What Inspires You?

Over the last week, a few things have happened that are really leaving me questioning what inspires people. What makes people want to do their best? What makes them get out there every day and push themselves beyond their comfort level? Just what is that motivating factor?

I first started pondering this thought last Sunday during my long run. I had been dreading that particular run because I had to do it solo. 13 miles in the middle of the day, by myself. Yuck. But, to my great joy, just shortly after hopping on the running path, I caught up with a girl and invited myself to run with her. (Yup, I totally hijacked her run for my own selfish needs. And it worked! At least 4 of my miles went by fast!) While we were running along chatting it up, I asked her if she was training for a race. She said, “No, I just run for fitness.” Ok. Fair enough. Then she asked me how far I was running, and I said 13 miles. She responded, “OH! I’ve done that once! It was so much fun. I hope to do it again some day.” My response, of course, was to ask her what race it was that she had done (since a half marathon is 13.1 miles). She laughed and said, “It wasn’t a race. It was just for fitness.”

In that instant it hit me that my biggest motivating factor for running is to be able to complete (and sometimes even COMPETE in) races. If I didn’t sign up for races and have an end goal in mind, I would not continue to run. I sure as heck would not be going out and running 13 miles for fun, or simply for my “fitness.” It honestly leaves me flabbergasted that someone could be that driven by an end goal of maintaining fitness. Yes, that’s an awesome goal, but where is the fun in it?! I guess I need a fun factor, and a specific date to be aiming at to keep me going.

And, it just so happens that while I was out there doing that mostly-solo run on Sunday afternoon, there were A LOT of people out there completing Ironman events at the exact same time. In fact, Ironman Louisville and Michigan Titanium (both of the Ironman events that I have completed) took place last Sunday. So then, of course, I started thinking about what even led me to sign up for my first Ironman. What was that motivating factor? I’d say that the number one thing was that my sister wanted to do it, and she wanted me to do it with her. (I am really big on doing races with family or friends!) And probably the second biggest motivating factor was that when I told my mom I might sign up for an Ironman, the first thing she said to me was, “You can’t swim 2.4 miles!” HA! I quickly learned that the fastest way to get me motivated to do something is to tell me I can’t do it! That might have been the first time that anyone had ever told me to my face that they didn’t think I could do something. I didn’t like it! And at that moment I had something to prove. (Please note that my mom has always been my biggest cheerleader, and she has always led me to believe that I can do anything I put my mind to. She supported me through all of my training and I think deep down she knew I could do it. It was just a moment of fear. No one wants their child to set a goal they can’t reach! And the Ironman is a HUGE goal to set!)

And the final thing over the last week that led me to question the whole idea of motivation was talking to a coworker and being elated to find out that she has been inspired by my blog to start training for her first 5k! How awesome is that?! She said that knowing it’s not easy for me either has helped her to be more accepting that it’s not easy for her. So my whining and complaining about how hard it is has actually been useful! Wahoo! Just knowing that I am doing something to motivate anyone out there to get up and do something is enough to keep me going. 

So, with some self-reflecting this week I have come to the conclusion that I am motivated by races, people challenging my abilities, and knowing that I am inspiring others to set and reach new goals. But there are lots of other little things that help me stay on track. Reading motivational books and blogs helps me. I love Kristin Armstrong’s writings! Searching Pinterest for inspirational quotes sometimes gets me excited for a run.  And sometimes I just need to recruit friends to run with (or to call me out for not running!).

What motivates you? Think about it. Figure it out. Then use it to your advantage. The more tools you have in your tool box, the more likely you are to succeed. Set yourself up for success!

Sparkle. Pounce. Boom.

Motivation daily






     

Changing My Attitude

Yesterday was my first official day to report back to work. Summer vacation is officially over. As you can imagine, I have been filled with many moments of self pity and feelings of “poor me” over the last week. To all of you teachers out there, you get it. To the rest of you who want to throw things at me right now, I’m sorry. But it really is tough to say good-bye to the lazy days of summer and say hello to 8 hour days full of professional development. Yesterday was especially rough. I was in a room with about 260 other teachers and administrators who were all feeling the same as me…sad that summer is over, still half asleep, anxious for the new year and all of the stresses that it brings. Basically, by the end of the LONG day, I wanted to crawl in a corner and hide. I was not feeling at all ready to face the challenges that the year is going to bring. 

Then, last night, something inside of me decided that I would not accept today’s professional development (or really just the fact that we are back at work) to bring me, or any of my coworkers, down. I was going to be the sparkle that brought a smile to my coworkers face and just made the day happier. I made a plan of attack and went to bed.

The first essential step to my diabolical sparkle and sunshine plan was to make sure I looked as cute as possible. Now, you might be laughing at this, but I assure you that it was an important and successful part of the plan. When you try your best to look your best, you exude a certain amount of confidence that draws people to you. Plus, you get compliments on how cute you look and that makes everyone happier! 

The next part of my plan included a quick stop at Tim Horton’s to pick up 3 dozen donuts for my coworkers. Bam. I just brought the sunshine. Who doesn’t love a surprise donut for breakfast?! I could tell that everyone was already happier than they were yesterday.

The final part of my plan to make today a better day was that I made a conscious decision to remain actively involved in today’s professional development, to take notes, and to stay focused. And it totally worked! I had meaningful discussions, I learned new things, and the time flew by! I changed my attitude, and everything changed.

And then, as if just to reward me for being such a sunshine spreader, we got out an hour early!!! And then, on top of that, when I was driving home I got a surprise text from one of my sweat sisters asking if I could go for a run. And I COULD! Honestly, I don’t think that second days back to work after summer vacation get much better than that. But I can guarantee you that if I would have gone in to work today with the same attitude that I had yesterday, nothing about today would have been any different.

 
If you don't like something change it if you can't change it change your attitude | Anonymous ART of Revolution

 Even as adults, we sometimes need an attitude check. This could be with work, fitness, eating habits, relationships with family and friends…so many things! Make sure that your attitude matches your desired outcome. It’s really hard to have a fabulous day when you are in a sour mood!

As my sweat sisters would say…

Sparkle. Pounce. Boom.

And remember, everywhere you go, it’s important to bring your own sunshine!

Opportunities

After I had to bail on my trail run Saturday morning, my weekend ended up getting substantially better. 

Getting the boys ready for their triathlon and listening to them voice their anxieties before the race was absolutely priceless. You would have thought that they had stood next to me and listened to every word that has come out of my mouth before every triathlon that I’ve done. When in actuality, they have never been to one of my triathlons. Here are some of the things they were saying:

How far do we have to go after we turn the corner?

How long is the run?

That swim looks REALLY long.

I think the water is going to be freezing!

How deep is it? What if I can’t touch?

They were so cute talking about all of the things that worried them. I assured them that everything would be fine and that all that counted was that they had fun. And they did! (Although the whole time that I ran with Finn from the swim up to transition 1, he told me about how much seaweed there was and how it kept grabbing his legs and making him get stuck. Man, was I laughing inside. I HATE seaweed!!!!)

Both boys had a great race and have been talking about it for the last two days. I love it!!!

But I have to admit, I was completely jealous of their triathlon! (Childish?…..YES!) I haven’t done a triathlon since my Ironman last August. I didn’t even think I was missing it that much, but watching them out on the course (and seeing the course for a triathlon being set up right next to theirs) made me have an urge to get out there and race! So, I got the details about the race that was being set up. It was an off road triathlon/duathlon the next day at 8:00am. Off road?!?! PERFECT!! It was as if the whole weekend was falling into place!

I waited all day Saturday before I talked to anyone about possibly doing the race. I wanted to make sure that I REALLY wanted to do it. Yup. I sure did! So Saturday night I got approval from Will and loaded up my car. The duathlon was my choice for the race for two reasons. First, I was supposed to be running 12 miles, and if I did the duathlon I would get in 6.2 instead of just 3.1 in the triathlon. Next, I still haven’t developed a love for swimming! Hahahaha! Even after Finn’s description of the weeds grabbing his feet, it didn’t sound like fun!

Race morning I was a little nervous, but I wasn’t feeling very well (my migraine induced vertigo has been surfacing again over the last week…ggrrrrr!), so that is really what I was thinking about. I was concerned that I wouldn’t even be able to finish the race if the vertigo got any worse, let alone actually do well. But once the race got going I was able to manage fine and could tell that if I maintained a good speed, I would have a chance of placing (duathlons are typically much smaller than triathlons….ssshhhhh!). 

So I pushed through the race as fast as I could. There were points on the course when I literally thought I would never catch my breathe. It was hard! On the second run (it goes run, bike, run) with about 1 mile left I passed the woman that I had been trying to catch for the whole race. There’s a chance she swore as I ran by, and I knew I couldn’t let down my pace for the last mile. She was ticked off! So I continued to give it my all and finished as the 1st place female for the duathlon, less than 1 minute ahead of her. What an amazing feeling! It has been a LONG time since I’ve pushed myself that hard, and it felt awesome. (Well, it actually felt like I might throw up, but my heart was happy!)

I got to go home and show the boys my 2 medals (1 for finishing and 1 for placing) and my check for $100! Finally, when they asked how I did I got to say that I won!! It may never happen again, but it happened yesterday.

If I wouldn’t have had to cancel my 12 mile trail run Saturday morning I definitely wouldn’t have done that race. It just goes to show that everything happens for a reason. Always have your eyes open to other opportunities. Something amazingly fun and awesome is out there waiting for you!

  opportunities

Change of Plans…

It’s 8:18am on Saturday morning, and I am supposed to be on a beautiful trail run with my sweat sisters. Instead, I’m at home being a responsible mother and wife. **Insert sigh…

Sometimes it’s REALLY hard to figure out what is the right decision. When my alarm went off at 6:45 this morning for my 12 mile trail run, I rolled over and, for a moment, pondered going back to sleep. I looked at my phone and saw that one of the girls sent a late night text indicating that there was a good chance she wouldn’t be crawling out of bed in time for the run. Another one had sent a similar text earlier last night, so I knew that I had to get up and make this happen so that we had a success rate of at least 50%!

Luckily, the coffee was already made. I poured myself a cup, packed a peanut butter and honey sandwich, got dressed, and finished my cup of coffee. Then, I waited…

My husband had left at 6:15 this morning to go pick up a skid steer to do some major work on our driveway. He had given himself plenty of time to get back by 7:30 so that I could head out for my run…or so he thought. But then, I got a call from him at 7:18 to let me know that there was no chance he would be home in time. He was having problems.

UGH!!!! I sent out my group “I’m not sure how late I’m going to be, but I’m going to be late” text and debated my next move. I had a few options. A.) I could go back to sleep (but I had already drank my coffee… B.) I could just sit and wait…and wait…and do nothing until he got home, or C.) I could start running laps around my driveway until he got there, then head out and hope to be able to meet up with the girls somewhere on the trails. I went with option C after getting a text from my husband that my parent duties would be relieved in 15 minutes! (Maybe this wasn’t going to be so bad after all…)

6 laps, equaling 1 mile, later I stopped and checked my phone again to see that it was almost time to go. I heard Will at the top of the driveway. So I grabbed my keys and headed up. He gave me the go ahead, but with a look on his face that said something along the lines of “things are not going well for me this morning.” I got in my car, started to drive down the road, then turned around knowing that it was a pretty selfish move at that point. The kids were still in bed sleeping and Will was at the top of the driveway with a skid steer on the back of a trailer that appeared to have a flat tire.

Sometimes NOT running is the responsible decision. (Don’t make a point out of using that excuse though!) Today I am giving myself permission to reschedule this 12 mile run. I’m not sure if it will be this afternoon or tomorrow, but I know that it’s not happening right now. Granted, I could go out and run laps around the driveway, but I did that on Thursday and I think 36 laps is enough for this week! (Oh wait, I did 6 more this morning…42 is enough for this week!)

And now my kids are up, and my husband is working on the driveway. I am content in knowing that I made the unselfish decision this morning. Liam is currently asking me questions about the triathlon that he and Finn are in at noon today. It’s time to help them get ready. Mother duty calls!

The trails will wait.

Make plans. Change plans. But stick to the goal.

 
It's okay to change plans and switch direction if they don't work out as planned the first time around. However, always remember what your final goal is.

 

If You Could Be…

Today I was watching a show on Disney with my boys, and during one of the commercial breaks they were interviewing a kid. They asked him, “If you could be anyone you wanted, who would you be?” I didn’t know the name of the teen star who he thought he wanted to be, but it got me thinking…

If I could be anyone I wanted to be, who would I want to be? I feel very blessed to say that there is no one I would rather be than me. And I think that as adults, we should all be comfortable enough in our own skin to have that same answer. If you would rather be someone other than yourself, or you would rather be living a different life, I’m thinking it’s probably time to do something differently and start becoming the person you want to be!

This summer has been nothing short of a whirl wind for me. Between vacationing, moving to a new home, and having quite a bit of company, it has been VERY hard to stick to a training plan for my upcoming 50K. But this week, my sweat sisters and I recommitted and adjusted our training schedule to ensure a successful adventure. Needless to say, I am one sore lady!  I went from basically running 0 trail miles in the last month to running 21 trails miles in 5 days! And my body felt it. EEEEKK!

Luckily, I wasn’t alone on any of those runs. I got to show a friend from out of town all of my favorite trails. And in doing so, was reminded of just how lucky I am to have such beautiful trails so close to my home! When someone from Southern California who has run on trails all over the country tells you that your favorite local trail might just be the most beautiful trail that she’s ever run on, it kind of makes you stop and realize how awesome it truly is! And I hope that as I continue to settle in to the new house and as summer nears an end, I will be able to find time to spend on those trails every week. In the last 21 trail miles, I was quickly reminded of just how refreshing and rejuvenating it is to hit the trails. If you have never run trails, I highly recommend it!

In the end, my conclusion is that whenever I am out of a schedule and routine, there is nothing that makes me feel more comfortable than going on a trail run with my girls. It is good for the soul. And when I’m asked who I want to be, I know that I want to be me. That girl who is running free out on those trails…invisible cape in tact.