What inspires you?  What gets you off the couch or out of bed and out the door with your workout clothes on?  What makes you go for a run when you really don’t feel like it?

Running has so many inspiring faces.  People who have overcome great odds to persevere in their sport and achieve great things.  I’ve met some of those people, read or heard about many others.  They all inspire me, but to be honest, theirs aren’t the faces I see when I get up for a pre-dawn run in the cold.  Those stories may get you started by realizing what a glorious gift you’ve been given in the ability to run, but they won’t necessarily sustain you for the long haul.  I call that the “clean your plate” inspiration.  You, remember, when you were little, your mother reminded you that there are children starving in Africa, so you should always clean your plate.  Never understood how my getting fat would help those kids, but there it is.  That type inspiration may get you started, but it will only take you so far.

So, what inspires you?  I read a lot, pray diligently, train smart, and still I have days when the desire is just not there. I have to dig deep to find it.  I’ll share some of the tools in my inspiration arsenal with you and maybe you can make some them your own.

I’m inspired by family.  My husband is in amazing shape and stays fit so that he can enjoy life.  He doesn’t do it for vanity, he does it so he can hike, swim, scuba dive, ride his dirt bike in races, and take care of his family.  He recently signed us and our 2 daughters up for a “Warrior Dash”.  We girls all know that he will probably kick our butts, but it certainly keeps us on our toes.  We have amazing vacations that take us to far reaching horizons, but which are extremely physical.  I want to be able to enjoy those things, and being fit is a huge part of that.

I’m inspired by failure.  A few years ago, on one of those amazing vacations to Puerto Rico, Gary and I were hiking up a mountain.  It was beautiful, a tropical rain forrest showcasing God’s handiwork.  But, I couldn’t do it.  The effort was too much, and we ended our hike way before we were able to enjoy it fully.  That day was a turning point for me.  I never want to have to turn around and go back down the mountain without reaching the mountain peak again.  Physically or spiritually.  I still fail with regularity, and each time, I’m inspired in a new way.  Unfortunately, God uses failures and mistakes to teach us life lessons.  Sure wish he would use success the same way.  But, the lessons I’ve learned the best, the ones that have stayed with me, were found in the throes of failure.

I’m inspired by others.  When I find my enthusiasm flagging, I pick up a running magazine or book.  I follow several bloggers who write motivational posts that encourage and sustain me.  While this may be a form of “clean your plate” inspiration, it works.  I love reading about older women who have come to the sport late in life and are still running marathons in their 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s.  While watching the senior Olympics recently (I know, I’m such a nerd), there was a woman runner who won her event who was 95.  Now, if you saw her on the street, you might have thought she was late 50’s at the most.   I want to be that old broad.  I’m over halfway there, after all.

At the NYC marathon, Asics did this cool thing where friends and family could write messages for you which would flash on a jumbotron triggered by your running chip when you ran by it.  I LOVED my messages, they made me laugh and cry and made me feel like my family and friends were right there with me.  I have to say, though, this was one of my favorites:

You see why I stay inspired?  Hope your running is inspired this week!

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