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When Run Forest! Run! got me started Running

I wanted to start running long distances to see if I could lose weight and to tap the deeper level of determination within my character.  I think that getting to the core of where we find motivation is important for our understanding of how we cope in life.  It’s not easy to see oneself clearly and if we do have the ability to see ourselves, we may find it difficult to clearly make sense of why we do the things we do.  For me, it took my wife, Kelly, asking me a question one day, “When do you find things in life get boring?” At first I didn’t have a response.  Kelly helped me understand the context of her question by pointing out that she was trying to understand why I decided to resume my running again after taking a break from it for 4 years.  She also reviewed some specific challenges that I’ve taken on that notably required me to have considerable mental focus.  Some of those challenges she recalled included: my flight training that I started at the age of 16; studying and graduating from college including an overseas college semester in Israel

my sophomore year;  and taking an overseas assignment for 5 years in Thailand after I expressed complacency in my job as the Southwest Washington/Northwest Oregon representative for a youth organization.  Kelly’s thought was that I needed to challenge myself again to keep myself from getting bored.  Her thoughts definitely provoked me to think about why I chose to run.

I’ve definitely concluded that if I don’t take on challenges, I don’t feel motivated.  I’ve also realized that this is part of what makes me unique in the human race.  We all have different reasons why we choose to run or exercise; but as you understand yourself better,  you will be able to recognize things that will become obstacles to you and what will help you excel at what you are trying to accomplish.  If you’re like me, you recognize that our greatest strengths taken to the extreme can become our weaknesses.  An example of this now glares at me as I look back at my over-running, which caused me to burn-out.  Or like —–Bethany, who wrote into one of the experts with RunnersWorld.com and asked:  “What do you do when you are at a loss for motivation to run?  I always struggle this time of year.”  This inspiring article was written with some great tips that we all can benefit from, and I encourage you to click the link above entitled Bethany to check it out.

When I started to run for weight-loss and mental focus back in 1999, I felt that I needed to run alone and to run every day.  I think burnout was the smaller of the two reasons I became discouraged in those early days of running.  The bigger insurmountable mental challenge for me was how I felt others perceived me as a “Runner.”  In my mind, I was this avid runner who was physically fit.  You know the type, the lifeguard with the chiseled body running on the beach.  But, eventually, I became more known as “that guy,” the one that others may have unmercifully quipped as the “slow-motion jogger.”  My problem was that if they actually did put me in slow-motion it would be hard to detect any activity.  Some of the conversations of bystanders unheard by me may have included:  “Do you think we should ask him if he needs a doctor?” or maybe, “Is that guy attempting that fast-walk exercise?”   But, the one comment that I cringe at even to this day would be, “If I ever look like that guy when I run, would you please shoot-me?”  It’s time like these that if you don’t have a good foundation for motivation, you may find yourself like I did and wonder why you even bother running?

Now that I understand what drives me, I feel more focused on what I participate in when I choose to run, opposed to just randomly running on weekends.  My encouragement to you of course is, Run Forest! Run!  If you already do run, you might look into your motivation:  Maybe others expect it of you; or it’s the runner’s high, fear of being out of shape, general health and fitness.  It may be a habit, or it helps you control or improve how you feel.  For some it helps them maintain sobriety or manage addiction.  Possibly, running helps you avoid depression or mental strength issues.  If you’re a professional athlete it provides strength building or weight management. There are a lot of reasons to hit the pavement, but make sure whatever motivates you is the right reason for YOU.  My assessment of why I run has made all the difference, and I will never have to look back as long as I keep running forward.
Hope you   Runninaftersmoke Facebook page!

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