Little Bits of Inspiration

Bryon Powell writes of finding little bits of inspiration to jumpstart his running.

By on July 8, 2020 | 1 comment

Sure there are those who will read this who have found extra time or motivation to run these past three or four months. Good on ya! Likewise, I’m sure there are a slew of you who’ve had a tougher than usual getting out to run in the volume, manner, and places that you’d like. I’ll admit to being firmly amongst the latter camp. That’s no woe-is-me admission. I’m generally and, in this case, particularly at peace with lulls in my running even if I prefer their alternative. That’s why I’m psyched that over the past couple of weeks I’ve collected various bits of inspiration that have at least temporarily put some wind in the sails of my running. I share some of these bits of inspiration below.

Recently, I logged a pair of runs with good friend Andy Jones-Wilkins. He’s already written about the second of these two runs, but both were a gift. Not only because catching up with AJW and having the sort of deep, reflective conversations best had with a long-time friend are amazing, but also because the company made me accountable in meeting up for two non-trivial runs as well as easing the mental load within the runs themselves with chatter, both fun and philosophical.

AJW - Little Giant

AJW atop Dives-Little Giant Pass.

This entire past week the To The Moon Virtual Relay helped give me a boost. I know I helped organize it, but it honestly helped me basically double my average weekly mileage for the past three months of roughly 35 miles per week to 70 miles last week. Setting a goal for myself, making that goal public, and being part of a communal effort all helped in the effort. Come to think of it, the last long run I’d gone on prior to last week was the Yo Corro en Casa virtual event back in March. However silly it might be, being part of a virtual event motivated me in both instances.

Troutman Attempt Stickie

The Troutman stickie note on my computer desktop.

With any sort of organized in-person racing off my calendar for the foreseeable future, I’d also been lacking any challenges or goals with enough oomph to get me over the hump from short daily runs to the sort of runs necessary to prepare for bigger challenges and goals as well as the random sort of awesome adventures this accompanying fitness and confidence allow for. Well, upon my own reflection and with the encouragement of running-performance consultant Neal Palles, I wrote down a challenging adventure and put an attempt-by date on it. That challenge is attempting “Troutman,” an eccentric, marathon-length, 4,000-feet-of-climbing running/fishing adventure, by July 8. As I write this, that deadline is two days out… which is why I hope I’ll be out attempting Troutman tomorrow.

Speaking of fishing, I’ve been occasionally combining it with my running for a few years now. Here in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, fly-fishing season kicks off late with the high alpine lakes frozen and the streams and rivers flowing fast and cold well into June. However, the fishing’s gone from awful to amazing over the past couple weeks and it’s inspired me and my running. Over the past week or so, I’ve run a couple hours out to one of my favorite fishing spots as well as another run up to one I wanted to check out for the first time. I caught some amazing fish at the former and nothing at the latter, but the pair are my two longest runs since March and both were enjoyable as runs in their own right.

El Rio Grande del Norte

One of my favorite run-to fishing spots.

While less a reason to get out and run and more of a positive reinforcement when I am out there, I’ve loved the transition from late-spring to early-summer wildflowers here in the San Juans. For months now, it seems like I spot a new species flowering at least every other run while getting to enjoy my favorites over the span of weeks depending on where I run. Just this week, the larkspur, monkshood, and high alpine sunflowers have gotten into the action. I can hardly wait to see what I spot next!

Stony Pass Sunnies

Sunflowers on Stony Pass mean summer!

Call for Comments

  • Have you had difficulty running in the ways that you’d like over the past few months?
  • Have you… or could you collect little bits of inspiration to help you move to some more satisfying running?
Bryon Powell

Bryon Powell is the Editor-in-Chief of iRunFar. He’s been writing about trail running, ultrarunning, and running gear for 15 years. Aside from iRunFar, he’s authored the books Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running, been a contributing editor at Trail Runner magazine, written for publications including Outside, Sierra, and Running Times, and coached ultrarunners of all abilities. Based in Silverton, Colorado, Bryon is an avid trail runner and ultrarunner who competes in events from the Hardrock 100 Mile just out his front door to races long and short around the world, that is, when he’s not fly fishing or tending to his garden.