I sat this morning with the rain tipping down contemplating a run, much like I did yesterday and the day before.
I am not going to lie I don’t always enjoy running in the rain.
When I’m marathon training in the UK it’s kind of a given, but with no 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’ve spent a long old time being motivated by the women that read this blog, knowing that you guys were watching, thinking I’d better get out and lead by example, I mean how can I be the figurehead of a running movement if I never actually run.
But that’s not what leadership is really about.
I did get out for a run. I did a 20-minute interval session, part in the rain and part in my underground carpark. And do I feel better for it? Absolutely. But I ran for me…and not to get external validation.
This morning I’ve had the TV on part watching the London Marathon coverage and part pottering around the house, getting things ready for my next big adventure.
On Saturday (fingers crossed) I will be boarding a plane and heading to Greece to go and write my next book….a book all about leadership.
When I set up The Fat Girls Guide to Running it was never about being famous, it was never about making money, it wasn’t even about growing a tribe…I just thought a few people might find my running journey funny, interesting and at a push inspiring.
But most of all, I set it up to hold myself accountable.
The past 6 months have been challenging to say the least. Fitness helps with my mental health as well as my physical health, and during lockdown like many women looking after others, my wellbeing took a nosedive.
I wasn’t looking after myself properly. I wasn’t exercising, I was eating foods I know make me feel shitty, and I was drinking too much wine and going to bed far too late.
I was also trying to home school while managing two pretty demanding online businesses.
I knew…and I know I need a break.
When my daughters Dad suggested he had Rose for a few months to let me get things back on track I worried that people would judge me, I worried that I would be seen as a bad mum…but I know now it was a good decision for us all…and all 3 of us a few weeks into the new arrangements are adjusting well and happy.
But it wasn’t enough.
I live in a pretty built-up area of East London, and I have felt pretty trapped. Newham had some of the highest rates of COVID, and the rates are rising again, and this is making me anxious again, and in desperate need of space.
I was booked to spend a week in Ibiza next week for a yoga retreat, but that has sadly now been cancelled and so instead I thought…where in the world do I most feel free, where could I escape to? and that’s where it came to me.
Rhodes in Greece.
5 years ago one of my followers a lovely lady called Cass, emailed me and asked me if I would like to come and spend a week on the Greek Island of Rhodes…she was a runner too, and could see I was struggling a bit with trying to grow my business.
I said YES…and I headed out there with Rose and Roses Dad (we were not together at this point) and we had our one and only family holiday abroad. A few days before we were due to come home, Kass said “can I show you something?” and she showed me an incredible 6 bedroom villa on top of a mountain, perfect for a running retreat.
And so of course I said YES….and for 3 years I took groups of gorgeous women to Rhodes to have an incredible adventure of fitness, wellbeing, and personal development.
And so I am heading back for my own retreat.
I plan to write, and run, and do yoga. To take trips to the beach, to hike, to sea kayak, and to reconnect to my mission.
For me to make this happen it required desire, belief, trust and then action. It required me to take a lead, to be in control of my destiny.
And do you know what the same thing is required every time you put on your trainers and head out the door. And it doesn’t matter if you are heading out to run 26.2 miles or 2.6 miles.
The ability to lead yourself shouldn’t be underestimated.
By dismissing this, we miss the crucial lessons, we devalue the effort it takes to take action, to change our lives…and if not change, but to live them by design.
The narrative is that to be a leader you have to be a winner, you have to be head and shoulders above everyone else…the reality is…if you are not competing against anyone other than yourself, and you do not feel the need to be externally validated…then you have already won.
I will spend 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 planned.
It will be a different book to the one I had almost written, and perhaps I needed to have experienced the last few months for me to really get it.
I will also be running and continuing all of my coaching sessions from Rhodes, so keep tuned for updates…I promise not to make you too jealous of the better weather and the lovely Mediterranean food.