Motivation Monday: The ‘happy place’ edition

An impromptu afternoon trip to Black Hill Regional Park in northern Montgomery County yesterday served as a powerful reminder of one of my most effective self-motivation techniques.

The park, located just off 270, is stunning this time of year, with the Eastern red cedar trees circling Little Seneca Lake at the peak of their fall colors. As I flew through the woods on paved trails with a view of the vivid orange sunset over the lake, with nothing but the sound of migrating geese honking overhead to break my state of meditation in motion, I knew I’d call on that moment to motivate myself to hop on the treadmill when the weather’s less friendly.

This week, I’m motivated by thinking about the loveliest places I’ve been lucky enough to swim, run, hike, bike and otherwise be active, and using those images to hype me up to work out in less exciting venues. It’s the workout equivalent of thinking about your “happy place,” and it works wonders in putting a positive spin on an otherwise routine workout.

This has been especially helpful in the swimming arena, as I’m still anxiously awaiting word about my fate in the Bay Bridge Swim lottery, which is ongoing (it closes at 700 entrants; there are 451 as of this morning). I’m not swimming today because I feel pressure to train for a 4.4-mile journey across a major body of water, but because I’m imagining myself swimming in the Gulf of Mexico …

… in the south of France, where I saw an ancient fort every time I took a breath to the right side …

… and off a beautiful beach in Barcelona, where my post-swim fuel was a glass of sangria.

Simply thinking about swimming in one of these locations transports me to a place of relaxation and peace, and makes it just a little bit easier to jump into a crowded lane at Wilson Aquatic Center.

Where’s your workout “happy place?”

In other news, my minute-by-minute journal of Ragnar, D.C. is now live on Washington Running Report’s website. Check it out, and let me know what you think!

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