Monday, November 21, 2011

Why Do We Do It? It's a Struggle Sometimes. But Always Worth It.

Running truly does translate to life.  It makes me strong in everything.  

This morning was one of those mornings that I woke up and just questioned everything. Why I'm training, what I'm doing with my career, and the differences (or not) that I'm making in the world.  As I pulled myself out of bed to run before my kids woke up, I was not feeling any desire or motivation to do it.  It was a battle.  So much of me wanted to just fall back asleep for another hour.  With one eye open, I growled at my husband, "Why am I doing this?  What's the point anyway?  I mean, it isn't like I'm an Olympic athlete or anything so why am I taking this so seriously?"  I know the answers to these questions but it sure was hard to see them clearly as I pulled on my workout pants and tied my shoes.

My husband said something to the tune of :  "You're training because you want to push yourself and see what you can do with this one life.  You're a runner and you want to challenge yourself.  When you do this with running, it translates to other areas of your life and you're stronger in everything."   This really resonated with me.  I didn't instantly jump up and get all perky or anything.  I was still grumbling and feeling like a limp piece of lettuce but it did make me feel better and it got me out the door.  Once I was out there running, my body started to wake up a bit and I was able to use my five mile run to focus on my life, what I wanted to make of the day, and where I'm at with my goals. It didn't take long for me to remember why I'm doing this but it sure was a struggle to get up and at it this morning.

We all have our reasons for why we do it.  Why we push ourselves.  Why we train.  Some of us do it to challenge ourselves and see what we are capable of.  Some do it to escape.  Maybe we do it to lose weight and be healthy.  Others are doing it to qualify for something.  And there are those that start training for a cause that is dear to their heart and then they end up realizing how amazing it feels to be taking control of their fitness and health.

Whatever our reasons for training, there will always be those times when we just don't want to do it.  We'll have those days where we battle with ourselves just to put on our running shoes and get out the door.  I think this is true with any big goal we are working towards. If it wasn't somewhat of a challenge then it probably wouldn't be a goal, right?  But when we push ourselves and stick to our goals even when they are hard, IT. FEELS. SO GOOD.

Today I'm THANKFUL For:

  • Getting out of the door this morning for my 5 mile morning run.  2 of them were at 7:30 pace with the last quarter mile at 6:31 pace. Just getting my legs used to moving faster.
  • Afternoon 6 mile run. 4 of them @ 7:30 with .5 of that @ 6:59 and an 8:00 mile to end.  Felt strong.  Ready for some more structured workouts.  
  • 20 week marathon plan starts on Saturday.  Yes, decided to do the 20 wk plan.  
  • Thanksgiving is this week.  My favorite holiday.  I love that grandparents, cousins and so many more family members pile into our small home to eat, give thanks, play games and just BE together.   
  • Being a mother!  I am absolutely certain that I am doing exactly what I am meant to be doing.  Although there are times that I miss teaching and going to graduate school, I know that I will have this again someday if I want. My doctorate can wait. Right now it feels good to be right where I am.  
  • Movie night with my husband tonight as soon as the kids go to sleep. He has been working so hard the past few days so it will be nice to just be together without other things to do.  
  • Friendships
  • Good food.  
  • Feeling motivated and excited to train for Boston.

Choose one.  Or all.  I love to hear from you.  
1.  What do you tell yourself when you are struggling to stay motivated?
2.  Why do you train/run?  
3.  Please share one of your big goals that you are working on.  Running or other.  I would love to hear.  
4.  What are some things you are thankful for today?  



  1. Gotta tell you that is soo me! I take myself too seriously and I've been told I even set my bar too high which leads me to be disappointed when I don't reach my goal. I don't know if that's good or bad. On one had it keeps me motivated but on the other hand I'm never satisfied with what I've accomplished..

  2. Nora, this is a good do this to be the BEST YOU! Always nice to meet our goals so I try not to set my bar too high but good for you for pushing yourself. You just want a lot out of life.

  3. Uugh, been there. Felt that. What gets me out the door when I'm in a funk like that is a little time of quite maybe spent thinking about my goals or looking over past running medals for the reminder that I don't have to run, I chose to run. And if I'm going to do, I'm all in, smiles and all. But life has ups and downs and sometimes that isn't enough to fuel the fire, these days I find it really tricky to continue to keep my head up to keep trying. But then eventually I remember life is short and I don't want to be 90 years old wasting my last precious moments of life thinking about all the chances I didn't take.

  4. First off - you are lucky to have a husband that encourages you like that! It's not that my husband doesn't encourage me...but he doesn't do it sincerely. Running means nothing to him. are lucky!

    A big goal I have right now is to become a certified personal trainer. Been working on it on & off for a few years, just need to buckle down & study harder.

  5. your husband said it so well. It's true. And I believe that fitness/running translates to all aspects of our are definitely right! We push ourselves and create goals to meet and exceed, plus we are setting examples for our children that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE :)

  6. I really struggle with getting out of bed early too. I'm way slower than you, but want to improve. Recently told my wife I want to become a faster runner and that means I need to run more which means doing more runs early in the morning (which I hate). She asked why? The why is hard to explain, but I get it.

  7. Beautiful post! My biggest goal right now is to train smart and run Disney Half in January. I am struggling with my injury still and taking it slow. Its getting scary as the miles start getting higher but I am confident I will beat it and get to run it! That is the beginning of a lot of changes for me that will all help me in the long run!

  8. Thank you for this post! I've been struggling with my runs for a few weeks now and I have been asking myself why the heck am I doing this to myself?! I do it because I am healthy enough to do it. God gave me a body and I should use it in the ways it is supposed to be used. To run, to swim, to bike, to jump, to attempt handstands, etc. Thanks again. :)

  9. I run for me. To have something that is JUST for me. Even though I am not great at it, I treat running like a job. I know it sounds crazy...but because of that motivation is easier for me.

    A goal. I have a big one. I want to run the big one before I am 45.

    My dream is Big Sur 2013

    I am thankful today and every day for my kids and for their health.

  10. Ok, I LOVE love love that quote you posted. So perfect.

    I run because it is part of who I am. It makes me stronger physically and emotionally. It is something I was born to do. I train because I want to run the best that I can and see how much I can accomplish (and because seriously... racing is fun) ;)

    I am thankful for much, but tonight I am thankful for all of the people who inspire me to be better in all aspects of my life.

  11. Sometimes I find it hard to still feel the love when my body keeps on stopping me from doing what I want it to do. I get frustrated and annoyed. But in the end the most important thing is not that I can run fast. It's that I can run and enjoy my runs. My goals are simple at the moment - get stronger and enjoy whatever running I can do.

  12. Oh I definitely have some of those days. My motivation is thinking about where my body was pre-running days and I don't want to go back. Ever. That's all I need for motivation there.

    PS I am jealous of your speediness!

  13. I run/train because I really do enjoy it. I would definitely call it my hobby and my stress reliever and the thing that re-energizes. I also realized I do it for a sense of accomplishment. When you are a goal oriented person and you suddenly find yourself choosing a path with no real concrete goals, you start looking for things where you can measure success. I love being a stay at home mom but some days I feel like I didn't accomplish anything. Running or riding or swimming actually measures an accomplishment and I think that has made it extra appealing to me right now. Does that even make sense? It is really early and I think I am rambling!!

  14. First of all, IT DOES FEEL SO GOOD!! And that running accomplishment feeling just can't be bottled. Was just having a conversation after a morning run yesterday... While I started running for weight loss, sanity, etc, I now run because I truly just love it. I love how it makes me feel.
    My big goal right now is to lose weight so that I train more easily to hit my sub-2 Half goal come February. I don't know why I'm so obsessed with it, but I am. Keep me going I guess...
    PS - My husband would have rolled over and said, "I have no idea..." lol

  15. I choose #3: I am currently training for my first 50k and 2nd full at the same time. They are fairly close together on the time line.

    This was the easiest question to answer.

  16. Amanda, I am struggling just to not fall asleep when I get home from work! I haven't done much since coming back from Savannah--too many things have gotten in the way. I just found out that my Y is open for a few hours on Turkey Day, so I have set a goal to get to the gym on Thursday. I think if I can do that, I will feel better mentally and physically and then try and start fresh again to keep working out each week and keep running!

  17. This is a wonderful post. I think it is really neat that your husband is supportive of you:) I run because it has changed my life for the better and I never want to go back to the old lifestyle I once lived. Running gives me the constant confidence boost that I lack without it.

  18. Your hubby knows you so well! Great post.

    I'm currently working on getting my nutrition act together again!! For some reason I am struggling to clean up my diet... I've been on again/off again since my last marathon and I am feeling it. I know how good I feel when I eat properly, so I am I so tempted by the crap lately?

  19. I've probably said it before but reading your blog makes me miss running somethin' fierce! I can't wait to get back out there.

    My biggest goal is to make it thru the next 16 weeks of pregnancy healthy and strong! So far, so good. But 16 weeks seems like an eternity at this point. I'm ready to meet this little girl!

  20. Well, I'm glad you came to that conclusion that you should start your plan on Saturday after all my valuable insight there-ha ha!!! Nice job on your runs:)

    I totally understand the morning thoughts...Sure do love the thoughts that enter at 8:00 a.m. when I'm done though!

    Hope you have a great Thanksgiving with your family! So much to be thankful for here!!

  21. I am glad that I am not the only one who wakes up with those feelings. I ask myself all the time "why am I doing this???" Some days I would rather just stay in bed too, but I know if I do get up and go for a run I will feel better and I will get my day off to a better start. I love your husband's perspective, what a great guy!

    I train mostly for me to see how far I can push myself. I am my own biggest competition and I always like to run my routes a little faster each time I go out. If I am having one of those rough days when I am training for a race I just tell myself that in the end it will all be worth it. For you it will be crossing the finish line in Boston. :-)

  22. Great Post!! I get out of bed on days like today to run in the pouring rain and hard wind b/c I CAN! and why shouldnt' I? God created ALL the elements and it is a gift to experience them. we are so blessed to run ...EVEN when its hard!! Love you girl. I know you will continue to get out of bed on hard days bc you are such a strong determined woman! xx

  23. ummmm seriously. your husband's words were TOO perfect. i am a strong believer in the idea that my lessons learned through running not only make me a stronger runner but a stronger person in other areas. i try to remember that when I get frustrated or unmotivated! amazing post!

  24. I'm finding that for myself, the key to finding motivation to get out there is the mantra "Don't think...just do". I can honestly think myself out of doing just about anything.

    I'm currently training to complete my first marathon (scheduled at the end of February). I had built up to a 23 mile long run (with some walking starting at mile 18) about 20 years ago, but was hit by a car while training and that ended running for a LONG while. I'm back now to complete that long ago goal.

    I'm thankful that I'm saved, happily married, a father, employed, and reasonably healthy (if you don't count my left hip acting up on me).

    4. What are some things you are thankful for today?

  25. wonderful post and I absolutely love what your husband said because it is so true. Running is so much more than running for so many of us. It makes me a better Manager, a better sister and daughter and a better friend. I truly feel like it was the puzzle peice missing in my life and I feel so much more balanced when I run. One of my goals right now is to finish up my bachelors degree. I am so close and it is hard to stay motivated but I know that I can do it.

  26. Running has made me a better person. So many times I've been out in the dark somewhere at 4:30am thinking, "I've gotta be the only idiot in this whole city doing this right now!" But the second I'm done, I'm so glad I went out and a little while later, I'm ready to do it all again tomorrow.

  27. Could I get your hubby to make a video and email me? I could play it and he could be my Alberto. :) Seriously, he had just the right answer there.

    I have been going through a lot of days recently where I ask myself, "Why do I do this?" "Why is it so important to me?", and "WHY do I need to compete? Isn't running just enough by itself?" ...

    In the morning I am usually on autopilot, but some days I just want to sleep in... and sometimes I do. Then I get to run in the evenings. It's the hardest thing to get out the door at night! (Wish you lived closer!!) But once I do, I am SO glad I did. Training is where i process things- and it's is like an art I can sink myself into.

    I am glad you are doing 20 weeks? Which plan is the 20 week plan? lol??

    Love you bunches and so sorry I disappeared for awhile.

  28. One of my goals that I'm working on right now is simplifying my life and being present with my children, while nurturing my creative career. I'm revamping my website, working on a new on-line community and working on another e-course. I do this work because I love it and it just feels good to be connected to the world in this way. Thanks for sharing your authentic self with us.

  29. This post hit my radar on just the right day. Thank you so much!

  30. 20 week plan, hurray!
    Honestly, I think the guilt of not having done the run is what gets me out the door. I rarely dilly dally the run bc I just know it will happen. I know that whether or not I feel like it, I will just go do it, so why think and not do? Still, I don't wake up super early in the winter to run, and I don't run in the late evenings, so I am lucky to be able to run when I am wide awake, LOL.

  31. Why do I run? It started out as a way to condition for another sport, then it became a way to control my weight, coupled with disordered eating. Then, miraculously, it became a way to focus and improve myself; a way to fell in control when other parts of my life felt out-of-control; a way to love myself and support myself.
    My special running goal right now is running as far into this pregnancy as possible. I made it to 30 weeks last time, and I'd love to go beyond that (as long as it's still safe and still feels good). Beyond that, I already have a 2013 marathon and a plan to go with it.
    Thank you so much for this post. It made me think and reflect, something that I fail to do enough of on a regular basis.

  32. Amanda, I was so in a same moment yesterday morning when I had to get up for my lesson with The Coach ... You seem to be reading my thoughts, or simply you are able to find the perfect words for what every runner goes through time to time :)

    1. Struggles with motivation - I think about how much effort and energy I have already invested in my training ...

    2. I train because it makes me a better person and because it makes me want become a better person - love the Born to Run book for thoughts on this.

    3. Biggest goal now - shed off as many minutes as I can, hopefully BQ in May or latest in the autumn and do Boston in 2013. Long term goal - try to become as good as I can get at marathon running :)

    4. I am thankful for every single run and every single day!

  33. Today I am so thankful for the health of my family. I found out that a friend of a friend has a toddler just diagnosed with leukemia, and it makes me sick. I can't imagine.

  34. I love that picture you have at the top of the post. It totally speaks to me. I love hearing you happy and focused even when you don't want to drag yourself out of bed, and I ask myself the same questions. I hope you and your family have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving!

    1. What do you tell yourself when you are struggling to stay motivated?

    Ummm...usually that I'll be happy/proud when I'm finished. I rarely if ever regret having run or raced. Plus, I'd much rather have something good to blog about than "I overslept again today".

    2. Why do you train/run?

    So I can do fun things. So I can have a base that lets me jump into something crazy (for me) with a pretty good probability of at least finishing, if not finishing well.

    3. Please share one of your big goals that you are working on. Running or other. I would love to hear.

    Big goal? I don't know that it qualifies, but my main focus this next year (much like last) is going to be improving my mountain biking. I'm not looking to win anything, but maybe not being last place... :)

    4. What are some things you are thankful for today?

    My family, my job, being able to pay our bills, and the wonderful wonderful community of runners and athletes who've become my good friends, both real life and "virtual".

  35. Ah your husband is a wise man!

    When I'm struggling with my motivation I try to take a step back and remember the bigger picture - the sense of satisfaction in achieving my goals and the example I'm settling for my boys.

  36. I am thankful for "good" health. Sure I have some issues goin on but none of them are life-threatening. I'm also thankful for family and friends who truly care for me.

    Loved your hubs' "motivational speech". That was a good effort, I'd have rolled over and ignored you ;)

  37. Hi Amanda! I am grateful/thankful for your blog. Been out of the blog of things for months. Read you posting today and said - "i miss Amanda." You always have something that hits the spot. Keep Kickin'!

    I run/train because I know I need too. It inspires my kids, and my wife at times. It keeps me in my own little self contained unit world of reality. Plus, what else am I going to do with the 20 boxes of unopened/unused Asics under my bed?

    Happy thanksgiving!

  38. I am reading this post a week late, but wanted you to know it came at exactly the right time. I had another night of insomnia last night and am now at work struggling to make it to bedtime. I have a one-hour lunch break. I was ready to bag my little three miler. But now because I read this post I'm going to get my bag, go down to the locker room and do it. I feel better already. Thank you!