March 6th will always be one of those days which will be cemented in memory for one main reason, built upon many bricks of other little reasons. This day would be the start of something huge, especially for myself - The official Brooks Running Run Happy Team Launch 2020!
The past two months now I've been in this team and I have only been able to meet one of those team members which alone, filled me with sickening anxiety but like that cold winters day in December where I met Emma, I would be rewarded with such a huge payback of not only pride, but so many emotions that I have not either felt for a VERY long time, or so foreign that I didn't even know what they were.
The day in question came around relatively quickly but like most things in life, the excitement builds and time seems to slow down until the day when its paid back but with interest and poof! its gone!
Trains on the way down were interesting to say the least, Three hours and just as many changes later I found myself in Kings Cross station meeting Eric and bethan for the first time. This was my first encounter with these emotions which are incredibly foreign - see I've been following Eric (@run.the.usa) and Bethan (@Bethanvarn) for at least a year so it already feels like I've known them for ages, if anything I was kind of star struck given these people have helped me to keep motivated when I needed that little kick - it was NOW starting to feel very real.
Navigating the London underground, we finally reached our destination of Hammersmith where we bumped into more of our fellow team members - This bumped our party size up from three (including myself) to around 10. This would be my first test.
With the bullying I encountered as a child going through my teens, I struggle to really incorporate myself into groups of more than about four people - after that my extrovert posterior tends to implode and become so introverted the part of my brain which houses any form of communication skill seems to looses its lines like the trenches at the Somme being battered from enemy shelling.
A short walk later and we arrived at the Re:Centre where we were greeted by the Brooks team and also the majority of the Run Happy Team Members who could make the day.
We were given our latest kit drop which included a pair of shorts, new shirts, hoodie, New pair of Hyperion Tempo and many other things. (THANK YOU!!!!! :D)
Now not only do I have the anxiety of meeting new people in an ever increasing circle, but we were also integrating with members who have already been together for a year, some even two so it was very much joining an already what was an established group. My experiences with this is not great - All too often it would feel like I was being made fun of and the punchline of jokes, something I would just accept to feel like I was part of something.
Quite easily I let my own demons of anxiety bury in their talons of despair but the death grip was torn away when fellow Run Happy team members accepted all of us from the get go. I hadn't realised that in actual fact my own psyche had forced me to forget, we were already friends and from that point on, my wall of anxiety collapsed; not brick by brick but like the kool-aid man making his well known entrance (Ohhh yeahhhh!) and it felt like the reward for fighting off the scourge of social anxiety was paid back with interest.
We started with the day where we learned more about how the brooks brand was established and their core values - it was such a proud moment when this incredible brand has taken on someone the likes of me who prides himself on the same mantras as they do, carrying the torch for them as an ambassador - getting a sense of impostor syndrome, it was the first time where I actually brushed this off, felt true to my stripes and how this amazing company embodies the same principles which I day in, day out live my life by.
We carried onto learning how to take better photos from professionals in the trade and then moving onto learning the technology behind the Brooks footwear - I was in engineering heaven!
The next huge moment for me personally was a member of our team, Katie, came up to me and asked if I could sign her copy of the book me and amber both wrote together "Surviving the war against yourself". I was in stunned shock! I didn't know how to react - If anything i should be asking for Katie to sign my notebook!
The second half of the day saw us in a yoga class which, I would by lying if I said i hated it. The first ten minuets were relaxing, calm and everything in between you would expect with yoga - this was abruptly cut short when our class became the subject of a pedestrian, spying intently at our yoga instructor. My team mate beside me (Becca) mentioned about the lady outside to which i exclaimed "I'm so glad you can see her too!" from that point on we were just the giggling kids at the back of the class!
We then got to try out the new tyres!! The Hyperion Tempo which are due for release in April. There will be another blog post about them soon so wont go into their performance here, but it was finally time to go for a steady run along the iconic River Thames.
We finished off the day with a nice little social down the pub (Obviously) where we had our share of team "Spirit". There was so many of us unfortunately I didn't get chance to speak to everyone, that's true even for the day - but its definitely my mission to next time!
The day was simply incredible and to be in the presence of all those people who - and I wont mince my words - I was completely "fanboy-ing" and in awe of being in a team with people who have really been a drive of inspiration for me; and hopefully I can now be that beacon of inspiration to others to get out, lace up those trainers and Run Happy!
The things i learned from this whole experience is:
1) Anxiety - When its giving you a right good kicking, sometimes when you throw the cards down and go all in - you win the entire pot. (I hope that makes sense?!)
2) Group settings - The bullying episodes were a VERY long time ago, I need to work on getting myself out there more, into larger groups and just know that not everyone is against me. I joined that group as a friend, but I now leave with a family.
3) Crying on the train home - Totally acceptable.
4) Having a smile on your face and cant wait until you meet the new family again - Absolutely Acceptable
I cant wait to have more adventures, meets and runs with the rest of the Run Happy team and represent a brand which is extremely close to my heart. From every side of my heart, Thank you so much for making this day alone - one of the best days of my life.
If you want to follow any of these amazing people, Have a look on the image bellow and go across to instagram! :D
#RunHappy MentalHealthRunner xxx