Motivation to Move

What motivates you to get outside and explore? Who is the one person that is always there to give you that extra push to move? If you’re feeling lazy where do you go for a little inspiration? Is there a certain group of people you depend on to keep you accountable day in + day out?

What is your motivation to move!?

For me…I don’t have a quick answer. I don’t have one individual in my life that keeps me going, instead I have a whole passel of #runablers that are forever giving me a reason to try something new. I don’t have a single goal that gets me out the door every day, I have an entire range of mountains on the horizon full of single track just calling my name.

That is what keeps me going, what gives me a reason to get up at 4am for a training run, encourages me to eat ice cream instead of try to out run an injury, keeps me grounded when things get surreal and has me asking questions even if they seem stupid.

The People

I’m not exactly experienced enough to offer up much good trail running advice but if you asked me about the one thing I could not succeed without I only have one simple answer…the people in my life who are forever encouraging and supporting crazy ideas. Or, as I like to call them, my #runablers. People like Lynne, Marissa, Paula, Logan and Heather [and so many more!] who don’t hesitate to say “you’re crazy…let me help you survive the misery”.

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But it goes beyond my circle of friends and expands to people whose names I may never know, people I only recognize when they are in running attire and have a bib pinned to their shorts, people who sacrifice personal time and energy to help strangers with no expectations of reciprocation, people who offer up support and encouragement to their competitors because they understand what they’re going through. In the past year I’ve encountered a lot of people like this through the running community…both on the road and on the trail, during 5Ks and triple digit ultras distances, through Twitter, forums and friends of friends of friends.

It is this community that motivates me to get my butt outside to train, explore and give back. This community is an eclectic mix of strong wills, hot heads and inflated egos…but if you take the time to look past that you’ll find those willing to offer up endless encouragement, advice buried in personal experiences and daily doses of motivation. These are the people that make up the backbone of the community; the people I seek out when I need someone to say “well, I think you’re an idiot but let me help you prove us all wrong!” or “you’re totally capable of this…here’s my two cents, feel free to take it or leave it”.

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If you haven’t found this part of the community yet…don’t give up! Put yourself out there…take opportunities to run with others, show up for run groups at your local running store, jump into #runchat and #ultrachat conversations, read up on posts + ask questions in the Trail and Ultra Running Facebook group, humbly accept advice but take every single word as a grain of salt. It may seem overwhelming at first, trust me, I’ve been there – it’s nerve-racking to be the newbie in a group but you’ll never have a chance to experience this community as I know it without showing up and taking a chance!

The Mountains

You know those days when people are annoying, conversations are stupid and you feel inadequate + judged for every thought your brain forms? I can’t be the only person that occasionally has moments like this, right!? Or maybe this is weird problem that only I have? Regardless, this is when I know I need to escape…I need to get my country girl fix with a trip into the mountains where a cell signal cannot find me. This is when the mountains are a true motivator!

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Sure, the mountains are a great motivator on a daily basis…they are always on the horizon reminding me I need to be nice to my body so it can hike the winding trails and that I need to plan my workload wisely so I can escape to a trailhead for a little alone time on a regular basis. But it is knowing that, even with “life happens” at the most inconvenient times, the mountains will always be there just waiting for me to show up.

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It seems weird giving inanimate rock formations so much credit but I know they’ll be there when I need them and they will never judge me. They might chew me up and spit me out but they’ll never turn me away. Instead they’ll let me wander around, experience the best and worst of Mother Nature and return to the city with a new take on life and a refreshed understanding of priorities and personal purpose.

Are my motivations to move a little vague and far fetched? Well, I didn’t think so until I tried to explain them but their my motivators and I’m sticking to them! If you’re busy judging me for being crazy…come visit, I’ll show you how therapeutic a trip to the mountains can be and just how selfless the running community in Colorado is! But be careful what you wish for, you may end up moving to Colorado or impulse signing up for race!

PS – I do need to give credit where credit is due and say that my mother is a huge motivator! I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve done something crazy and thought “well, I can’t help that I’m my mother’s daughter…” and then called her with the story. I am the person I am today because of her and I truly hope she takes that as a compliment!

Disclaimer: The motivation to take a look at my own motivators and write this post came from Oscar Health Insurance, an health insurance provider in New York + New Jersey. They suggested this topic to me in correlation with Health Literacy Month. They are not compensating me for this post in any way, with apparel, gear or money…they simply provided a suggestion and I ran with it because it got me thinking! These truly are mot motives and if you can find something similar to get your tush outside for a little fun on the trails then…mission accomplished! 

Get Involved: Tommyknocker Ultras Volunteering

The past few months have revolved around running…but I haven’t always been the one with a bib pinned to my shorts! I have discovered that some of the best motivation and inspiration to get yourself outside for a run is to help others do the same. And the best way to do this?! Volunteer at a race! You’ll get to watch runners take on new distances, push the pace, turn an ultra around and just enjoy life. It makes you want to get out there yourself…but it’s also a reminder that running without fully recovering is a bad idea!

Just over a month ago I roped Marissa into volunteering at the Tommyknocker Ultras in Woodland Park, CO. I was a volunteer at this race by default – I had been working with Human Potential behind the scenes and I wanted to watch their first official race unfold. Since racing a 50K the weekend before Run, Rabbit, Run 100 would have been a terrible idea I showed up to volunteer instead. I knew the Race Director and most of his core crew personally so when I arrived with Marissa in tow the night before the race they didn’t hesitate to put us to work. Our first task? Rock hunting.

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Yup, rock hunting. We needed a rock for the start [the race was named after miners and there was an axe – the race would be started/finished with an axe into a rock]. We may have been in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains but there were NO rocks to be found! We actually had to drive a mile or so down the road and wrangle a rock from the woods. I kid you not. At the very least my poor Forester earned it’s keep that night!

The next morning we were all up bright and early to get everything ready for the 8am start. Marissa and I handled last minute check-ins then became the RD’s chauffeur once the race started. We headed out to check in on various aid stations and make sure the runners were not getting lost. The aid stations were doing great…but the runners were struggling with the course markings. Not so much because they weren’t there…but because a rather disgruntled landowner decided to re-route the race course! This homeowner didn’t want people running near his property, even though the course was on a very public forest service road. Rather than just suck it up and go about life like a grown adult this landowner chose to play with bright orange spray paint + marking tape and send the poor Tommyknocker runners all over the countryside!’

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…it was a beautiful countryside, but when you’re lost, thirsty and tired it’s easy to stop caring about the views!

At the end of the day the runners either ran a 25 miles or 40 miles…definitely not ideal. However, Human Potential and its crew gets kudos for jumping into action to do as much damage control as possible. Volunteers were sent out to remark the course and then run it in reverse to find racers and a roaming aid station was put into play to keep the redirected runners hydrated and fed. This was definitely a situation that could have been much worse – it was far from ideal for Human Potential’s first race but it did give Human Potential an opportunity to prove just how much they care about the runners.

As for my day?! I had a blast volunteering! I got to sleep in an open field, eat donuts for breakfast, snag handfuls of Jelly Belly’s from various aid stations, stay fueled with “vacation coffee”, spray paint a mini boulder bright orange, sprint through pouring rain and nom down on finish line BBQ. Worth the drive? You betcha! Will I be out to volunteer again? Of course!

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Up next with Human Potential? The Indian Creek Fifties in Sedalia on November 1st. Will I be there? You betcha, only this time I’ll be a runner! Marissa got the itch to take on an ultra while volunteering at the Tommyknocker Ultras so it’s only appropriate for her to have her first race over 13.1 miles go down with Human Potential, right?! Not up for running an ultra yet?! Come out and volunteer…you never know what you may talk yourself into!