The podcast, Another Mother Runner, had an episode with Deena Kastor that I really enjoyed. Aside from being just a fantastic runner and a mom, Deena Kastor is down to earth, approachable and seems really really nice.
She’s actually one of my runner-heroes.
In this particular episode, they asked her what she does when she is really getting beat up and having a hard time with a run or workout; I loved her answer. (The exchange starts ~29:30).
Sarah: ‘We’ve all hit those spots sometimes where running feels more like a chore than fun… what do you do to get out of that funk?’
Deena: ‘So much of the Time, it’s a chore.. and that’s the game that I like! “How do get my head around this? How do I get to the other side of this monotony or this fatigue, or this complete misery because the wind is in my face and my quads are tired from the downhill?”.’
‘There’s always that, and I think that’s what running offers us and that’s what’s so rewarding, is that we’re out there trying to figure it out, and we can’t just phone a friend at that time. You gotta do some soul-searching by yourself and figure out how to get through that.’
‘Sometimes it is just my husband driving by and there’s techno music pumping out of the windows of the car and it gets me like, in a better groove. Like my cadence increases to try to keep up with the beat of the song. Or sometimes it’s thinking about what I’m going to do after the run that brings me joy; How am I going to warm that cold fall kitchen up? I’ve got to brew up something in the kitchen to warm the upstairs of the house’.
‘A lot of times it’s just a game of when to internalize and dig deeper and figure things out internally, and then sometimes you just have to get outside of yourself’
That’s pretty cool and for me, it really is true. I don’t go into a race with a detailed mental game-plan or a mantra – or, if I do, it’s never the one that I end up using in the race. The most meaningful and motivating phrases that keep me going through the tough times are completely random. I have imagined a thread of positive light, as an abstract, that I’ve held on to in my mind. The phrase “Relentless forward progress” has been a repeating thought on long runs. Sometimes I think of the pain and discomfort I’m going through in a particular moment as the perfect time to train for those exact feelings and despair, without actually being in a race or for all of my running to make me a runner who is practiced at dealing with pain and discomfort. Conversations with friends, poems, songs, thoughts, memories – they all present themselves in various ways and in various runs to keep me going.
What about you? What keeps you pushing when all you want to do is quit?
Photo: Dimity, Deena and Sarah of “Another Mother Runner” podcast. Check it out HERE!