“I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.” – Cheryl Strayed
My name is Laviai and I am mostly known for running around an oval track once over. (That’s the 400 metres in case anyone didn’t get the long hand version of it).
I’d like to also think I’m many other things.
I’m a Londoner at heart, a coffee lover, book fan, world admirer, adventurist, cooking enthusiast, devotee of writing and many more. And this list will continue to grow.
I also now blog.
I have wanted to write a blog for such a long time, more or less since I started my career. I’ve always had ideas of what it would look like, what I would include in it and what I would share. These ideas, however, wound up as just that – ideas. Mere figments of the imagination.
I have many reasons for wanting to start this now, but what really sparked this light was a book by an extraordinary woman named Cheryl Strayed. She wrote the most captivating book, and one of my all-time favourites, called Wild. It is, as she describes it, a “Journey From Lost to Found”. She made a courageous decision to thru-hike over 1000 miles from California to North Oregon, dropping her entire life to hike through dry deserts, snowy lands, torrential rain – you name it. For 3 months, she wrote personal journals along the way, in the hope that it would help her piece together not only her West Coast expedition, but also her wander of life, unknowing to her that it would one day become a story that would inspire many.
It gripped me. 300 pages of her own personal journey, and I could not stop myself from turning the page over.
It made me realise, all lives are unique, mysterious, wonderful and sacred. We all have a story to share, no matter how small or large we think it may be. What seemed like a personal 1100 mile journey by Cheryl, truly enchanted me, and inspired me in ways I didn’t think would.
I used to, and even somewhat still, feel unnerved by the idea of sharing who I am and what I do. Firstly, because as an athlete, there is a common, entrenched belief that our training should be kept strictly confidential. As they say, a magician never reveals his secrets!
And secondly, I thought no one would be interested in my journey. I’m just another athlete, swept away in the crazy world of track and field. But the wonderful thing about this individual sport, is that it is just that – an individual’s sport. It is filled with thousands of individual beings, all doing things in our own bizarre ways to be the best versions of ourselves.
When I was first starting out in the sport, I looked up to so many sportswomen, and would wonder – how are they doing it? How do they do this everyday? I was so intrigued, just trying to find ways to better myself, and train to the best of my ability. I was inspired by so many of them, and have learnt so much along the way, that I would love to share with as many people as I can.
And then I realised. I now have a front seat to this incredible competitive world, a unique perspective of what it takes to be the best.
And even more simply, I too am an individual and I too have a story to share.
So maybe I should just drop my fear, and share my most intimate thoughts and stories.
And so… here goes nothing!
“How wild it was, to just let it be.” – Cheryl Strayed