When I’m not in the running mood

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It was a beautiful morning. Sunny. Warm but not hot. No wind. Fantastic conditions for a steady run.

But I didn’t want to go.

I just didn’t feel motivated. I wasn’t in the mood. I didn’t have anything else I particularly wanted to do. I just was all blah.

I went about my pre-run morning routine, making myself a piece of toast with honey and a cup of coffee (because Amy Mo is not doing anything without her coffee) while making a deal with myself. Ten minutes. I would go out for 10 minutes and if I felt horrible I would stop and go back home. I continued to discuses the nuances of this bargain while my body was on autopilot, checking the air temperature and pulling out the appropriate running gear, fixing my hair back in a ponytail, tying my sneakers.

I went out the door into the beautiful morning. I started to run and, as I knew in my heart would happen, felt just fine and pounded out a quality workout. I thought about my friend Tracy who used the mantra “find your smile” to get through some of her distance training. Sometimes it felt forced, but I smiled. The more I smiled, the more I convinced myself that this workout was going just fine.

I started thinking about the women of Carolyn’s House. They are my motivation for this 70.3 training and I can’t help but notice the analogies between endurance training and building (or rebuilding) your life.

Somewhere in the Twitterverse I saw a quote about commitment, that it’s easy to work hard at first when you’re excited about the journey but that real commitment comes when you do the work even on the days when the enthusiasm, when that proverbial bloom on the rose, has faded.

There are days when I’m bursting with enthusiasm for training (or work, or family or life in general) and those days usually come at the beginning of a new project. Then comes the actual work. And the tedious tasks. And the minor set backs. And the negative self-talk. And the motivation dwindles. I suspect it’s the same for many of the homeless women who are residents of Carolyn’s House. As they work to build a life after domestic violence and life happenings, there is great energy at the start and then the tendency to want to return to old patterns, not because they’re useful but because they are comfortable and even if the outcome is crappy we at least know what the outcome will be.

I’m still learning to use tools to get past all the “lack of motivation” card that is so terribly easy to play. On those days I ask myself, “What do I want more?” Sure I could choose comfort in my old pattern, my old way of being and thinking. Is that what I want most? Or do I want what’s on the other side of that mental mountain more? Do I want that that long-term, true-to-my-core, scary-because-it’s-something-new goal more than I want immediate comfort?

Almost always I pick the goal. Almost always. I’m not perfect. Somedays I punt on second down. But the beautiful thing is that the next day (hell even the next hour) I can choose again. I can choose something different.

And most days, if I force myself to start, if I make myself do the task at hand — whether it be a workout or work project or cleaning my bathroom — for 10 minutes, I find it’s not as heinous as I originally thought.

I’m training for the Princeton 70.3 and fundraising for Carolyn’s House, a safe transitional living space in Niagara Falls, N.U. that promotes healing, growth and self-sufficiency for homeless women and children. Through advocacy, counseling, case management and education, Carolyn’s House creates a support system that is free of judgment and discrimination and empowers women to determine the course of their own lives.

Your entire donation stays with the Niagara Falls site and directly goes to programs which help women through educational programs, life skills and counseling.

As a thank you for a $25 donation, you can receive cookies and trail mix, created and prepared by The Catering Crew, a social enterprise business at which trains and employs women at Carolyn’s House.

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