What motivates me to get active? First and foremost, a tangible goal. Whether it’s your first 5K, a half ironman or a marathon there is nothing like setting a goal, training for it and achieving success. It provides a sense of accomplishment and pride. No need for anyone else to pat you on the back. Crossing the finish line after months of training is proof enough of a job well done. It doesn’t matter that I’ve never won a race or been on the podium. What is important is that I’m out there doing it, which is a lot more than many others can say.
So what helps me get up before dawn to train for events? Well, honestly, a lot of self talk while I’m lying in bed. It usually goes something like this: “Sarah, get up. You know you’ll feel better after you get your workout in. Five more minutes of the snooze button isn’t going to make a difference. Get up. Get UP! GET-OUT-OF-BED!” Once up, I really rely on music to get me going. Loud music. My work out music playlist is eclectic and some would say, I’m sure, dated. But go ahead and tell me when you hear “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor in the middle of a long run you wouldn’t smile. Tell me you wouldn’t pick up that pace just a little bit more and pretend you are about to enter the ring with Mr. T or cross the finish line in Kona. I’ve also been known to belt out Guns n Roses while running and have taught my daughter the chorus to Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory”. What can I say? Cheesy music gets me going.
And that is exactly where I found myself this morning. Yelling at myself to get out of bed and go run. To continue with my training for this goal I set for myself back in October. But this morning, it was a little bit more emotional for me than usual. The explosions at the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15th, shook me more than I expected.
Yesterday, the day after the event, I got up and got in the pool no problem and then ran on the treadmill, numb to the non-stop media coverage in front of me of what happened in my hometown. Everyone I knew who was running was safe. I had the day off from work and wasn’t affected by the emergency protocol set into place at the hospital. I was fine. My family was fine. Except that I’m not fine. I am sad. I’m scared. I’m worried about the future. And I’m mad. Much has been written in the past two days about the meaning of Patriot’s Day and the Boston Marathon to us Bostonians, and I won’t attempt to re-write what’s already in print. Instead, I will say that when I finally got out to the end of my driveway this morning, put on my loud, cheesy music and went for a run, what motivated me more than anything was an overwhelming sense of community. I am a native of the Common wealth of Massachusetts, work in the city of Boston, years ago experienced first hand the crowds lining Boylston St. encouraging even the back-of-the-pack bandit runners like me towards the finish line. To not get up and go for a run on such a beautiful New England spring morning would be to let the bad guys win; and I just can’t let that happen. Cue up Survivor. Rocky. “Risin’ up, back on the street…” Cheesy? Cliché? Yes, but I ran. And I may have been imagining it, but I swear all the other runners I saw this morning smiled a bit bigger, nodded with more intention and gave off a sense of solidarity I’ve never noticed before.
What I’ve always known, but tend to forget sometimes in the busyness of life, is that running, biking and swimming are also good for my mental health. Clearly this morning’s run was a cathartic and healing experience for me. Still saddened by the events of earlier in the week, I am now able to deal with that grief and get back to my daily life. Score 1 more for the good guys.