Marathon Monday – Who CARES Where the Motivation Comes From!?!


Today thousands of runners will take the well traveled path from Hopkinton to Boston for the 118th Boston Marathon, with hundreds of thousands lining the streets. It is an event that is always celebrated, but this year also carries some trepidation after the events of last year.

For all those running and volunteering and spectating, I salute you and hope you have a fantastic day (weather looks great, perhaps a bit warm)! And for everyone else out running, thinking of Boston, or whatever – good for you, enjoy the ability to run! I know I do – this morning I ran just over 8 miles in brisk weather that I thoroughly enjoyed, though I still felt the hills from my long run on Saturday (I posted on Instagram) and our yard work yesterday.

I have talked before how as someone who ran in the Boston area in the mornings for nearly 20 years, every April around Patriot’s Day I would see an upswing in runners out on the roads … which would subside quickly over the next couple of weeks. Sad to say I have to confess to judging those people – much like the people who head to the gym after New Year’s, only to be no-shows before February arrives.

But as I think about it more, what does it really matter? Here are some thoughts about why we shouldn’t be so quick to judge, and why it doesn’t really matter where motivation comes from:

1. Every Journey Starts With a Step

This seems so simple, yet it is true – you really have to start somewhere, and like everything else it is often hardest to get started, and every journey has mis-steps. So if you get started with something – running, eating unprocessed foods, walking every day, vegetarian cooking or whatever – then it is the first step down a healthier path.

Most of us likely know someone who has quit smoking a dozen times and failed – there is a definite desire but something gets in the way. But eventually most people with that type of resolve will succeed. The same is true with health – who really cares if they run races, get faster or do a marathon? The fact that they get out and enjoy the same things we all feel when running, hopefully will entice them to an even more active and healthy lifestyle.

2. Once You Get the Taste, Maybe You’ll Return

Most of us know people who have tried every fad that has come along – diets, ‘lifestyles’, exercise gimmicks and so on – and have failed. They blame themselves, and keep looking for that one thing … but maybe what they need is to find a system that actually works for them and is ‘minimally invasive’. Megan had some great stuff in her reading list this week that focuses on ‘right-sizing’ your regime.

I have also heard about many people who hated running … until they loved it. And for me, after my thyroid issue, I really knew I HAD to get back to running, but struggled off and on for a few years. But now I am running like never before in my life. I know what it means to me and for me.

3. Maybe Running isn’t Your Thing?

One of the assumptions I would make was that people I saw running at Patriot’s Day went back to being sedentary by the time May arrived. But maybe they were just trying running? Maybe they belong to a gym and wanted to try out the roads and decided that between the chills and the a$$hole drivers that they were better off staying indoors?

Trying something new is one of the keys of keeping things interesting: new exercises, new recipes, new running routes, and so on. I would suggest that everyone try as many different things as possible to see what exercise works for THEM!

4. Every Little Bit Really DOES Help

Sure you won’t get chiseled features running once – but if you make strides, however small, towards a healthier lifestyle, your body will thank you! Your heart and lungs and circulatory system and all of your internal organs respond to exercise quickly … and every little thing you do matters.

Think about the teacher who did a ‘McDonald’s Challenge’, eating salads and burgers at McDonalds and also introducing walking into his routine – he lost weight and got MUCH healthier. Maybe running isn’t your thing – but if it helps you get yourself moving, that is a GOOD thing!

5. Just getting out there REALLY matters!

When it comes right down to it, it really doesn’t matter how fast you are, how many miles you run, what races you have run, what cool gear you have, or anything else. Just lace up a decent pair of shoes, dress for the conditions and run safely as far and as long as you want. Let your mind roam free, and soak in nature and the joy of movement. That is all that matters.

And come to think about it – what better time to head out? I mean, you have the greatest marathon in the greatest city being run on a holiday that celebrates the very foundation of our origins as a nation in the cradle of liberty?

15 thoughts on “Marathon Monday – Who CARES Where the Motivation Comes From!?!

  1. I love this post. It used to be that the January joiners used to drive me nuts – but really, that was me being a fitness snob. Who cares if it’s just for a month – that’s better than none at all. Even if the Boston Marathon today means a bunch of people only run once this year, that’s totally fine with me! Better than no run at all!

    • That is so true – and I really hate it when I catch myself being judgmental! And I really believe that it is a huge thing to get out there and try – I think it is a maturity thing, the ‘acceptance’ Megan talks about, the realization that everyone is different and we all just do what we can!

  2. When I’m running at the local park that is the major hub for running, a small part of me wants to grab a Johnny Come Lately by the shoulders and shake him, asking “Where were you when it was -10 degrees, snowing and blowing arctic winds?”, but I keep that inside and just smile and run on. There’s been plenty of winters where I stayed inside eating cheetos never getting off the couch, who am I to judge now.

    • As my wife would say ‘they were being smart and running on the treadmill/elliptical indoors’! πŸ™‚ Unlike us fools out in the cold and snow and wind and ice!

  3. I love everything about this. I am one of those people that hated hated hated running until one day…I just loved it. I can’t even explain it, but I’m so glad it happened! I wish I could have been out there running today! (I gave myself an extra day off after Saturday though. πŸ™‚ )

    I noticed a HUGE influx of people running around my area over the weekend…maybe it was the weather but maybe it had a little bit to do with Boston too!

    I hope you had a great weekend!

    • Thanks – it is really funny how that works. Even after more than 20 years, after my thyroid died I wasn’t sure if I would ever enjoy running again … and look at me now, more into it than ever! You really never know.

      The weather definitely has more people out – and who doesn’t want to enjoy real sunlight after this winter! But I think everything around Boston adds to the excitement for getting out there and running. Hey, whatever gets people moving is good by me!

  4. Great stuff! I used to go to Boston once a month for work. Love the city. Now that I run the marathon distance, I would love nothing more than to go back to watch the race, or better yet, run it!

  5. Oh, I love this post so much!! Especially because it shows the transition from your stages of judgment and almost running “elitism” to acceptance. You’re a great motivator, and such a great example to all of us to remember to love what we’re doing. Thank you!

    And yes – I was one of those people who hated running … until I loved it. It does happen!

    And last thing – if you don’t nail down a marathon sometime soon, I’m going to personally pick one out for you. You’re KILLING it with this mileage!

    • haha – you crack me up!

      I really hate to think of myself as judgmental … but I obviously was! It reminds me of growing up how my parents/relatives/friends would all poke fun at those who only went to church on Christmas and Easter – as if there was some attendance requirement to being a ‘real’ Catholic or whatever … as an adult I can see how foolish that attitude, but it obviously colored my views on other things.

      I definitely see my attitude as a maturity thing – I have a very strong will, so when I decide to do something, I do it. That has been true throughout my life – and certainly for weight loss both times it was true, and now running – heck, I just jump out of bed at 4AM ready to roll regardless of anything else. The maturity part is the realization that other people are different – and accepting that is OK!

      And as I say, my ‘second life of running’ has taught me that sometimes it doesn’t come all at once.

      As for a marathon, I know I’ve said it before, but it really isn’t a big deal for me. I’ll do a few races this year to be sure, thread them around college hunts for the kids, work stuff, family vacation, and on and on … For me, getting out on Saturday and doing that brutal 18.5 at (for me) a great pace was just an amazing time. I really don’t need races all that much, so they are nice – but whereas a race would have been all-day Saturday, I got a blog post done, a review for another site, an 18.5 miler, lunch with Lisa, vacuumed, dusted, polished the wood floors, final prep for Easter, pre-made Sunday brunch, picked up a few groceries, and had dinner ready to cook when Lisa came home for work πŸ™‚

  6. I was one of those who hated running. i started as an “on and off again” runner, just going a mile or two with lots of walk breaks.. running then was strictly for losing weight, so i never got the fun part until a few years later when i started running for different reasons. πŸ™‚

    • It is so funny looking at people we associate with as runners … who were once totally NON-runners. I can’t imagine if I hadn’t fallen in love with running 25 years ago .,.. and again two years ago!

  7. I love this post and couldn’t agree more. Running isn’t for everyone, but I really have to commend the people who give it a try or just enjoy it every once in a while, and there is nothing wrong with someone trying it and finding out it isn’t their thing.

    • So true Rachel – I applaud anyone who does ANYTHING to get out there and stay active. It isn’t easy, and with this ‘zero sum’ time world, time spent on exercise is lost to other things … making it even harder!

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