What motivates you? What does motivation mean to you?

I am pretty sure it means something different to all of us and we all find our motivation from different places. My motivation comes from different places at different times. Sometimes it is a big goal race, sometimes it is needing stress relief, and sometimes I just know I will feel better if I go for a run. And sometimes I have no idea where my motivation goes.

I had a lot of motivational issues this year with my running. It has been hard for me after last year. I had a great first eight months of the year: PRs in almost every race distance, high fitness levels, and a lot of belief in my own ability. But then it all went bad quickly. I had extreme pain in what I thought was my right quad, which was misdiagnosed as a strain in my quad. It turns out that I had a stress fracture in my right femur. I did not run for almost 4 months. I had to pull out of the Chicago Marathon. I watched all my friends run their fall marathons and I just didn’t know what was next. I wanted it to be easy and fun again, but starting from nothing is not easy or fun.

Thankfully when I finally started running again in January my leg was not in pain. I was slow and had almost no fitness, but at least I was running. I was motivated by the fact that I could run again. I was motivated by wanting to do well at the National Half Marathon in March. I somehow had enough motivation to run through the crappy cold winter in Wisconsin. I ended up having a great race in March, not a PR, but a course PR and I felt great afterwards. Somehow that wonderful feeling of accomplishment did not last very long and April and May were sporadic months of running. I even pulled out of the Madison Half Marathon. At this point I am just pretending May didn’t happen.

Right now I am using all my upcoming races as motivation. I don’t want to have to back out of any others. I want to run PRs in both the half marathon and ten mile distance this fall. I just hope my motivation sticks this time. My other big goal this year was for running to become fun again and that thankfully has happened. I don’t view it as a chore or something I have to check off my to do list.

What do you use for motivation? How do you stay motivated?

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