I Used to Run Alone
I’ve been running for about 10 years now, and all the while I’ve had this stigma that I needed to run alone. In my mind I probably wasn’t someone anyone would want to run with. I may be too slow, hold them back, or not enjoy the route they do. I like to push myself within my own head, and I was in competition with myself. I never wanted to run with anyone.
That was until I started opening my mind up to the community that was standing…or running rather…right in front of me.
The Running Community
This was all until I discovered this underlying running community that I knew nothing about. When you really open yourself up to people, you can find community in anything, and the running community is no different. There is an entire network of people ready to support you, at the starting line on your team. It took me years, but I finally realized that all of these people around me at a race weren’t my competition, but my support system. They are my running family.
Once I began to realize this I started reaching out to many different organizations. The first group I discovered was the Oiselle Volee. All of my life I’ve had this mentality that everyone around me, especially girls, were my competition. This group forced me to seriously get over that. This was an empowering group of women who forced me to support them as they supported me, showed me friendship, gave me advice, and most importantly, taught me that I didn’t have to run alone. In fact, this particular group of women helped me get over my hold up of wanting to just run alone. Since joining this group of women over a year ago, I’ve gotten the courage to go on numerous group runs…I’ve lost count at this point, and have gained a support system I never knew I was missing. I never would have gotten through my first marathon, or my first injury, without them, and there are no words of thanks I could ever give them that would be enough.
After experiencing this wondering group of women I wanted more of this support. I craved it. So I began to reach out to other companies to see what other opportunities were out there to gain a further sense of community in this wonderful world of running. I began reaching out to become an ambassador to some of the companies I admire. You can say what you want about ambassadorships, whether they’re annoying or fake or just attention grabbers, but they really do open you up to this wide world of support and encouragement, which was exactly what I was looking for. You’re surrounded by like-minded people while being able to support the brands you love.
Through this search I found BOCO Gear. I shouldn’t say I found them, as I’d been wearing their hats for years, but I discovered their ambassador program. After getting accepted I was introduced to yet another channel of support that was missing in my life and one that was completely different than what Oiselle provided me, but again allowed me to not run alone. While I got a lot of my support from Oiselle via physically running with my teammates, BOCO provides me something different than what I was accustom to. These were people I had never run with, who shared loves for a variety of sports outside of running, including cycling, triathlon, climbing....anything really. It expanded outside of running, and all of a sudden I had this plethora of strength, support, and positivity coming right through my social media channels through people who loved a variety of sports other than running, but shared a common love for a brand I loved too. Through BOCO I gained the support I was looking for while expanding, but still including, the running community.
The best part about all of it is how my support systems seamlessly overlapped with one another. There are women I know from Oiselle who are ambassadors for BOCO right alongside me, and I find our team making orders for BOCO gear regularly. Running has such an elaborate community that I'm not sure what took me so long to find it.
I'm Never Running Alone
And just like that all of a sudden I wasn’t running alone. Even though it took me a second to come around, and a second longer to find these support systems, I'm so glad I have. The advice, support, and strength I gain from these communities are unparalleled and I wouldn't be the runner I am today without them. Because even if I wanted to, I'm not running alone anymore, and I'm loving it.