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Posts tagged ‘motivaiton’

I Ran Long

This past Saturday, I ran long. Not long as in 15+ miles long, but long as in my new definition of long. Saturday morning I successfully ran 8 miles, my longest run since surgery, and it sucked. But was great, all at the same time.

Due to my paranoia about running on slanted sidewalks right now, I’m keeping most of my runs indoors. For all the miles that I run, I stare at a blank wall about 4 feet in front of me. (I’m working on my mental fortitude.) Before I headed upstairs Saturday morning to stare at this blank wall, I decided to meditate. I’m horrible about meditating on my own so I prefer to listen to a guided meditation. The meditation that I chose to listen to Saturday morning was about gratitude, and I thought it would be the perfect way to start the morning. During those 15 minutes, I practiced gratitude for many people, but I also made a point to be grateful for running. Right now I have a love/hate relationship with running. I love it because I love running and have for many years. I hate it because right now it is hard! My legs ache, my hips are stiff, and I can’t run as fast as I once could. But on Saturday morning, I took time to be thankful for this sport, no matter how easy it once was or how hard it has now become. I do still love it.

Eight miles on a treadmill used to be nothing, especially at an easy pace. Now it is a mental and physical battle to watch the miles go by, while staring at a slightly too close white wall. I decided to break my run up into 2-4 mile segments. Run the first 4 miles in my new pair of Zoots (thanks to the awesome new running store, Runologie, opening up next month), and the last 4 miles in my Brooks. The first four miles went by ok but then I thought to myself, how the hell am I going to make it 4 more miles? Thankfully, I had a few ideas to help me along the way. First, cover up the numbers on the display. Nothing makes a run seem like an eternity than watching the numbers slowly tick by. Second, play bad ass music kinda loud. (Thank you Eminem and Maroon 5 for helping me along.) And third, practice gratitude. Like I mentioned, I have a love/hate relationship with running right now. But as hard as running is for me, I still love it. I took the time during those last 4 miles to just be thankful that I was able to run at all. Fast, slow, easy, hard – it doesn’t matter. I was still doing the one thing that has made me feel “me” for so long and for that, I was thankful.

As I’ve started to run more miles and longer distances these past few weeks, I’ve come to realize something. Once again in my life, I am a newbie runner. If you had asked me 8 months ago about running being easy or hard, I would have declared easy! And then tried to understand why it is some people don’t like running. For so long, I’ve taken running for granted and thought it was something that just came easily to me. I forgot what it was long to be a new runner. Now I am reminded of just how difficult it can be, and it gives me a deep understanding and respect for those just starting out on their own running journey. If I could offer one piece of advice to those just starting out, it would be perserverance. It is the one thing that is helping me through all of this.

Two Saturdays ago when I was out for my first 7 mile run, the last 3.5 miles were so hard. I wanted to stop. I wanted to walk. I wondered if I was ever going to make it back to my car. Then I started thinking about my husband, who has a mental fortitude like no one I have ever known. (For example, he ran 35 of the 200 miles in relay event a month ago, with only having a few long runs of 8 miles and a weekly mileage topping out at 12.) I remember he told me a few weeks ago Once I make my mind up to do something, I just do it. That’s what it’s going to take to get me back. A decision to just keep going, no matter how difficult, how slow, or how uncomfortable. In the end, that is what is going to make the difference for me – a new level of mental toughness and a new willingness to just keep going, no matter the obstacle.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Baby Update: I’m a little over 16 weeks and feeling good. We had a doc appointment on Tuesday and all went well. We find out if it’s a boy or girl on December 9th, but I’m not telling anyone until Christmas. Sorry Mom, Dad, and Toni. 🙂

My first 7 mile run

8 miles on the treadmill

There Are No Wrong Turns

I’m a Taurus and so is my husband. It’s the perfect zodiac sign for me and if you’re unfamiliar with the character traits of a Taurus, allow me to share the following, as it is relevant to this post:

“Taurus are not fond of change. In fact, if change is imminent, they get very nervous and worried. They do not like anything new because anything new is unknown and Taurus fears the unknown. Taurus needs order in their lives and when they do not have order, they get very anxious. Taurus will cut themselves off from the unfamiliar in order to avoid the feelings of insecurity that arise when new experiences and situations are present.”

Yep, that’s about right. Change up my routine and I might freak out.

Last week I wrote that I was a lazy ass who needed to step away from cardio and embrace a little strength training. Lucky for me, the Universe decided to see how serious I was about that statement and on Friday, my lovely friend Susan invited me to hot yoga on Saturday morning. Saturday morning!?!? That’s my long cardio day! When I got her message, my lizard brain kicked in. The part of my brain that hates change and risk. The part of my brain that, as Seth Godin puts it, is the resistance that says back off, go slow, compromise. Immediately I started rationalizing in my head how I couldn’t miss my bike ride and elliptical “run”. Saturdays are meant for long hours of sweating.

Seriously? Was I really still making excuses to do 2 hours of cardio after I JUST said I needed to do the exact opposite? Here was my opportunity and I was already trying to shut it down. Perhaps it is the Taurus in me.

Luckily, I made myself commit to Susan before I could talk myself out of it. Then I immediately signed up online and paid for the class in advance. That way there was no chance of me backing out. Saturday morning came and at 7:50 am, I was on my mat, ready to go.

Hot yoga and I go way back. There was a time when I did Bikram religiously for a year. I loved the discipline, the difficulty, and the structure of the class. When I got to class Saturday morning, I had in my mind that all would be fine. I was a former Bikram student who was pretty decent at the poses and could by all means handle the heat. Oh how life has a sense of humor sometimes. You see a lot of things have changed since then. One, I haven’t been to hot yoga in years and two, I now have hardware inside my body. In particular, a screw that I feel jabbing me in the hip joint with just about every step I take. And add to that a left leg that wobbles like jelly because the cut muscles have yet to heal completely. My visions of graceful transitions and smooth warrior poses went out the window with my first attempt at chaturanga, downward dog, hop forward, forward bend. I am not the yoga student I once was and it was a hard reality check 10 minutes into class.

There came a point in class, perhaps while I was shaking uncontrollably in warrior 3, when it occurred to me that I should stop fighting myself. I should stop comparing my poses to the girl in front of me and I should stop being upset with myself that I didn’t have the flexibility or range of motion that I once did. I felt like I was trying to be someone I wasn’t and it was exhausting. I was fighting my current place in this world, the current condition of my body, and there was really no point to it. Why was I spending so much mental energy thinking about how I used to be so much better? That serves no purpose.

Then at the very end of class, the instructor read the following passage:

“There are no wrong turns, only paths we didn’t know we were meant to walk. In the end, to be a success you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to remain perfectly capable of improving. Keep letting your mistakes strengthen you. Life is a series of little journeys. Allow each step to be a teachable moment. And don’t confuse your path with your destination. Just because it’s stormy sometimes doesn’t mean you aren’t headed for sunshine.”

There is a part of me that is still fighting my hip and my body. Every time I take a step, I feel the constant reminder of my 2014 Boston  Marathon experience. And ever since I started running again, just about every day has been an emotional roller coaster. But I’m glad I switched up my routine Saturday morning. I’m glad I went to that yoga class and realized how much I was fighting myself and my body. But above all, I’m thankful for those words shared by the instructor at the end of class. They were the perfect words at the perfect moment. This is my path right now but I know my destination is sunshine.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

PS: I ran my second full mile on Sunday. It was slightly less painful and 10 seconds faster.


This morning I ran the Raleigh’s Finest 5K for the second year in a row. Last year my finishing time was 20:41 and I came in 5th female overall. This year, I had big hopes. I set several goals for myself. The I’m certain I can do this goal of running under 20 minutes, the this would be awesome goal of running under 19:45, and the OMG, I am super fast goal of running 19:20 or faster. And based on the finishing times from last year, I also set the goal of finishing in the top 3 overall for females.

As with any race, I spent the days before mentally preparing and of course, drinking my beet juice. It honestly doesn’t matter if the race is a 5K or a marathon, I take them equally as serious. Last night I watched my motivational playlist on YouTube and focused on a few of my favorite inspirational quotes…

Wins and losses come a dime a dozen. But effort? Nobody can judge effort. Because effort is between you and you. ~Ray Lewis

In any fight, it’s the guy who’s willing to die, who’s going to win that inch. ~Al Pacino, Any Given Sunday

When I got to the race, I met up with some of my friends and was getting pretty excited. The turnout seemed less than last year so that was a plus. And it was cloudy instead of the hot, 85 degrees it was last June. Although the 100% humidity wasn’t too uplifting. While I’m standing there talking to a friend right before my warmup mile, I see the girl who won last year. Ok no biggie. A race is a race and anything can happen. Plus, I had been drinking all that beet juice so that had to help, right? Then after my warmup and strides, I see one of the fastest local marathoners by the start line. I think she runs around a 2:45 for the full. She’s fast. Ok, now I’m starting to get a little nervous and see my top 3 goal slowly start to slip away. Then as I was in line to use the bathroom, I saw another one of the super fast local runners. Alright, that’s it. I’ll save top 3 for another day.

At the start line, I made sure to be in the front. I told myself not to look at my watch for the first mile and to run my race. To my surprise, when the race started, I was running in 3rd, not that far behind super fast local #1 and #2. That lasted all of  1/2 a mile. First I got passed by the girl who won last year and then another girl who I didn’t know. Then another girl ran up beside me but her was breathing really heavy so I didn’t think she would keep up. Maybe I should have given her the beet juice tip. 😉

The race was painful, as are most 5Ks in my opinion. I much prefer the pain of a marathon over a 3.1 mile race. There was a lot of self-talk going on inside my head and I tried to take it one mile at a time. Going up a hill, I asked myself, what’s the worst that could happen if your legs keep burning like this? Since I didn’t think I would die, I tried my best to just embrace it. I don’t know what my mile splits were because the autolap was turned off on my Garmin. However, I do know I did the first mile in 6:10. During the second mile, I managed to pass two guys along the way but was outsprinted by a man about .2 miles from the finish line. My finishing time: 19:41, a 6:21 pace and a PR by 1 minute.


For the second year in a row, I finished 5th female overall but it was one of those races where I was very happy with how I ran. Many times after a race, I’m not too excited about my time because I think I should have done something differently. But this time, I am happy. Last year I remember thinking  it would be a dream to run under 20 minutes one day. Today, I did it. And today, when I saw my top 3 goal slip away, I was totally okay with it. I was okay with it because I knew I was going to run my fastest 5K, I knew I was going to run under 20 minutes, and I knew I was going to achieve at least one of my goals. That made for a great Saturday morning.

If anything, today’s race has motivated me to try harder. Yes, I do work hard at my running, but I know I could do more. From cutting back on the chocolate and wine to adding more strength training and core work. It’s going to take a little more effort on my part if I want that top 3 finish. And on a side note, the first female almost caught up with the first male. She was fast!

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


PS- I’ve been away from blogging for the past week because we were in San Francisco. Talk about some hill running! I plan to pick it back up next week.

Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation

I’ve always been one to talk about motivation. I love motivational videos, quotes, pictures, or anything else that’ll get me out the door a little faster. It keeps me on task and it keeps my goals in sight. However, yesterday I started thinking about intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation…

Intrinsic motivation can be defined as a psychological feature that arouses an organism to act towards a desired goal and elicits, controls, and sustains certain goal directed behaviors. It can be considered a driving force; a psychological drive that compels or reinforces an action toward a desired goal. (SourceOn the other hand, extrinsic motivation can be defined as motivation that comes from outside an individual. The motivating factors are external, or outside, rewards such as money or grades. These rewards provide satisfaction and pleasure that the task itself may not provide. (Source)

When I think about my running, I think for so long I have been extrinsically motivated. I wanted to run faster than this person, beat this time, or place in this group. Competition is great, don’t get be wrong. However, I’m starting to feel a shift in where I’m drawing my motivation from.

Before I started running, I never knew I would be a good runner. I just wanted to do my best. But somewhere between then and now, I think I got lazy.  Or at least I quit being smart about trying to find my best. I’m over being extrinsically motivated by certain factors – times, races, people, etc. Yes, I’ll still have my goals but at the end of my running days, I want to know I did all I could to be the best runner I could. That is my driving force.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Running Update: Starting to get my groove back. A nice run today (stats here) minus the worms hanging from the trees that attacked me. 

My First Race as a Spectator

As cliché as it sounds, I honestly believe everything happens for a reason. Although it isn’t always easy to see or understand, there is a reason for our ups and downs. A little over one year ago, I ran my last 20 miler before Boston and had big hopes for my upcoming marathon. There was no way to know it then, but I’ve since had my first DNF, my best marathon, a half marathon PR that resulted in pretty bad injury, and my first experience as a race spectator.

Sunday morning was suppose to be the marathon where I proved to myself who I am as a runner. Obviously that didn’t happen, but I had the opportunity to be a part of everyone else’s excitement. It was a bittersweet moment that I believe was meant for me to experience. I learned a lot of things sitting along the sidelines and I found a new appreciation for what exactly a race represents.

As Mario and the many other runners headed off for their race, I decided to walk around and observe all of the other things going on. After seeing the beer garden being set up, one really big truck being unloaded with water, a band setting up their equipment, and cutest toddler ever walking around with her mom, I decided to sit and meditate.  It was a beautiful morning and I needed to find it within myself to be happy with where I was – a spectator cheering on my husband, my friends, and a lot of strangers.

Having my quiet time

Having my quiet time

After my much needed quiet time, I headed back to the finish line to watch the runners as they started to cross the finish line. I wanted to be right there from the time the first runner crossed the finish line to the time all of our friends crossed the finish line. I’m not exactly sure why, but it was actually an emotional experience for me. Words can’t even express how excited I was when that first runner crossed the finish line in 1:08:49. Can you imagine all of the hard work, miles, obstacles, workouts, ice baths, and foam rolling that man did? And then to win a race? What an amazing feeling!

Check out the winner!

Then as more and more runners crossed the finish line, I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster with every single person, mainly because I could relate to what they were going through. Some people puked, one guy fell to the ground, and one lady, who looked like she may have been 60 years old, crossed the finish line in less than 1:30:00 and looked like she had hardly broken a sweat. Some were first time racers and others were achieving new goals.

Runners congratulating one another

Runners congratulating one another

But perhaps the thing that stood out to me the most was the fact that the race director was there congratulating every single runner as he or she crossed the finish line. And in addition, all of the other runners were congratulating each other. It didn’t matter the time on the clock and it didn’t matter who beat who. What mattered was that everyone had shared an experience, whether good or bad, and they had all survived.

Tobacco Road Half Marathon

Tobacco Road Half Marathon

This, I know, was something I was meant to witness.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Recovery Update: I am feeling so much stronger than I have in the past few weeks. The yoga, strength training, and interval workouts are amazing and are helping me to keep my sanity. My hip is in less pain than it was yesterday and I know tomorrow will be even better.

And for your amusement, here is a pic of us riding home in a car seat. It was too much effort to take them out. Thanks Jessica and Charlie for the lift!!

Riding with Bill in the car seats

Riding with Bill in the car seats


This afternoon I was driving home from the gym and I had this overwhelming feeling of thankfulness. In my mind, I have had more running struggles than I feel like one person should. However, I am thankful for every single one of them…

Today I received my confirmation email for the Chicago Marathon. I have no idea why, but I randomly entered the lottery last week. Either I saw it on someone’s Twitter feed, Facebook or somewhere else. I’m not sure but I’m certainly glad I signed up. October 13th will be my next marathon.

I am thankful for my struggles because I feel like I am finally going to have my race. I am thankful for my struggles because they have taught me more than anyone else’s words could have ever shown me. I am thankful for the feeling of sadness when I couldn’t run because it makes the moments when I am running, incredibly more rewarding. The ups and the downs are what it means to truly be living life. If everything seemed mediocre all the time, that would be beyond boring. As Mario’s dad used to tell him… life is like the sine wave. It goes up and it goes down. I’m headed up.

I know that my constant failures will eventually get me to my success, and I wholeheartedly believe that my best race is yet to come. I have seven months from tomorrow until race day. I will make this happen.

This Michael Jordan Nike commercial is my motto:

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Recovery Update: I’m still not running but I’m dedicating a lot more time to strengthening my hip flexors and leg muscles. Today I did the hip flexor exercises I wrote about yesterday. The difference I could tell in my left side was amazing! Normally, I feel like I never engage my left side. Now I feel like I can’t stop engaging it. I’m dedicating the next three months to strength training and massive aerobic base building.

And can I just share a few of my favorite Ray Lewis quotes that I’ve been using for motivation lately:

I ain’t found no man that’ll out work me. You might out run me on the 40 but you ain’t gonna out work me for 60 minutes. 

It ain’t because I got something special. The only thing I got special is I made up my mind to be special. 


You can hear more here.