Well, we’re about 4 days into the week already and it’s safe to say not much has been accomplished. My running motivation has drastically decreased after I ended last week thinking optimistically about my transition back to running and working out after being sick all week. Suffice to say that my transition did not go as expected. As I try my best to make unselfish choices by being realistic about my health situation, I am discovering that completing a perfect training plan might not be a healthy goal.
We are only halfway into the week and it has already been chop full of mental struggles. I am fighting a battle in my mind trying to find the right thing to do, looking for motivation or inspiration, and am constantly second guessing myself. During this time I am trying to make some healthy choices, while not making myself miserable by thinking I don’t deserve the same indulgences as usual (like my weekly Sunday-during-Lent ice cream bowl;)
I’ve been thinking a lot about running as I miss more and more workouts on my training plan and am now reminding myself just how important it is not only to me, but to the world (of course I think so positively about running are when I am forced not to do it – on normal days in the middle of the usual grind all I can think about is how much I don’t want to go outside and how much time it would free up if I didn’t have to work out…until I just do it and the endorphins kick in that is;).
I saw a video yesterday that really readjusted my perspective of running and reminded me why I continue to sign up for races and share with others the positivity of the sport. It seems that the news lately is filled with pessimistic views and horribly sad, terrifying stories. So many people I see throughout the day are full of complaints and negativity (not that I’m saying I am guilt free in this area by any means), and it is simply hard to remain positive in some environments. What the world really needs is a constant source of inspiration, and sometimes we can find them in our every day life but may neglect to see them.
One of the struggles I face with teaching is that I experience way more negativity, pessimism, and sadness than I ever anticipated. The staff lounge is filled with complaints and stories of fights and sad home lives. The students are filled with attitude about how much they hate certain parts of their day, and certain people in the school. The teachers are filled with complaints about how they are being treated. It is easy to get so bogged down by the negativity that you want to go home to sit around mindlessly watching TV and eating bad-for-you food.
This is when I need running the most. This is when we as a community, a nation and a world need it the most. I remind myself of every single race I have ever run: I have never run a race where I did not meet, hear, see, or feel something inspirational. At nearly every single race, I have teared up at some point. Whether they are big or small, long or short, there is something just so incredible about this community and what everyone in it is trying to achieve that brightens my day, my mind, and refreshes my soul.
Running, just as an activity in itself, is truly inspiration.
This video really puts it into perspective:
Inspirational Running Video
THAT is why I run. How incredible that three strangers, who could have been running for a time goal, saw a struggling runner and picked her up immediately without even a word. THAT is what the world needs. We need to understand the battle that everybody is facing, we need to put aside our own personal pursuits to pursue something for the greater good, we need to run free just for the joy of it, to listen to the stories of others, to run alongside a stranger without saying a word but feel a connection deeper than you’ve ever expected, to feel a sense of pride for ourselves, and to focus on the positive.
THAT is why I run.
Not to mention the inspiration and peace that you can find when you venture out into nature. The world wasn’t created for us to look at through windows and doors, it was created to inspire us. To challenge us. To improve us. There is so much out there! It is so easy (speaking from experience) to get into a rut during the endless work weeks. We (I) run the same routes pretty much every day, have seen all that there is to see on these routes, and don’t feel very motivated to venture outside unless it is beautiful weather. Driving to a new place takes a lot of effort and it’s already getting close to dinner time when chores should be done and we are ready to relax.
It’s always at times like these (when I am forced out of my normal routine in some way or another) when I start to rethink running. As soon as I have to take an unplanned hiatus, I start to miss it. So this is my plan – I am stating it on the internet so I hold myself accountable – I am going to make a smart, healthy recovery. I have been sick for months and am sick of being sick. I am going to take as much time as I need to rest, stretch, strengthen, and empower myself to come back to running and give it everything it deserves. I’m going to open my eyes to inspiring stories, races, nature, and people. I’m going to plan new adventures outside and be grateful for everything running has given me.
Basically, I’m going to remind myself of the pure joy in running. Or exercising. Or just getting outside. If you are feeling stuck, take a day off and Google inspirational running stories – because I guarantee, there’s a whole bunch. Running is your friend when it feels like you have no one else and are alone in the world. Running sticks it out with you even when you hate it and complain about it all day long. Running waits for you when you decide you are too good for it. That’s the kind of friend this world needs – and it’s our job to pass it on.