We Ran and Motivation

We ran today for 5 miles and let me tell you, I just love to run. The injury felt better. I would say that it was “there” but it wasn’t all I thought about and I was able to actually forget about it for most of the run. We hit the strength training and core work for 40 minutes after the run.

This is a before shot. Todd is ready to hit the road. He’s got his favorite team on his mind (haha, get it, Steelers on his hat) and his reflective gear for safety.

Todd pre run Jan 16

This is an after shot. It was a shorts day for both of us (though this is after I shed the jacket, hat, and gloves—it wasn’t THAT warm) and I decided to sport an old Kettle Moraine 100 miler shirt for extra inspiration.

Em Kettle Shirt Jan 16

Which leads me into the topic of the day: motivation. Todd and I received a question from a fan (we like to think of our new internet friends as fans, so just go with it) about what keeps us motivated to keep going during our long, long, long races and training. Well, often it is lots of things and it actually differs between what motivates us to train and what gets us through the race.

I will start by saying that it is beyond a blessing straight from our Father upstairs that we can run together.

em & todd at finish nashville ultra

I say that we fell in love over miles and miles of running together, but that is a story for another day (if a fan inquires about it in the comments, then I will be compelled to post about it soon—hint, hint!). It certainly helps to have someone else climbing out of bed with you when the alarm goes off at a time with a 4 as the first digit. There are many days that I would likely hit snooze if Todd was not right there with me. We also have areas in our house that we like to keep our inspiration so that we always have visible signs of what we are shooting for when we are heading out the door, or trying to motivate ourselves to head out the door.

During races, we have a different source of inspiration. As I would tell almost any runner out there who aspires to be an ultra runner: the sport almost inevitably brings a DNF (did not finish) at some point if you continue racing long enough. Barring any extreme injuries, weather, etc., we feel that our chances of at least finishing any marathon distance or below races are close to 100%. BUT, when you get to distances of >100 miles, it really is impossible to predict the number of things that can go wrong. That said, one of our biggest sources of inspiration now is having experienced the feeling of DNF’ing. We have DNF’d for true medical reasons before (I had early stage hypothermia), but we have also had a DNF where we just truly overshot our summer goals and were trying to do too many races on too little rest. Knowing we quit over something that we should have better planned for going in (i.e. by not signing up for the race in the first place) made us feel pretty down. So avoiding an unnecessary DNF is one reason we are able to stay motivated through most races. Second, we really, really love the sport and what it yields for our relationship. Toughing it out with each other to the very end truly is soul changing. We experience SO MANY ups and downs during these races, but helping each other to overcome and then cross that finish line hand-in-hand is one of our true joys in life. It never fails that we step over that finish line and just feel more admiration and love for each other than we could have imagined.

So, that is OUR motivation story. Not to say that we never feel unmotivated. Sometimes I just want to lay around and do nothing and eat all day, which is OKAY every now and then, too. BUT, keeping the ultimate goal in mind, keeping visible reminders of what we have accomplished, and knowing that our running truly does strengthen our marriage—these are the things that keep us getting out the door for our runs.

 Tell us what motivates you!

Is your motivation different based on the day? Event?

Do you have any visible reminders around that help you to keep going when times are tough or you have the blahs?



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