{Motivation Monday-It’s Marathon Week}

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So much power in just a few words. Since it is marathon week I’m not sure Ryan and I need a lot of motivation. The anticipation and anxiety for a first marathon is all you need to carry you to the end of race week. Even thought it is not my first it honestly feels like it is. I’m heading to bed to make sure I get plenty of rest this week, but stay tuned to hear more about how we are preparing all the final details for the big day.

Happy Monday!

{Motivation Monday-Boston Marathon}

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Image from Boston Magazine

This morning I’m busy watching, remembering, dreaming, and hoping along with the running community at today’s Boston Marathon (by TV). Congrats and way to go to those of you running-you earned it! You should be so proud to have gotten to that start line today! I then plan to run my own little Boston strong run because today WE finish the race!

Happy Patriot’s Day!

Wisconsin Marathon Training post coming this afternoon!

{Motivation Monday-Create adventures for yourself!}

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This morning as I’m enjoying a little late start to the day due to an unexpected snow day, I just can’t calm the happiness I feel about yesterday’s run. I was so sick of running the same boring routes in my community that it was making me not look forward to my long runs. I simply felt uninspired and bored with the routes. Having also not ran a race yet this year (crazy for me!) I needed something different. Then I came up with an idea that is not so new to me, but easily forgotten-go run somewhere different.

We had originally planned a route that was at a state park about an hour away, but with the inches of rain we were receiving we were not sure what the conditions of the trails would be like and with youth turkey hunting taking place in the park, I wasn’t so sure that would be entirely safe either. Instead the husband and I drove to a nearby city that has miles upon miles of running trails, bike paths, and scenic routes. We visited the city we fell in love in, partied the weekends away in, and hiked the trails of-La Crosse. We thought up a route Saturday night that would highlight some of our favorite spots and running trails.

Sunday morning I woke up excited to run the distance with butterflies in the stomach mixed with some dread (22 miles-eek!) It would be both of our longest training runs. I’ve never ran more than 20 miles training for my previous marathons. Had I not signed up for a 50k I probably would have stopped at 20. I commented to Ryan that it was like we were on a little adventure. We approached the looming 22 miles as just that-an adventure. There would be miles that didn’t feel great, that we would get annoyed with each other, and there would also miles where we would be laughing and smiling.

The route would take us 22 miles out and back and out and back. For those of you who might ever get the chance to run La Crosse these are all great routes below. You could do the whole thing or run a section or two. We parked at Menard’s because it is near the La Crosse marsh trails entrance and in the middle of our planned route. We ran the La Crosse marsh trails to part of the Hixon Forest Trails (here we had to turn around as melting ice and water created an impassable area).  I mentioned to Ryan while we were running through the marsh trails that it was just what I needed.  The sounds of ducks, birds, frogs.  The sights of water, trees, bluffs, and dirt trails.  My heart felt full and content.  I was at peace with the nature around. Our nature run then took us to the UW-La Crosse campus, past our old apartments to Cass Street where we enjoyed the big beautiful houses before turning around and repeating our route for the most part.

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Click to enlarge!

At this point we were back at the car, eleven miles in, to quickly refuel. We then headed out on the La Crosse River Trail in the opposite direction leading us to Riverside Park which borders the Mississippi, past some of our favorite restaurants/bars, to the Cass Street Bridge where we crossed the Mississippi for the first time, to Pettibone Park where we looped around, before heading back onto the sidewalk leading us into Minnesota. Once meeting up with the welcome to Minnesota sign we headed back to our vehicle skipping the Pettibone Park loop. I saw so many runners out doing their weekend long runs.  We didn’t talk or exchange conversation, but you can usually just tell a runner on their long run.  There was a camaraderie to the whole thing-us runners out doing our long runs on a Sunday morning.

As the Garmin chimed 22 miles (oh, how I love the sound of that chime EVERY time) we high-fived each other and smiled.  People in the Menard’s parking lot gave us weird looks as the rain came down, but we didn’t care.  We both felt strong at the conclusion of our run and I believe the scenery and change in routes has almost everything to do with it. I mean we were running half the miles (11!) in the rain and it didn’t even phase us much. Part of the fun was also knowing we were going out to eat somewhere local for a meal and a drink after the run.

Our running adventure was just what I needed to love the long run again. So many of them have been just okay. Nothing exciting, got the miles in, and survived to run again. When it comes to running and why I love it though, this wasn’t making the cut. I wanted to love the long run, to get the sense of adventure back, to feel like the explorer I love to be. This long run reminded me that I have complete control over where the long run takes me. I don’t have to run the same routes in town. There are plenty of unexplored trails, routes, bike paths, roads, etc. just an hour away in any direction, but it’s up to me to create my own adventures.

You can bet my upcoming long runs will not be boring or follow the same routes.  I’ve found my exploring spirit again and I can’t wait to see what else is out there. I’m already anxiously planning where to complete my next long runs.  What new trails can I visit?  What city can be explored?  Let’s be adventurous. When will you create adventures for yourself?

Happy Monday!

{Motivation Monday-Why you should not skip a run!}

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So instead of telling you why you should run this week, I’m simply reminding you of how you will feel if you don’t. In the end not running will fill you with regret, sadness, and most likely more stress. Last Wednesday I did the whole make excuses and waver back and forth thing. I decided not to run, then decided to go, before deciding not to go. Then realizing if I’d had gone when I first thought about running, I’d almost be back sent me over the edge. I was a crying mess and I spent the night feeling guilty. The decision could have been so easy, but I chose to complicate things. Quit trying to talk yourself out of it. Stop the regret. Don’t let guilt fill your night. Just go run! You’ll be so glad you did!

Happy Monday!

{Motivation Monday-Favorites from Spirit of the Marathon II}

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I hope you all had a great weekend. Yesterday Ryan and I watched Spirit of the Marathon II to psych ourselves up for our long runs. It was great, I teared up, I would watch it again. As I was watching I kept track of comments and quotes that stuck with me. Here they are to motivate you this Monday morning.

#1-“There are no easy marathons.” I would totally agree. No matter if you’re running your first marathon or your 100th I don’t think any of them will be easy-not in my experience. 26.2 miles can be so humbling

#2-“One of the best ways to see a city is to run it.” This is why so many of my vacations revolve around races. I can think of no better way to truly see and explore a city than to run its streets, trails, bridges, paths, and roads.

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#3-“You have to give 100% all the time.” If you have a goal or a dream, then you must give 100% to it or you won’t achieve it. Simple.

#4-“You go through this pain and suffering, but you feel you are stronger than when you started.” A person’s description of the last miles of the marathon. Their thoughts are so spot on. It hurts, but yet you’ve never felt stronger.

#5-“You roll this stick on your legs and it hurts like hell. It’s great. You roll your body on this foam and it hurts like hell. It’s so great.”
Foam rolling is a bitch…but in a hurt so good way.

#6-“[In the 1970’s] people thought if women ran (long distances) their legs will get big, they’ll grow hair on their chest, there uterus will fall out, and they’ll sweat in public which is unfavorable. Today there are more woman runners than men.” Go figure! I can say that I’ll take my more muscular legs, I’ve experienced no chest hair growth, I still have my uterus, and sweating is awesome. There are so many advantages and benefits to running. Get out there and screw the naysayers!

#7-“Life is a journey. You can either be a spectator or you can live it. The marathon is the greatest analogy to life.” Get out and run your journey.

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#8-“Running is my time. I don’t think about the future or the past. It becomes meditative.”
I’ve always felt like running was for me.

#9-“Running is my religion.” Running is always there for you, rejuvenates the soul, and can be shared with those around you. It is great for the soul!

Happy Monday!

{Motivation Monday-100 Happy Days}

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Life always seems to fly by at such a crazy pace. The days pass by in a blur, moments go unnoticed, and often it feels like I didn’t take time to enjoy what the day had to offer. Moments of happiness, joy, contentment, and laughter can be found in each day, but we have to make time for them-something I fail to do too often.

Starting today I’m making a point to set aside a few moments each day to celebrate something to be happy about for the next 100 days. The 100 Happy Days Challenge will not always be easy. Some days are filled with happy moments while others can be overlooked. Some days it is easy to forget all the good things we have in our lives.  The advantages to taking on this challenge are numerous, and we could all use a little slowing down and smelling the roses.

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Running also has many mental facets and challenges. Training the mind to see things in a more positive way can benefit you on your next difficult run, speed session, or bonked race. Join me in my 100 day happy challenge! You can follow my 100 days of happy on Instagram (#100happydays), too.  What do you have to lose?

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And a little something to get your Monday started in a happy direction…

Happy Monday!