I fell in love with a running trail. It’s shady and cool, even on the most relentlessly sunny days. There’s a creek to cross by jumping across rocks. The trail changes from gravel to sand to stone and back again, and the hills are a good challenge. Chubby California voles scurry around, and on two occasions, I even saw them swimming in the creek. You might be all, “Ew! Rodents!” but they look like tiny teddy bears and watching them swim seemed magical. Every trail run felt like the kind of adventure I dreamed about as a little kid.
Once I found that trail, I never had a problem drumming up the motivation to go running. I had a problem with running too much, putting in miles and miles while the laundry piled up at home, and the grocery situation left me wondering if mustard soup might be good.
Unfortunately, a particularly unnerving encounter with a rattlesnake made me realize that when I’m running solo I need a running route with more people and/or better cell phone coverage.
I abandoned my beloved trail and began running on goose-poop covered pavement at a loud, busy park. Even though I know running makes my brain a nicer place, it stopped feeling like something I wanted to do, and turned into a chore. I was still putting in my miles, but I dragged my feet about getting myself out the door in the morning, and my running procrastination was starting to mess with my schedule. I worried running could quickly turn into something I used to do. I thought the physical and mental health benefits I get from running should be motivation enough, and I was disappointed in myself for losing steam.
I’ve been listening to EMOTIONAL AGILITY: GET UNSTUCK, EMBRACE CHANGE, AND THRIVE IN WORK AND LIFE, by Susan David, PhD, and happened to hit the chapter on motivation right when I needed it most. [Read more…]