Friday, March 5

March 4, 2010 - Marathon Motivation

Hello All,

Sorry for no post last week, I was getting ready for the Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon in New Orleans. I COMPLETED IT! Woo hoo!

I have a specific request this week to write about motivation. From the request I am assuming exercise motivation, but I will probably bounce back and forth on the topic.

As most of you know the main motivation for me starting on a healthier path was the fact that I thought I was way too young not to be able to walk a half marathon like many of my friends. On the day I realized there is no reason I could not get in shape to walk a half marathon, I called and sought support from a local weight loss clinic. This small step changed my life.

I still do not know why it started that day. I guess something just “clicked” or it was the start of a mid-life crisis (LOL). There were situations in the past that should have prompted me to lose the weight, but they did not.

Along the way my exercise motivation ebbs and flows. When it wanes I find something new to motivate me. Currently, I really enjoy walking the 5Ks, 10Ks, and Half Marathons. I find them fun and a bit of a challenge. When I complete one I am really excited and proud of myself. Why?!? Because it is something I am certain I would not have been able to do just a couple of years ago. This is very motivating to me.

As most of you know, I completed the New Orleans Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon on Sunday. During the event I had to constantly re-motivate myself. In order to re-motivate I had to find motivation in the small things.
It all started when I could not get a cab to the start line. I realized that walking was my only option. The house where we stayed was at least 2-3 miles from the start line. I seriously thought about turning around and going back to bed. I did not because five friends flew down to New Orleans to see me finish that race. So, I walked. I did finally catch a cab.

Right before the race I called my sister to remind me to “suck it up.” I still was not “feeling it” before I started so I needed someone to motivate me again. Even when I was about to start I was reminding myself that I could always quit.

The Rock ‘Roll events have announcers keeping the participants motivated until their time to cross the start line. The announcer said something very interesting and motivating; “I like the people in the back corrals. They have the most compelling stories. You don’t find a recovering alcoholic in Corral 10.” Sure enough, the woman standing next to me was walking just because it was her mother’s birthday and she had died of breast cancer the prior year.

Right before I crossed the start line two people from the Biggest Loser (pictures will be on Facebook this weekend) hopped in front of me to start the race with my corral. I do not watch the Biggest Loser, but even I found that inspiring.

As I settled in to begin the race and tried to shake off the doubt I passed by buildings still with the X from the ruins of Hurricane Katrina. It was then I reminded myself that I lead a blessed life. I sped up and quit whining in my head.

For the next several miles I found the scenery kept my mind occupied. I spoke to other people as I went along. I also spoke to some of the spectators who were thanking the walkers for visiting their city. Also, the bands along the course were very motivating.

At one point, I passed a man with an obvious neurological disorder. He was shuffling along enjoying being part of the group. It was then that I realized he did not have a bib number. He just wanted to take part in the Half Marathon. As tears filled my eyes, I realized I needed to keep moving.

At mile 8.5 I had one of the best motivations of all. Five of my friends were wearing feather boas and cheering along all the participants including myself. Again I was reminded of how blessed I am. I am relatively certain that my paced picked up from the energy my friends projected. These friends had come to New Orleans not only to party, but to support me. This is priceless and highly motivating.

I had several other sightings of motivation along the way. Because I kept my eyes opened and absorbed my surroundings I stayed motivated. Granted, some days I would not have found any of these things motivating, but it worked on Sunday.

Motivation has peaks and valleys. To combat the valleys I always have a goal and keep that goal in mind. For the Half Marathon I wanted to finish and collect the cooool medal at the end.

For the past couple of years I have maintained my motivation by keeping track of a major goal that did not include weight loss goals, but would help me lose weight (e.g. half marathons, certain number of 5Ks). I also sign up in advance for these events so I HAVE to do them.

I also try to be motivated every day. Normally, if I open my eyes and pay attention I can find something that keeps me moving that day. For example, today was an absolutely beautiful day. I am glad that I am a healthier person that is enjoying it in all it’s glory because I have worked hard to be healthy. This will motivate me even more in the future.

There will be days that I do not have the motivated and happy thoughts, but being prepared for them and keeping the faith that there are fewer bad days than there are good does keep me motivated to live for the good days.

My ultimate advice to my friend is to find an activity you enjoy doing and find a goal to reach with it. It can be an official event or something else, but do find some accountability with it. I believe this will help you stay motivated. It always helps to be held accountable to someone and for that, just keep me in the loop.

Til Next Week,

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