This is, of course, quite fine with me and something that I can completely understand. The lure of the silver belt buckle and the first 100-mile finisher’s medal has been a part of the sport for decades. However, for me, especially as I have spent more and more time in the sport, I find increasing motivation in intrinsic rewards. I increasingly find myself more driven by those parts of running that are on the inside and only visible to me. In fact, the more I evolve as a runner, this notion of running from the inside out resonates with me.
I initially came to this sport as many others have. I wanted to lose a little weight, stay fit, and get outside. After a little while, I learned about proper training and ultimately racing. And for me, along this journey, I learned that the longer the race, the better. The process and the product in those early years were inseparable to me as each year built on the last and my desire for self-improvement became almost an addiction. After a decade or so, however, I came to realize that running gave me so much more. In addition to satisfaction and confidence, running also built up in me something on the inside that deserved tending, that inner peace that only comes from running from the inside out.
Along with many others, I too have assembled a plan for my year. It is full of fun events, long training weekends, and occasional road trips. It has me heading to places where I’ve never been and facing a challenge or two I have never faced. Yet, in contrast to those years gone by, this year I am motivated by what’s on the inside. This year I am inspired by what I feel in my body, heart, and possibly my soul. And, while I don’t exactly know what that means, I do know that in these early days of the year, when I am slowly accruing the miles and the frequency to become fit again, each time I head out for a run the dialogue with myself gets louder, more complex, and even deeper.
And so, friends, in these early dawn days of the new year, whether your goals are external for all to see or inside and yours alone, I urge you to take the time and make the space to listen hard to your insides. Feel those voices that rise up as you pound out the miles and maybe, just maybe, along with the essential satisfaction of being a runner, you may also find that something more that not only makes running what we do but also who we are.
AJW’s Beer of the Week
Call for Comments (from Meghan)
- What are your major motivations for running and/or racing?
- From where do those motivations originate? Do external drivers compel you forward? Internal goals? A combination of both?