As part of the 5 Borough Challenge, my fellow participants and I were asked “Who or what inspires me to run?”. At first I thought this would be an easy question to answer…I decided to use this morning’s run as time to think about my answer.
Each morning that my alarm goes off, there is something different pulling me out the door. My inspiration to run each day changes – depending on the day, the week, or my current life situation. For example, when I was pregnant, my motivation was that I wanted to remain in running shape. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to get back into running if I took months off during my pregnancy. Knowing that running even a few miles each day (regardless of how slow I was moving) was a success and an accomplishment, was all the motivation I needed to head out for my run. After I gave birth to my son, my inspiration quickly became to get back to my previous weight and running ability. My motivation to run (and push myself when I’m already out running) increases when I am signed up for a big race; I find that knowing there is a race marked on the calendar gives me that little extra motivation to push myself those last few miles or last 30 seconds of mile repeats.
Of course, there are mornings when the motivation to head out the door is simply that I probably shouldn’t have eaten that 3rd piece of pizza and most certainly shouldn’t have eaten the 4th the night before, or that I started – and finished – a pint of LaRocca’s Italian Ice. Or it’s because later on that day we are going over my mom’s house for Sunday dinner with all of my sisters and their families/significant others. In most families, this is a normal meal. However, going over my mom’s for “Sunday macaroni” really equates to the average Thanksgiving dinner. And that’s not even touching on the amount of dessert that inevitably appears (seemingly out of thin air) on the table (see photo below – this was at a recent family get-together). So my run in the morning is more of a precautionary measure for my waistline – and it allows me to eat all day guilt-free!!
However, there are always two constants that serve as my inspiration – my newest and greatest is my son, AJ. I want to be healthy and strong for him as he grows up; I want him to look at me and be proud that I ran while I was pregnant with him; I want him to come to races and be proud as he sees me cross the finish line…I want him to grow up seeing that daily running/exercise is normal and healthy. My husband, Paul, and I already are astonished that at 9 months he is repeating things he sees us doing and we know that it’s only going to get more pronounced as he gets older. We want him to look to us for examples of a healthy, active lifestyle.
And second, at the very core of my inspiration to run is the simple fact that I love to run. Running is who I am and who I will always be (God-willing that I’m physically capable!). I have always enjoyed starting my day off with a run – no matter how short, easy, or slow that run is. During these runs, I think about the day – what chores I need to get done, who I need to call or email, and what I am making for dinner. It helps create order in my life and allows me to return home with an organized plan for the day.