It’s been a long, cold, wet winter. I heard today that there have only been five days of sunshine so far this entire year, and I’ve got to tell you that I’ve really been feeling it. Last year I ran outside pretty much the entire winter; but this year, well, it’s been rough.
Last night I told myself that I was going to get in a quick run before my mid-day appointment today. I prepared myself for the fact that it might be a bit rainy or gray, but told myself that I was going to get out there and run anyway. As soon as my eyes opened, I heard the sound of the rain on the roof of the house. It wasn’t a pitter patter — the rain was literally pounding the shingles as it came down in torrents. The motivation that I had felt the night before slowly slipped away. I got out of bed and began to get ready for the day but was overcome with disappointment. I knew that due to my schedule, if I didn’t get a run in this morning, I wouldn’t have another chance for several days.
What motivates you to run? Most of the time I just plain enjoy running, so that’s motivation enough. But there are times that I need more than that. Some days my schedule has more items on it than can fit into the hours of the day, or maybe I’m just plain tired. Sometimes I go through a rough period when I’m just not feeling it, or I’m in the midst of a long, wet winter. That’s when I need to have something to get me out the door to log some miles.
I have found that it really keeps me motivated to run when I have an upcoming running event on my calendar. If you’ve never participated in a formal running event, you should really try it. I probably never would have signed up for one myself except that when I first began to run, my health insurance offered reimbursement for participation in an event. I certainly wasn’t trying to compete for a medal, but I figured that since it wasn’t going to cost me anything, it could be fun to try it. After my first event I was hooked. Now I try to keep something on my calendar every two to three months just so I have something that I’m working towards.
Have you ever arrived home from the gym only to find that you left something there? Or worse yet, you didn’t realize you left an item there until you couldn’t find it, and by that time it was no longer in the lost-and-found? I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have had both of these things happen to me. Just off the top of my head I can tell you that I have lost a swimsuit, swim bottoms, goggles, as well as all of my toiletries. It’s very frustrating not only because losing things can get expensive, but it is also a big disruption to my routine when I have to go buy something before I can go to the gym again.
Several months ago I tried to figure out what I could do to solve this problem. The more I thought about it, I realized that what I was doing at work would help me in this situation as well. I work as a phlebotomist (I draw blood for lab tests) and we have to make sure that we do specific things to identify each patient and prevent germs from being spread. The first hospital that I worked at trained us to follow a very specific routine so that we wouldn’t forget to do anything. What was great about it was that once I had the routine down, I never had to worry whether I had forgotten to do any of the numerous things that I was required to do. And if I got interrupted mid-process, I was able to go back to the point where I had left off, and I knew immediately that I had completed everything up to that point.
We’re all familiar with the old adage, “Ignorance is bliss.” More and more I am finding this statement to be true. It is particularly true as it relates to my love of running. When I first began to run, I was blown away by how it made me feel. I loved to feel the air in my lungs. I loved to feel the rhythm of my feet on the pavement. I loved how the complexities of life seemed so far removed from what I felt that very moment. I loved the beautiful atmosphere and the sun on my face. All of those things together made me feel so alive. It was, in a word, blissful.
In the early days, one of my favorite running routes took me to the edge of town where I would run on a nice little country road. It was a wooded area and the houses were on large parcels of land and set way back from the road. I would hear the birds singing in the trees and would see squirrels, bunnies, and even the occasional deer.
Guess what was delivered today — my brand new running shoes! I can hardly wait to take my first run in them. I picture myself running down the road with the speed and stride of a cheetah, springing forward almost effortlessly. Of course the sky will be blue and the warm sun will be on my face as I run harmoniously through nature.