Monday, May 3, 2010

MBE: Motivation

Monday Brain Exchange (MBE) is sponsored by Jill, who blogs at  Finishing Is Winning. This week's topic is Motivation.

Question: What/Who motivates you? What do you tell yourself when you are struggling? How do you keep going when it is too cold, too windy, too hot, too humid, too early, too late, etc…?

This is a very timely question because I almost didn’t get out of bed for this morning's run. I was achy and tired, but I had a feeling it wasn't a cry for help from my body but a case of laziness. I knew I would regret it if I didn't run (because I would either have to skip it or run in 90º temps after work), so I dragged myself out of bed, got out there in the 75º temps with 90% and humidity, and pushed myself to ran 3 miles -- even though I had convinced myself that I could quit after 2.5 miles.

I've blogged about some of this before in Why I Didn't Stop, but that was more about how I build my exercise habit.  This post is more about what keeps me going from day to day.

The main thing that keeps me motivated is having a training schedule with a target race that I can't fake my way through. Right now I am just maintaining my base, but I know that come June I'll begin marathon training. Since my target race is at the end of November, I have to be able to run 12 miles pretty soon after the start of the season, so I can't slack off too much during the "off season."

The other thing that keeps me going is motivating others. Several people I know, and others I do not, have begun running or made a change to a healthier lifestyle because what I've been able to accomplish has inspired them. I know I have people out there rooting for me, and I do not want to let them down or stop inspiring others to be the best version of themselves they can be. It truly brings me joy to help develop a new runner, if they end up being faster than me LOL I am seriously considering becoming a certified running coach or personal training so I can keep paying it forward. For sure I will be a Galloway pace leader next year.

When it is too cold, too windy, too hot, too humid, too early, too late, etc ... I just remind myself of how awesome it feels to cross that finish line. If I don't do the work now, it will hurt much more then if I finish at all. And failure is just not an option for me! Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of mornings when I wake up and I skip a workout, but those have become rare and are usually due to much needed rest. I wrote all about that on a recent post, Needed Rest Day or Lazyness?, so I won't repeat myself here.

While writing this post, I found a Memo from My Future Self that I forgot that I wrote back in October 2008, before I even completed my first half marathon, as a way to motivate myself to keep up with my running. Even then I knew I would someday complete a marathon, and reading it again today I was amazed at how accurate it was. In hopes that it will motivate others to keep going or write their own, I'm reposting it below:
Dear Kitzzy,
This is Kitzzy from the not-so-distant future--I can't tell you the exact date because then I may alter the space-time continuum, and no one wants that :) Of course, just writing this later may cause that, but that is a risk I am willing to take to share this amazing moment with you.
Today, I ran my first marathon!
It was amazing, and it was awful, but then it was really amazing. Of course, I could not have done it without all the hard work you are doing right now. I know it sometimes feels like you can't do this anymore or you think to yourself that you must be crazy for thinking you can ever run a marathon (and you are), but I just wanted to tell you to keep at it because all this hard work you are doing now is totally worth it and will really pay off soon. I won't lie to you, it was not easy. It was grueling, yes, but I just knew I had to keep going because I didn't want to let you down.
I remember when you started this journey to a better you with just 10 minutes of cardio kickboxing 3 times a week in February 2008 weighing over 150 lbs. You quickly graduated to 30 minutes and before long it was the end of March and you were walking that 2 mile race--with some tiny jogging thrown in--that ignited something in you to want to become a runner. You always said "I'm not a runner" or "I can't run." Boy were you wrong ;) You know how you felt when you crossed the finish line at that 2 mile race? That is nothing compared to what you will feel when you cross the finish line at your first marathon. I don't want to say too much and spoil it, but you will love it.
So whenever you feel discouraged and like you are making a big mistake, read this letter and know you CAN and WILL do this! Anything is possible given enough determination, and you have that in spades! I am so proud of your efforts so far and look forward to you reaching the next milestones in your journey.

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