Motivation has many sources, and everyone finds it in different places.
As far as I can tell, the thing that drives me is shame.
This is the story of my training for the National Half Marathon on March 21 in Washington, my new home city. I have run one full marathon and two half marathons previously. One half ended with a stupid hip injury that continues to trip me up more than a year later and a stupid time I would rather forget. The other half ended with jubilation, mostly thanks to — you guessed it. Shame.
It was the Five Points of Life Half Marathon in Gainesville, Fla., in 2007, and it was my first distance race. My friends Jessica and Adam promised to come cheer me on, and warned that they would appear on the race course when I least expected it. During every rough patch, I thought of how horrified I would be if I was limping, clutching my cramped-up sides and groaning when I finally came upon them. So I pushed on, running longer and harder than I ever had before.
Turns out, Jessica and Adam had run out of gas on the way to the race, so they never made it to the course. But my fear of embarrassment helped me I post a time I never thought I could as a solid middle-of-the-pack runner, Jessica and Adam took me to a fabulous post-race brunch, and I discovered a powerful motivator.
It is in that spirit of motivational shame that I share my plans to run this race. I figure the more people I tell, the more embarrassing it will be if I get lazy and drop out.
My plan is to follow a combination of a Hal Higdon half-marathon plan, and a neato three-day training plan I read about recently in Runner’s World. I’m going for the less-is-more approach to avoid more of the aforementioned stupid injuries, and will be supplementing my running schedule with swimming days. Keeping me motivated to swim is the 1-mile Bay Bridge Challenge, an open-water swim in the Chesapeake Bay in June I recently plunked down 60 bucks to sign up for (another great motivator: the threat of financial loss).
Check back here a few times a week for workouts, running routes, playlists, training advice, injury-prevention tools and other cool stuff I find helpful while training. I may even post some non-shame-related motivational material while I’m at it.
I’m putting it out there. Now, I guess I actually have to do it.