“The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.”
This week is exciting for me because Saturday is the last race in the YES Endurance Series and also my first 10 mile race. I am bubbling with anticipation for a few reasons. 1) If I finish I will earn my very first shiny medal. Not just my first running medal, but my first real athletic medal– a VERY big deal for someone naturally unathletic and pathologically clumsy. As a woman, I am naturally drawn to shiny things, so the promise of some serious bling at the end of the race (pictured above) would be enough to motivate me through 10 miles of tough terrain. 2) I love running on the trails and have not logged much running time this week; so, I am really itching to get out there and go for a run on a completely unfamiliar path. In fact, when I am out running these races, there is honestly nothing I’d rather be doing than taking in the scenery and the amazing energy of the people and course around me. 3) I love being around all the other running fanatics, who run purely for the joy of it. The people who organize this series do a great job at making the event social and fun. It’s like there’s a whole intimate running community associated with the series, and the people who come are from all over the spectrum of training, from super competitive to everyday mom’s and novices trying to get back in shape. Plus, there’s a ton of first timers for each distance (like me in this case!).
Having progressively longer races booked has really helped me stay on track with my training, and I has allowed me to successfully and steadily increase my mileage for several months now. When I find myself slipping, I add a tougher challenge. For example, while I was training for the Diva Half Marathon and recently reached the distance necessary several months ahead of time, I added the goal of the Hartford Marathon (only two weeks after) to keep myself on track. I also have set a goal to do a Super Spartan as part of the Spartan Chicked movement, in addition to the NorCal Tough Mudder.
Another factor that helps me stay motivated is running for charity. I currently am collecting bottles and cans as a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project in conjunction with the Tough Mudder, and also plan on using my future half and full marathon races to raise money for CT-ALIVE (the CT Alliance for Families of Violence and Their Families). This way I not only benefit myself, but also others who truly deserve it as well.
Other tricks that keep me inspired to run 1) Reading other running blogs or Facebook pages (I am hoping soon to add a page of links to my favorites and would love to hear some of yours) 2) Reading inspirational books like “The Perfect Mile” or “Born to Run” 3) Watching a movie about runners such as “Without Limits or Spirit of the Marathon” 4) Buying myself some cool new running gear (especially goofy shirts!) because then I will obviously want to use it. 5) Inviting a friend to go with me. It’s amazing how much longer you’ll run if you’re enjoying good company!
At the core, I would say my true motivation to run comes solely in the ability to do it. The same way a golfer plays round after round to enjoy the sweet victory of a hole in one, I train and run day in and out for the fleeting moments when it feels completely effortless- when my body is in perfect rhythm with the trail and it feels like running is exactly what I was made for. To me, it’s an absolute expression of freedom and the closest I will ever get to flying. Every mile I run is one the doctors insisted I shouldn’t be able to. It brings me a tremendous amount of pleasure and gratitude to be able to run farther than I ever had without pain or limitation other than my own will and determination.