-week, Miami-based group of about 400 runners, can count on one hand the number of times he’s cancelled runs throughout the program’s nine-year tenure.
“Our main message is that we don’t cancel, ” he says. “If it’s really rough out, we’ll go to a parking garage or go indoors and do a core session. ” He says this has helped build the club’s reputation as a consistent amenity offered by the city. “Even if a runner doesn’t show up, I think there’s a comfort knowing that there is something in your city that doesn’t stop. ”
“If you have new people coming in, you can’t assume that they know the rules and guidelines, ” Ruiz says. “Communication needs to be all the time. ” Even though the group’s “weather-proof policy” may be well understood among current members, every time the skies get gloomy, the club blasts their social channels with reminders that the runs are still on. It also helps to communicate the planned route, en ligne, and pace in advance so that new members can plan their fuel and attire accordingly.