At the beginning of every semester the same conversation inevitably occurs between me and my students which always leads to me explaining that I run before school each morning and them asking me why I would do so at such an early time. Usually I just smile and say it’s because I’m a runner and that is what I do, but lately I’ve been starting to think a little deeper about the issue. I realized that although I love to run I have a lot of other motivating factors getting me out the door each morning besides my simple love of the sport and copious amounts of RunGum.
First and foremost is my wonderful husband whose dedication in good and bad weather, injury, illness, hangovers (sorry babe but it’s true), early mornings and late nights never wavers. Robert inspires me each and every day as he ticks off miles toward his goals, becomes an ambassador for yet another company, and discovers more ridiculous races to conquer. I am so blessed to have him around to not only be the one to find me awesome new products, races, and training plans, but to also provide me with the motivation to climb the next hill, jump over another log, and push through another few miles. Not only do I have an amazing husband, but I have a training partner who pushes me to achieve my goals.
Another huge motivator as of late has been some friends who have gotten into the sport. As if that wasn’t reason enough when they ask us our opinions on how to train, what types of race nutrition to consume, what clothing we recommend, and sneaker brands we prefer I am even more inspired. I have discovered that our friends and family have started looking to us to advise them in these areas and they have inspired me to continue to work hard as they become a part of the running world. I specifically want to give shout outs to Mary Maroney for running the Chicago marathon last fall and T.J. Davidson for becoming an awesome runner more dedicated than I ever was when I first started. These people motivate me to stick to my own goals and to keep working hard because I have been blessed to be able to inspire and aid people who are so important to my life in order to achieve their own goals in the sport in which I am so passionate about. I do not want to let them down which helps me stay focused and get out the door when I’m too tired, the conditions are not ideal, or I cannot go run on the trail that I really want to because it will not fit into my schedule that day. Having my good friends start to run has definitely got me more motivated as of late.
Following up on that last motivating factor I love being able to take care of people and being part of the running community allows me to do so. Whether it is crewing for Robert during a race, checking on the person behind me during a race because I heard them hit a root, being a sweat pink ambassador and working to inspire other women on a daily basis, or aspiring to be able to pace the amazing and talented bad ass Andy Foss-Grant as he tackles the Leadville 100 miler this August I love how running allows us to take care of each other. So on days when it’s raining or I literally want to chuck my phone against the wall to make the alarm shut off I think about all the people I have who inspire me everyday to get out and reach my goals and I find what I need to keep going.
This leads me to my final idea and the real motivating factor behind this post. I recently was deciding whether or not to join the Oiselle running team. My reasoning behind wanting to join was based on the fact that I have always been an athlete on a team sport and have had a large group of teammates who have kept me accountable and inspired no matter what was going on in my life or how I was performing. I wanted that again and Oiselle seems to provide that in a more structured way than Sweat Pink does. I also always tend to get a wee bit jealous of my talented husband and all the ambassador teams he is a part of because he is so dedicated and successful at what he does. However joining Oiselle does cost $100 and I was just going back and forth on the decision for about a week. When the team registration opened up this week I finally realized that although I am sure it would have been a great opportunity and the community the team provides would have only benefitted me, I did not really need to pay the $100 to be on the team. I realized I already have a team. We may not all have matching singlets and we may not have or own tents at aid stations, but we do have each other. I realized that my team is what I NEED as a runner. You’re all a part of my team too. Part of what keeps me going is knowing I have you to cheer me on and hold me accountable.
So find YOUR inspiration. Figure out what motivates you to achieve your goals and be a better person. Maybe for you it is becoming part of an official team like Oiselle or Marathon Maniacs. Maybe it’s your friends you follow on Strava or Garnmin Connect. Maybe like me it’s a variety of factors centered around people who are important to you, friends and family who “like” every one of my running posts to show their support, who check on your race schedule to keep you motivated like Andy does every few months, or who work out your busted up muscles like my wonderful brother-in-law who always manages to fix me when I forget to stretch for a few months. Whatever it is hold onto it. Focus on it. Make it a part of your daily life and let it help you to achieve your goals and realize your aspirations. Just remember to thank the people who are a part of your success once you start achieving it. Share your victories with others, you never know who you might be able to inspire with your own triumphs over struggles.