40,000 butterflies in my stomach

A week from today I will be running the Flora Women’s Mini Marathon, a 10k run open to runners, joggers and walkers. It will be a day of firsts for me! It’s my first year running this race, and my first time running 10k.

Every spring over the past few years it was guaranteed that someone, somewhere would ask me if I would be signing up for the mini marathon.  I’ve always said no.  Until this year. I must admit I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand I’m super excited about it, on the other I’m feeling trepidation.

I was looking at the gallery of last year’s run, and that’s when the nerves hit me.  Not because of the distance, but because of the people; the sheer, teeming mass of people that will be running this race.  Last year, over 40,000 women ran the mini-marathon.  Forty. Thousand.

Me; I’m not good with crowds.  I avoid them whenever I can. I have a hard time being in town on a weekend. I get anxious if even ten people are surrounding me; but this race is going to be 100 times more crowded.  Before I signed up I knew in my head that there would be a lot of participants; I’ve been told that in the past.  But seeing the photos drove the message home.  And I’m nervous, really really nervous.

But, I won’t let that stop me. I can’t let that stop me.  And in fact, my need to get OUT of the crowd might just help push me to running the race faster right?!

I am excited too, despite my nerves over the crowd; I know the atmosphere will be amazing and it will be a new achievement for me, one that I will be proud to earn. I’ve never run a 10k before so no matter what time I finish in, it will be a PB.  I even decided that my post-race reward will be a display hanger for my running medals.

I’m also grateful for the chance to run and raise money for the Dublin Simon Community who support and help the homeless and needy.  I love what they do and in the course of my own volunteering, I’ve met some of their volunteers, who are friendly and generous people.  I know charities are taking a real hit right now because of the unscrupulous and deceitful actions of others; people are wary of donating lately which is why I’m truly grateful for every little bit that people have donated so far.  I might have set the bar too high in hoping to raise €400, but I’m delighted with whatever amount I can give to them.  The services they offer for the homeless are amazing, from their soup run to their support and housing services, their recovery and outreach programmes, they do amazing work; I’ve seen them in action with my own eyes.

Helping those in poverty is a cause that means a lot to me because I believe that no one should be without food and everyone deserves a roof over their head. So if you do want to donate to them, please check out my ‘my charity’ page here.  I appreciate any donation, big or small and I know the Simon Community appreciates it too.

In the meantime, I’ll work on getting my confidence up and prepare myself for braving the crowd next Monday.  I know when I cross that finish line it will have been worth it.  And for once in my life I can actually say ‘Why yes, I AM running the mini-marathon’.

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