Runners are frequently asked how they do it. “It” meaning getting out there, putting in the miles week after week. The secret? The how is actually the easy part–you put one foot in front of the other and just. keep. moving. It’s really the why that makes it all happen. Whether it’s the quiet time a pre-dawn run provides, an attempt to shed unwanted pounds, or working towards a new PR, your own personal motivation for running is what really gets you out the door.
So what keeps me lacing up my Brooks at 5:o0 a.m. when the rest of the fam is still snoozing? The challenge. Whether I’m covering a new distance or hitting new numbers on the track, I love the personal competition running provides. Running consistently challenges me to try new things and to set higher goals. Reach them or not, who cares? I still did the work.
For my last Half, my running mate and I set our sights on a sub 2-hour finish. We found a training plan and we stuck to it. We clocked the miles, hit our numbers, and showed up on Race Day envisioning a big fat 1 in front of our finishing times. Six miles in, I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I was falling behind my mate and the stomach cramps were kicking in. With just over seven miles left, I was in trouble. So, I readjusted. I slowed my pace, recovered, and focused on staying above the 2:05 pace group. In the week leading up to the race, I had worried about feeling disappointed if I didn’t make it under 2 . But a funny thing happened after crossing the finish line at 2:05:41 that day–I felt nothing but pride (okay, pride + the urge to vomit, but who’s keeping track?). Pride not because I had just run 13.1 miles, but because I had actually put in 150+ miles and trained my ass off for 3 months. The race was just the encore to those months of hard work. The fact was that I emerged from those 3 months a faster, more focused runner. What I turned in on race day could never take that away.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, my mate did make it in under 2. She’s a rockstar.