What is Your Passion?

Initially, I planned to make this post about training when snowed in during a Blizzard. Living in the Washington, DC area, we were hit by Blizzard Jonas through the weekend, told to stay off the roads and in our houses.  For some, this is a welcome break from the outside world.  For an ultra runner or endurance athlete, this can be quite challenging, and we can find ourselves going stir crazy. I mean, the Umstead100 is just about 2 months away, and I’m supposed to do 28m and 15m this weekend. I was going to talk about how I planned to get my miles in this weekend.  Instead, this post is more about the why and how I got my miles in.  snowed in

Oftentimes on my long runs, I think about passion, and how there is nothing you cannot have or do if you are passionate about it. Passion is truly a great motivator and can be seen in our greatest athletes, entrepreneurs, CEOs and leaders. It is never about just being good at something,  but the willingness to put in the effort, to go further, faster, or create something new in the world.  Steve Jobs often said, “the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”  During his speech at Stanford, he also said that every day he looked in the mirror and asked himself, “If today were the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today?”  If the answer was yes, he went to work knowing he was doing good work and was passionate about it.  If the answer was no, he said that it was time to make a change and do something different.  I think about those words every time I put my workout gear on or prepare for a weekend of long runs, and how even when I do not feel like running, I still love it. Even when tired and sore, the feeling of power, enjoyment, and excitement I get when running fuels me through the sometimes unending miles.  Even the pain fuels me, and in doing so, I recognize the passion and love I have for the sport.

Snowzilla2016: With that in mind and a blizzard that kept me inside all weekend, I think to myself, “I really must love training for an ultra” because I did not one, but two, long runs on the treadmill. No one chooses to do such a heinous act, and I would only do so when forced, right? I want to say “true,” but I have no coach to force me to train on a treadmill when the city is shut down with minimal outdoor running options. As I’ve mentioned before, most of ultra training is about running through fatigue, which is why those double long runs one weekends are so important.  Replacing runs with elliptical, snowshoes, cross country skiing, or other cardio is nice, but never ideal. It is about the time on your feet. So in my head I apologized to the rest of the apartment complex for the hours I’d be using on our gym treadmills, then grabbed my gear and headed to the hamster wheel. My gear was as follows:

  • kick@ss workout outfit (because…yes, I’m a girl). new workout gear
  • iPod
  • iPad
  • 2 x water bottles filled with EFS pro
  • EFS vanilla shots
  • a headband
  • a towel…because treadmill running = a sweaty mess

So yes, I sound prepared…but to be honesty, before I went to the gym, I listened to some motivational music and YouTube videos to pump me up.  You ask: “Why do you need music and videos if you have such passion?”  Well…NO ONE ENJOYS RUNNING 28 MILES ON A TREADMILL, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU WILL HAVE TO DO ANOTHER 15 THE NEXT DAY!!!!  See…heinous, right?  🙂  Click on FEARLESS MOTIVATION …it is one of my favorites and always helps to pump me up (the lyrics are posted at the end of this entry because it motivates me so much). I always have this and a couple of others like this on my running iPod, and they always seem to play when I need them the most on my runs…those and the Rocky IV Training Montage.

Focus and Distraction: Lessons in running for 4 hours on a treadmill include knowing when you need a distraction, thus my laundry list of gear I bring to the gym. Unlike trail or road running where I do not always need music and can find such wonderful moments in nature and in the city of Washington, I find I need a lot more help on the treadmill.  It is not enough to listen to music if I am going to be there longer than an hour, or my drive and mental focus starts to break down.  I’d like to tell the world that my indomitable will can keep me focused and treadmill running for hours, but that is so patently false! If I meet someone who can, I will award them super human status.  So how did I get through my two runs this weekend (4 hours on Saturday; 2 hours on Sunday)? Well…one movie (Selma), 7 episodes of Heroes Reborn (Thank goodness our apartment gym has WIFI so I can access HULU!!!! ), some iPod music, and the passion in my heart for this sport.

Passion: Even with the help from these movies, music and shows, passion and sheer will is truly the only thing that kept me on that human hamster wheel.  People I meet, as well as friends and family, often tell me that I am crazy for wanting to run distances that some people do not even like to drive.  I do not think of it as being crazy, or even doing crazy things.  I think of it as passion.  A passion to get up in the morning to run before work when I would rather get some extra sleep.  Passion to push my body to its limit and then push some more.  Passion even for running 6 hours on a treadmill on a weekend when snowed in.  WHAT’S YOUR PASSION?

As promised, below are the words from one of my motivational songs.

FEARLESS MOTIVATION: TIME FOR WAR

Today. Right now you are going to war. You are going into war with your opponent. You are going to war with yourself. You are not scared…you are prepared.  You are not weak…You are a Machine. A Freak. Are you FOCUSED?!?!? I AM FOCUSED, I AM FOCUSED, I AM FOCUSED. Yes you are…you are focused and you will not lose sight of that.  Not today, not tomorrow, next week or next year.  Repeat after me.  Today is my day. No one will get in the way of my dreams, of my growth or my desired to be the VERY BEST in my chosen field.  Yes, I said BEST.  No one has the right to take that mantle from me.  I will sacrifice until I reach the very top.  No matter how hard it gets.  No matter how many times life beats me down.  I will get up EVERY TIME!  I will fight tooth and naith. 

Desire Drive Determination and Fire, they burn with me. I WILL NOT BACK DOWN.  I WILL NOT RELENT.  When my body screams NO I will scream LOUDER.  YES…Give me more, push me harder because I know my courage lies in my HEART.  My heart is stronger than my body. No one has a stronger HEART a stronger mind.  Send me 10,000 men and I will defeat them with my heart alone.  I AM FOCUSED. I HAVE THE HEART OF A LION, THE STRENGTH OF TEN & THE BLEEDIND DESIRE OF A THOUSAND MEN. I am prepared for battle.  I am prepared to soar. Come at me I dare you, it’s time for war.

Respect is not given its earned! I don’t need an alarm clock.  My goals wake me.  My desire wakes me. My purpose wakes me. I don’t need haters to fuel my fire, my PURPOSE is my fire, my FAMILY is my fire, my GREATNESS is my fire.  I don’t need others opinions. I have my own opinions. I have my own heard. I have my own dreams.  There’s nothing I can not be, do or have!

No one can tell me what I can or can’t do! I decide what is possible for me.  I decide what path I will choose. I will decide what sacrifices will be made. What people will walk with me.  What people I must let go. I decide how big my goals are, how crazy they might seem to ordinary people. I am far from ORDINARY.  I don’t pick average anything! I am anything but average! I want more! I will be more! Because I will give more! More effort! more pain! more sacrifice! more heart! more courage and what comes next, more REWARD!

There’s nothing I can not be, do or have! No one can tell me what I can or can’t do! I decide what is possible for me.  I decide what path I will choose. I will decide what sacrifices will be made.  Live your dreams.  BE FEARLESS!

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