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My mind and feet worked together to take me here this morning–the marina in downtown Traverse City. Ice chunks floated in the water, and crashing waves against the break wall sprayed water onto the parking lot. It was serene and wonderful and just what I needed.

It’s end of February in Michigan. Do you know where your motivation is?

If it’s MIA, even just a little, take heart. You’re not alone. Count me as feeling not quite as exuberant as usual about my running. And what’s really ridiculous and frustrating about feeling this way is that…I have no good, actual, solid reason for feeling this way. I am not injured (thank goodness, knocking on wood). I have the time and gear and clothing to run outside 4-5 days a week (this is a gift for sure). I have a spring race to look forward to (woo-hoo!).

And yet. I just am missing that proverbial–and literal?–spring in my step the past week, it seems. It’s not that my runs have been awful, either. I’ve logged some really great ones, including a snowy, giggle-filled 15-miler with friends this past weekend. Maybe it’s just the weather. Can we blame the weather? Even though we love it–the snow and ice and wind that make running outdoors a true adventure, and I really mean that–I suppose it’s also normal to reach a point, a plateau, when we just want to say, “OK, spring. Let’s get together soon. Miss you.”

No more whining for me. Consider the above a short venting session that you may or may not be able to relate to. Hopefully, everyone can relate to what I’m going to share next: some Michigan running motivation.

Even when it’s gray outside, as it is today, there’s beauty all around. Just think how much we would miss if we stayed in our cozy beds rather than get up and go work-out. Or worse, get too consumed with our work and not give ourselves the breaks we need and deserve to rejuvenate our bodies and minds with a run outside.

When I’m training for a race, particularly a long distance like the marathon, I find myself sooner or later needing to really ramp up the motivational messages I feed my mind. I remember when training for my first 26.2, my running coach emphasized the importance of seeking inspiration–from friends, family, movies, books, web sites, wherever we could find it. It might be a mantra we tell ourselves during tough runs, or an encouraging quote, or story about someone tackling something seemingly insurmountable (and then conquering it). These don’t need to be exclusively running-related, either. Just things that can help build the mental muscle we crave and need for training and for race day.

A few things inspiring to me right now….

 

I found this card in a local bookstore. I like the idea that we have the ability to go out there and blaze our own path, whatever it may be.
I found this card in a local bookstore. I like the idea that we have the ability to go out there and blaze our own path, whatever it may be.

 

Makes sense to me.
Makes sense to me.

I just discovered Overgram, and am having fun using it with my mid-run photos, like this one…

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There’s something about this area of Traverse City that just sticks. I love running by these beautiful historic buildings. This morning, my feet gravitated toward the Commons…

And, I remember this long run…13 miles a couple of weeks back with Karen, Bonny and Julia. It snowed intermittently as we ran from downtown to the west side, then looped back and headed out to Old Mission Peninsula. The final miles, as we made our way back to downtown, we felt like we were in a snow globe. Afterward, sitting in my car as I thawed out and snow fell from my hat and braids, I had to snap this picture. It makes me happy thinking about the miles I logged on such a beautiful morning.

Happiness is a snowy, friend-filled run.
Happiness is a snowy, friend-filled run.

 

What’s inspiring you and your runs these days?

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