Tag Archives: motivation

Keep running! You’re doing great!

I’m always looking to help out, to pass along a little positivity wherever I can. Like when I’m running a race. I get it, you’re not in great shape, maybe this is your first 10k or whatever, so I’ll give you some support. You’ll see me right before, I’ll be the one doing practice laps across the starting line. And I’ll give you a high five. I’ll tell you, “Good luck out there! You’re going to do great! Just keep going! Don’t forget, don’t give up, because I believe in you!”

2010 Clarendon Day 5K & 10K

It’s a nice gesture, giving people a little motivation, maybe a few pre-race tips. I like to find runners beforehand that I can kind of tell haven’t really had too much race experience, I give them helpful hints like, “Make sure you’re striking the ground with the front of your foot instead of the heel! This is going to help your knees in the long run, trust me, I’ve been running for years! I’ve ran thirty-eight marathons! I’m training for an ultra right now!”

You might need a little boost, I carry all of these energy gel-packs in my running fanny-pack. Do you want one? I can give you one. Save it for about a quarter of the way through, and then down the whole thing. Just try not to litter, OK? You really shouldn’t litter during a race. You know what? I’ll probably have crossed the finish line already, and so if you see me running backwards along the racecourse, you can just hand me the trash, I’ll throw it away for you.

That’s another thing that I do, when I finish, I like to immediately turn around and start cheering on everyone else who hasn’t finished yet. It’s great, you might be struggling, each step getting progressively harder, you’re sweating, out of breath, and then you see me, I look like I haven’t even broken a sweat. You’ll get inspired, you’ll think, wow, that guy right there is living proof that anybody can do this.

Anybody that dedicates themselves to my level of training, of course. But you could do that. It’s possible. And you, and you too. That’s what I’m thinking when I’m cheering you on, “Go for it!” I’ll always say. Or another good one is, “Keep going! You can do it!” and I can just tell by the pained expressions on people’s faces that they want to quit right there, that you don’t want to keep going, like you feel like you can’t do it, so I encourage them, “You’re almost there! Great work!”

Because you can do this. You don’t think I’m feeling any pain when I’m running? I mean, sure, I don’t look like it. And yeah, it’s only a 10k. Did I mention that I’m a marathon runner? Did I tell you that I’m training for an ultra? Now that’s some serious pain. But I don’t give in, no I keep going, I start cheering myself on, I’m like, “Come on Rob!” I scream it out loud, I clench my teeth and I start digging even deeper.

So just keep that in mind, your own challenges, your own personal struggles. Do not give up! Look out for me running backwards. It’s a nice way for me to cool down, to look at all the people I’m inspiring to keep at it. And sometimes some of the other top tier runners will do the same thing, and then we kind of have like a race-after-the-race race backwards, which, there’s no real finish line there, but still, if they’re getting close, I like to really push hard, sprint way back to the start, motivate even more runners along the way.

And when I get there first, I immediately stop and turn around, like I’m running forward again, but now I’m cheering on the other people running backwards, I’m saying stuff like, “Great job! Way to inspire! Keep on motivating!” like I’m the source of even more positive energy, like it’s just sending ripples of good vibes outward.

Did I tell you about that Iron Man I was training for a while back? Man, I don’t care how fast you’ve run a race, you haven’t felt anything until you’ve done an Iron Man. Just think, if he can do it, I can do it. I’m talking about me. And you. Just keep it up. Don’t stop, because you’re doing great. We’re all doing great. I’m feeling just terrific.

My words of wisdom

I periodically give myself these pep talks. I do it in writing. I’ll get on the computer, open up a new Word document, and I’ll start typing, like, “You can do it Rob, you’ve got what it takes,” type of nonsense. Most of the time it doesn’t do anything. Usually it’s more of a physical exercise, a warm up for my fingers. Once I really get going, well then I’m going. I just use the whole motivational approach to at least try and get myself to say something positive, even if I’m totally faking it.

But once in a while, amidst all of the cliché phrases and platitudes that I’ll be mechanically typing out to myself like a crazy person, something will click, like maybe I’ll look at one of those cliché phrases from a slightly different perspective, and while I didn’t really expect anything to come out of it, I’ll feel slightly motivated. I’ll also be really impressed, by my apparent ability to just come up with amateur philosophy out of nowhere.

But then there’s the opposite also. The other day I was trying to pump myself up, I was telling myself, “Rob, listen, the hardest part is just getting started. Once you get going, you’re good.” And I was going with it. It made me feel good. It made me think that, maybe I’m a lot better than I give myself credit for. Maybe it’s just a matter of getting off the Internet, getting away from any distractions, stop reading the newspaper, stop trying to play and sing The Darkness songs on my guitar. It’s not happening.

And so there was some motivational magic in there somewhere. Every time I found myself with four hours to write, four hours might turn into three hours without a word written, without having pried myself successfully away from the Internet. And I’d say to myself, “Rob, remember, just get started, just go for it.” And it would work. Instead of wasting another two hours before maniacally trying to get everything done during those last sixty seconds, I’d start typing.

But after a while the magic wears off. You say the same thing over and over again, you stop thinking about what the words actually mean, you stop finding those new perspectives that provided that change in attitude, and then you’re just wasting huge amounts of time on the Internet again.

Then the other day I was back at the motivational exercises again, I was trying unsuccessfully to get myself going, to inspire myself, something. But, and this is often the case too, if I’m not in the greatest mood, I might start out saying like, “You can do it!” but my bad attitude laced consciousness will hijack control of my fingers, and I’ll start writing everything negative, how this isn’t working out and how that isn’t coming together.

Luckily this only lasted for like a couple of paragraphs or so. I caught myself. I thought, what, I’m just going to sit here and complain about myself, to myself? And so I pushed the positive thinking again, I pushed some bullshit positive phrases out. And somehow my fingers started typing up something along the lines of, “Look Rob, it’s easy to start something. It’s really simple to just begin a project. The hard part is finishing them up. The difficult part is the successful execution of an entire plan before moving on to the next.”

And for some reason this really resonated with me. I thought, yeah, that’s it, I’ve just got to go back and tie up all the loose ends, finish up the last paragraphs on all of these blog posts that I always just start writing up without ever ending. And then from here on out, I’ll make sure that I go all the way with my ideas, try not to let myself get distracted with a new idea before an old idea is complete.

And it was the same way. This provided me with a couple weeks worth of inspiration, motivation, whatever you want to call it, positive energy. I was moving. And it was all thanks to me kind of dwelling on these words of the pseudo wisdom that I cooked up.

But as those words are starting to wear off, and I’m finding myself just back to the abscesses of my mind, thinking about where I’m going to turn next, I realized the inherent contradiction in all of this, about how I got so excited thinking that all I needed to do was to get started and then getting equally pumped up thinking about how all I needed to do was to finish everything up. So now I just feel kind of like, huh, all I need to remember is that the hard part is starting, and also, that the hard part is finishing. I have to start and I also have to finish. That doesn’t sound like advice at all. Definitely nothing close to philosophy. What kind of games am I playing with myself here? Should I really be writing to myself in the third person every day? Isn’t this all a little crazy?