Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Motivation: Part I

I often get asked about why I do what I do and how I do it. Questions like: "What is your motivation for running?" "How do you keep the love of running?" "What motivates you to get out after you've had a tough run?"

Let me be completely honest with you ('cause you know I've always gotta keep it real), I am NOT a professional runner... I don't even play one on TV. Shoot, I only started running three years ago and technically still consider myself a newbie to the sport.

But just because no one pays me to run... yet (wouldn't that be nice though?!)... doesn't mean I am not an expert when in comes to running in MY LIFE, and golly gee, maybe some of you even care what I have to say about it...

I thought I would start a series about MOTIVATION. It seems like this little word is something that a lot of us struggle with holding on to, so I figured it would be a great topic to discuss.

Motivation (as defined by Merriam-Webster):
Noun. The act or process of giving someone a reason for doing something. A force or influence that causes someone to do something.

So, without further ado, let's jump into it!

Let's be real, running can be a very selfish sport. Most of it is done on our own. We use the time to run off the stress of the day, have a little "me" time, work to get faster or run longer, decompress, show ourselves what we are capable of, improve our health, etc. Sure, we can justify why making ourselves better is better for those around us, but when you get down to it, running is often about ME.

When it comes to running, I found the absolute best way (for me) to keep the motivation is DOING IT FOR OTHERS!

Earlier this year, I was asked to be a part of Team Sparkle's Ultra Ragnar Team. Six sparkly ladies teamed up to run 180ish miles across Southern California in hopes to not only win the dang thing (which, by the way, WE DID), but to raise funds and awareness for Rett Syndrome. The hashtag was #Ragnar4Rett, the organization we were raising money for was Girl Power 2 Cure, and we dedicated each mile to a specific girl with the disorder while raising $54,000 in the process.

Being out there, running tons of miles with little to no sleep, experiencing one of the most taxing races I have ever done, I did it with a SMILE on my face EVERY step of the way because I was able to think about those girls who can't run, those girls who have had the ability to run stolen from them by Rett Syndrome. Some of the girls were able to come cheer us on throughout the race, which brought the cause even closer to home (and more than a few tears to my face).

That race will always hold a special place in my heart. Not only did I walk run away with a group of amazing friends, but it reinforced that EVERY STEP IS A GIFT and we need to treat it as such! Sure, there will be rough runs, but focusing on the BIG picture, that I am out there, with the ability to do something, day in and day out, that other people are PRAYING they one day have the opportunity to do, THAT is what motivates me.

Every mile is full of magic, but when every mile is full of MEANING, THAT is what will keep you going (even when the runs get tough, when the elements are rough, when your mind is your worst enemy, and when your body wants to give up). Having something bigger than yourself to rely on for strength can be your secret weapon, your ace in the pocket.

Allison, one of the speedy mamas on the team, has a personal connection with this cause (as you saw in the video above) - her oldest daughter was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome in 2005. Below is another video about Allison, her daughter Emma, and runDisney.

Find a cause. It doesn't have to be Rett Syndrome (although I truly hope you will at least take a moment or two to learn about it and maybe donate towards finding a cure). Find what resonates with YOUR soul! Whether that is an organization helping to battle the stigma associated with mental illness, a non-profit working to save animals from high kill shelters, a hospital fighting the good fight against a cancer that has personally touched your life, a group bringing clean water to villages in Africa, etc. Whatever cause has YOUR name on it, CLAIM IT! Run for those people, for awareness of that disorder, to help cure that cancer, to save those lives!

When we run for others, running becomes so much bigger and more important than we could ever imaging. When you realize that running is something you are ABLE to do, rather than something you MUST do, you can can change your whole outlook - and let me tell you, it makes it a whole heck of a lot easier to lace up those shoes and get out that door.

What cause has YOUR name on it?

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