Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Rewarding


Running is rewarding.

I'm not talking about bling, although I will admit that it is a great feeling to have a medal placed around your neck after running a half or a full marathon. But I don't run for the bling.

I'm not talking about physical fitness, although at 52, it's pretty awesome to be in the best shape of my life. Not to mention being able to eat all the food!

I run for the reward of that feeling of accomplishment of setting a goal and meeting that goal.

I run for the reward of learning how to push myself when I don't feel like I can take another step.

I run for the reward of knowing that in the end, I gave it my all and did my best. Because I don't do anything half-assed--on or off the road.

There's no reward in giving up, in quitting.

"'Cause sometimes you just feel tired, Feel weak, and when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up. But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength. And just pull that shit out of you and get that motivation to not give up. And not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse." 
-Eminem 'Till I Collapse
Yes, this song is on my running playlist. I find motivation wherever I can.


They say the joy is in the journey. And that's true. But there is no sweeter feeling than crossing the finish line.

Achieving those goals isn't easy. I don't know about your training, but my training is tough.


I run 4 days a week. When I'm training for a race, one of those days is speedwork. Another day is a long run. The other 2 days are "just" a run. There's some reward during the training too. Like that day 4 weeks ago, when I blew my speedwork out of the water. I finished in the pouring rain but when I looked at my splits, I felt like the sun was shining on me. Was that speedwork session a fluke? Apparently not, because I've had 2 more just like it. And I'm seeing that speed on the road too. Getting faster? That's rewarding.

It might not look like it, but I was pretty miserable in this picture.
I work with a CrossFit coach one day a week. Only one day? That workout is so tough, I have to take a rest day the next day. Right now we're finishing up interval training. Soon we'll be back into a heavy lifting cycle, where she has me lift obscene amounts of weight, all in the name of firing the glutes. Last week's workout was so hard, I wanted to quit. But what is the reward in that? The reward is in pushing myself to finish a really hard workout. The rewards come later, on the road.

A few years ago, I couldn't complete a half marathon without taking walk breaks. I couldn't imagine running 13.1 miles without stopping to catch my breath. After I started cross training with Becky, I developed more endurance. In September 2013, I ran my first half marathon without stopping. It wasn't a PR, but finishing that race so strong was so rewarding. That race felt so much better to me than the one I ran 2 years before and PR'd--but stopped 3 times. And now? Not only am I rewarded by running a half marathon straight through, I'm running them fast and achieving PRs. That's rewarding.


Running 26.2 without stopping to walk? Unimaginable. Until last fall. Besides redeeming myself by running the race I knew I had in me, I paced it well and only stopped once to use the portapotty and to fill my water bottles every hour. Oh, and give a few hugs to spectators. That finish? Talk about rewarding....

The race I ran this past weekend, where I went out too fast and could have crashed and burned? I dug deep and pulled out some mental strength I didn't know I had. Battled through nausea and tired legs. Shut down those voices that told me to walk, the ones that were telling me "I can't". Finishing strong and never giving up--that was my reward.

Oh and feeling good enough to drink a beer at the finish line? Icing on the cake. Yep, that's rewarding too!


That's why I run. For the rewards.



Why do you run?

I'm linking this post up with several linkups. Normally I don't but the themes overlapped! The theme for this post was so well timed for me...who knew?

Tuesdays on the run with MCM mama, Run the Great Wide Somewhere, and My No-Guilt Life all want to know: why do you run?












Deb Runs is hosting Wednesday Word. What is rewarding to you?












And my ladies Diatta and Sheila host Workout Wednesday! Go over to their blogs to see what everyone is saying!

79 comments :

  1. woot woot! Another awesome post :-) You must be in sync with me (imagine that!), because all I can think about are finish lines and persistence. I'll probably never do Boston, but I certainly can live off the adrenaline from watching it. High-5 to you!!

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    1. Thanks! Yep, we seem to channel each other, don't we? :D

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  2. So true! Running is rewarding and doesn't let you get away with shortcuts!

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    1. And it spills over into your everyday life as well!

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  3. So well written. And I am right there with you. Running, and running smart--it just helps you blow your own darn mind, you know what I mean?

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  4. I have to say the feeling of accomplishment is what got me hooked on running!

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  5. Well said! I love following your running journey, it is such an inspiration! Training is hard work, and you always seem to have a smile on your race. The rewards are amazing!

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    1. Well, when all is said and done--I just love to run!

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  6. There is nothing quiet like the sense of achievement I get when I cross the finish line - that's what I focus on when I'm plodding along.
    BTW, you look very fresh crossing that finish line!!

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  7. Love this! It's so true, there are SO many rewards to running. Every time we find little challenge and overcome them you feel such a sense of accomplishment.

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  8. I LOVE this!! You are so inspiring, and I love this message of not just running to be fit or get a medal. I run because it clears my head, it makes me feel alive, and it's a great challenge both mentally and physically. I love going for gentle, easy runs and I love pushing myself to reach new personal records. Running is freedom, a chance to explore your surroundings free of life's stresses.

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    1. Actually, the medal is just the icing on the cake!

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  9. Not only for the reasons you've mentioned, Wendy, but also for the wonderful running community that keeps me going when I'm down and keeps me inspired and motivated to do more; folks like you have been instrumental in helping me to see that I can get where I want to go if I stick with my plan and see the big picture. Thank you!

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  10. Heck yes on the rewards! There is truly no better feeling than seeing progress after all of the lengthy training efforts! It is always amazing to see how far we've come, both literally and figuratively, with our running and our fitness. It really is true that the only thing that holds us back from achieving our goals is ourselves. LOVE that picture of you from the Chicago Marathon - you look so happy!!!

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  11. I love this! Great post :) It's so true, it's the journey, knowing what you have accomplished that is the true reward. I ran my best half marathon back in November and I just loved how I felt! I was sad when it was done, i wish I would have been able to capture that moment and feeling and take it with me. My race this weekend was a bit more challenging and I caved and walked, but I still enjoyed the journey, not sad at all I did it!

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    1. There should never be any regrets! We gain something from every run, every race.

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  12. Those post-race endorphins that last two days later are one of the reasons I run! :)

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    1. I think I rode the wave from last years' marathon for about 3 months!

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  13. Running is hard but it definitely has its payoff. You get out what you put in. Love that Eminem song. It always "pulls the shit" out of me.

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    1. Doesn't it just make you push a little harder?

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  14. Awesome job on your accomplishments! I'm actually re-evaluating why I run. I'm taking a step back from 'racing' for a bit and finding a new reason to run at the moment... just for the joy of running ...

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    1. I'm actually looking forward to "just running"--I have a race in 2 weeks and after that it's rest time.

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  15. Congrats on all your achivements!!! I run for my sanity!

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    1. Oh, as the mom of teenage boys, I totally run for my sanity.

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  16. I've achieved a lot in my life, but you're right - there's little as rewarding as a hard fought finish line. :)

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  17. Wow that hopping up onto a block while holding a barbell looks so hard! I'm glad the cross-training is helping you without injuring you. I just did S.T.A.R.S which is our skating association's off-ice fitness testing. It has me thinking more about doing off-ice cross-training!

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    1. My coach watches me like a hawk so there's no injuring. The cross training has benefitted me more than I ever imagined!

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  18. Running is rewarding for so many reasons. The sense of personal accomplishment is one of the best feelings.

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  19. I run because its meditative, allows me to be competitive in a healthy way, and keeps me fit. I agree that the I love feeling that sense of personal accomplishment. I don't usually feel that in other things I do, so running is really special to me.

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    1. I get a lot of personal satisfaction from my job, but it just isn't the same as the feeling I get from running.

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  20. You have come so far and that is amazing! I feel like I've gotten pretty stagnant and I need to up the anty a bit. I run for the same rewards. Just setting a goal and accomplishing it is an amazing feeling. I also love being a great role model for the boys. I just love when I come home and they ask me how my run was and how far I went. I love that they want to go out and run too!

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    1. I don't think you're stagnant--you had a huge goal, finishing that Paris marathon and you did! My boys used to want to run--but sadly, they've outgrown all that. My youngest is super active in other sports and I love the way he pushes his limits too.

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    2. I just mean in terms of making progress on marathon time. Paris doesn't count, but I really am hoping for some big gains for the fall.

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  21. Such an inspiring post! My speed and fitness are down and my weight are up from this time last year and I'm finding it tough to find the mental fortitude to push as hard as I need to on the run to get my speed back up. This is exactly what I needed to read today! I remember that feeling of pulling some strength out for that final push even when I want to walk! Thanks for linking up with us today!

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  22. Very well said! After looking at your photos I had to go back to see if I remembered correctly...YES, you said 52?! Okay, I may hate you just a teeny bit!! You look amazing!

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    1. You just made me LOL for real! That 60 year old really inspired me. Yep, who's old?

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  23. I run for me. Plain and simple...it's the ONE thing in my life that is mine, and mine alone. And despite the juggle I have to do every day to get my running in between work, kids, activities for the kids, the house, the hubby (see a pattern here), I STILL get out there at lest 3 times each week for ME. <3

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  24. For My Sanity -- To Prove I Can -- Because I Can -- I'm Addicted to The Sweat...

    I could go on and on. I get teary-eyed in races sometimes thinking about it Sunday was so tough. My buddy Valerie finished not far behind me and I cried for HER because I knew what a tough race we had just finished and how she suffered through it with horrible IT issues. It moves me.

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    1. Sometimes those tough races are the ones that bring us back for more. Because we know what we're made of!

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  25. I run because I can. Even when I hate it and I'm frustrated with it I like the running me better than the non-running me. I've toyed with abandoning the run and triathlon and focusing on cycling only but I just can't get my head around that. I've worked to heard to make the progress I have just to give it up. Thank for the post, and Til I Collapse is on all my workout playlists :)

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    1. I have to say I never hate running, but there are days that I just don't want to go. I do love cycling and I'm looking forward to doing some more of that in a couple of weeks when I'm on a break!

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  26. Great post! And I'm totally jealous of the speed gains - not that I've done anything lately that could lead to speeding up...

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    1. You've got different goals with all those marathons coming up...I'd be working on endurance, not speed!

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  27. I love this post....I run to keep my head clear....to maintain my sanity...to breathe....

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  28. It's THAT feeling Wendy. That's why we do it!

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  29. You are so inspiring!! I know I will think of this the next time I have to dig deep in a workout! I love that you recognize that training is difficult, but rewarding. I think so many people think running comes naturally or is easy for folks that train like this! Thanks for being so honest!!

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    1. It is never easy. But it's so worth it, right?

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  30. It is pretty rewarding indeed to be in such great shape as you age. You are quite the inspiration! I love reading about all of your races.

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  31. I love this! Running has been so rewarding for me, too, for so many years - so many firsts, PR's and distances that I never dreamed of running. Last year's racing season was one of my best ever, and at 56 years old, that was rewarding! Thanks for linking up!

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    1. I love to hear that! And thank you for hosting. What a great link up!

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  32. awesome and inspiring! I feel like I am in my best shape ever but I know I can do and be better! I'm a little nervous about the half on Saturday- did I prepare enough? You will pop in my head for sure, WWWD? what would Wendy do? I am going to dig deep sister!

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    1. You are hilarious! WWWD? I worked with a doctor named Jaye, and I always used to ask myself, WWJD?

      Yep, gotta dig deep! It doesn't always feel good when you're doing it, but after--woo hoo!

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  33. I love the reasons you run - I run for some of those same rewarding feelings!! I ran competitively all the way through college but I'm actually running faster and stronger now (at 45) than I ever did - rewarding for sure!!!

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    1. I think we get smarter about it as we get older? Maybe?

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  34. I love the Eminem song, too -- it's one of those that can fire you up when you need it. Great post!

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  35. I run to keep balance in my life. Running grounds me! I also love having a challenge. You have certainly pushed yourself to be a stronger runner! So awesome!

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    1. I'm so happy with the rewards from all this hard work!

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  36. I run because it changed my life... sounds a little cheesy and a little cliche but I don't even care.
    I love this post (that first quote is great... "YOU are your reward" - - awesome).

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    1. Oh yes, running changed my life. Not cheesy at all! Truth!

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  37. This post is on fire and no you don't look miserable. I want to be like YOU....when I turn 52 in 7 years to be in the BEST shape of my life and having folks younger and older looking at me trying to figure out how to do it too. It's all very simple in theory but takes strong willpower. Happy to hear you didn't quit your workout. I have days like that too where I just want to sit down and whine and kick like a child but I end up sucking it up and rolling my eyes at my coach. #wowlinkup

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    1. My motto is "who's old?" I had a really hard time turning 50 and I decided to make this decade my best. I did a lot of research and started working with a coach. Best thing I could have done. I could not be happier where I'm at. Now, If I can get the teenage drama under control, I'd be thrilled!

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  38. Wow Wendy! Hats off to you. There are not a lot of women your age who can finish a marathon without breaks. You posts are so motivational. Look forward to more tip and tricks from you.

    Amy
    http://sixpackmommy.com

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    1. Aww! I guess I'm learning that age isn't anything more than a number. I'm having fun proving everyone wrong!

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