you always hear that a big part of the running battle, mainly in distance running, is mental. for me, nothing is more true. i get really, almost freakishly, nervous before a marathon, or any race for that matter. in school, i had test anxiety, so i'm sure it's related. the night before a marathon, i'm a wreck, but when the morning comes, the anxiety and jitters turn to a focus. the thrill of the start of a marathon is something only those running the race can experience. the thousands of people shivering in the cool morning air, the talk about what pace everyone will be running, and the sound of the cheers from the runners as they cross the start line are things that only a runner truly feels. pretty much everyone in the race, thousands, have traveled completely different paths to get there - training, experiences, and even motivation. some by weight loss, some because of a demon in their life, and some cause they love the challenge.
i think about what motivates me. i only started running about 7 years ago. i started running because a friend wanted to 'get a little fitter' because of a guy she was dating. she is not one who enjoys exercise at all, but she wanted to try so running was what we were going to do. about 2 weeks later, i was on my own. i kept going, and soon found myself running 5-6 miles several times a week. then wham, a year later, i was doing my first marathon. over the years, my motivation has changed and evolved. what started as a way to 'get fitter' turned into 'let's see what i can do today'.
after 9 marathons, and periods of struggle, burnout, and even dislike, i am finding myself feeling motivation again. motivation like when i ran my second marathon and bettered my time by 1 hour and 20 minutes. and motivation like when i wanted to break 4 hours and missed it by a few minutes. and motivation like those days when frustration and disappointment ate me up for having to miss a run.
how do i know i'm feeling the motivation again? well, this week, i'm teaching spin 7 times because of subbing for a fellow instructor. pretty much 2 classes a day, some before work and after, and some back to back both after work. running will be tough with this schedule combined with my work schedule. not only am i busy with teaching, i'm facing one of my busiest weeks of the spring at work. at best, i will only be able to run 2-3 times this week. i will survive the week, and missing a few days will be ok. and hopefully when i have the opportunity to run, i'll take it! i'm still easing back into a routine after new orleans, but i'm finding myself itching to get at it! i have goals, and i know i won't get there unless i do the work. that's how i know i'm motivated.
motivation. it's good to know the feeling again.