Motivation and progress

Much fun was had yesterday with a small shindig at home (a late afternoon BBQ) followed by a short stroll into town for a few weekend beers.  A great time with friends meant a somewhat lazy start to the day and a decision to postpone my normal Sunday morning long run until the afternoon.  This time the decision was not wholly fueled by procrastination, but by the fact that it was probably better to allow a few extra hours of rehydration and detoxification!

The decision to postpone may have been sound but didn’t do anything to make the run any easier.

I’ve taken to listening to podcasts on my long runs in the vain effort to take my mind off the running and for the last few weeks I have been listening to the best bits of Rhod Gilbert’s Saturday morning Radio Wales show.  I love comedy and Rhod’s ramblings are inspired!  A debate about whether, if only one Chuckle Brother is present, do they fail to be recognised (in the same way as the philosophical whimsy that is “if a tree falls with no-one to hear it, does it make a sound”) made the first couple of kilometres easy-going.

Encouraging his flat mate and fellow Welsh comedian, Lloyd Langford, to apply for vacant Channel 4’s Countdown at the same time as attempting to become the new Honey Monster had me laughing out loud but at 4km my legs were hurting so much that I had to pause for a stretch.  Rhod’s musings of “Celebrity-out-of-context Bingo” unfortunately proved powerless and at 6km I again found myself stationary, thinking I might even struggle to reach 10km.  I was not amused.

I don’t like failing.

I was now oblivious to the podcast.  Instead all my concentration was shared between physically putting one foot in front of the other and mentally trying to find the motivation to continue.  Thankfully, the whole “left-right-left-right” thing comes naturally to me.  And when it comes to motivation I don’t have to look too far.

Firstly, I have my current fundraising challenge – I have to continue to say thank you to my current donors and to hopefully encourage more people to help raise funds for Maggie’s Cancer Centres to enable them to help more people who are touched by cancer.

Secondly, I have my own, slightly selfish, goal of satisfying my competitive spirit in trying to get to a point where I can beat my 10k PB.

And thirdly (and never before has the saying “and last but not least” held more significance), I remind myself that there are far greater things that some people have to endure than a bit of running.

My mind rewinds to just over 2 years ago, just a few months before the date for our planned wedding.  Memories of being asked to join The Fiancee (as she was then) so we could be told together that she had breast cancer, waiting nervously for her return from surgery, watching her having to go through weeks of chemotherapy, trying desperately to dissipate her nerves every time she has a follow-up appointment are all to0 easily recalled.  The Wife (as she is now, following a slightly postponed wedding), had to endure so much more than I can ever imagine that blows my running into insignificance.  Through it all her positivity was inspiring and helped me to remain strong for her.

It is all of this that flooded my body with renewed energy, the determination driving me on, helping me to go from stationary at 6km to completing a respectable 12km training run.

As I write this post I recall a piece of advice we were given two year’s ago by The Wife’s old boss:

“don’t focus on what you fail to achieve, but the things you have achieved”

Which gives me a hearty slap round the face and a wake-up call.  So I had to stop twice while out on my run today, so what.  I tell myself to look at what I have achieved in my latest bout of running:

I’ve clocked up 176km in just over 10 weeks.  I’ve never done that before.

I’ve run three 10k runs in 5 days in Central Park.  I’ve never done that before.

I’ve run 13km without stopping.  I’ve never done that before.

And today, I’ve run for the fifth day in succession.  I’ve never done that before.

It’s all progress.

I have an amazing wife, a lovely house, a good job and a great hobby that is running.  That’s all the motivation I need.  I am truly a very lucky man.

Thanks for reading, it’s been a bit heavier than I had intended my blog to be but just seemed right for today.


8 thoughts on “Motivation and progress”

  1. What a great piece of advice – thinking about what you’ve not done only makes you depressed! Well done on getting our there today when the legs were flagging!

  2. Running is so good for giving time with our thoughts, put things in perspective and realise how much we are capable of doing. Mind over matter! (most of the time.)

  3. Dan, I’ve spent most of my adult life in HM Forces, and when i see the motivation and sheer determination of the blokes who overcome horrendous injury sustained in service, and be able to walk and even run again, it shows just what can be achieved when we really really want to.
    Your achievements are amazing, and you obviously have the strength to do even more. Top man!

  4. I love this post, so often we forget that there are others enduring more than we can imagine. Well done on running 5 days in a row too!

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