Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The secret to running motivation

Early last week, I realized that I hadn't run since Memorial Day. It embarrassed me slightly, but mostly I didn't care, because of RAGBRAI training and Iowa summer's arrival.

That is, I didn't care until Sunday around 3 p.m.

The previous day, I'd driven up to Alexandria, Minn., for a beautiful wedding at Carlos Creek Winery, at which I'm pretty sure I polished off a bottle's worth of wine. (Seriously good stuff, and there was shuttle service back to the hotel.)

I'm positive I had two pieces of wedding cake, because after two bites of her own slice, my friend Chelsea turned to me and said: "Can you help me finish this? I can't eat anymore." (She's known me for nine years now; that was a rhetorical question.)

And I'm afraid to measure how much wholly artificial cheese popcorn I snarfed back at the hotel.

I topped this delightful Saturday with a Sunday brunch of a Culver's ButterBurger and a small raspberry milkshake — my go-to travel meal. I relished every single bite and gulp, and I cherished the memory ... for all of 15 minutes.

So much sugar, from the wine to the cake to the milkshake. So little activity, even if you count the dancing at the wedding reception. So much sitting (12 hours round trip, to be precise).

With nothing to do but think about all of this, I found the familiar itch coming back: go for a run.

Why run instead of bike? I didn't feel I would have enough daylight left to bike as long as I'd like to sweat out some of the partying. The key word there is sweat — I wanted to feel like I'd worked hard, and in fact I do work harder when I run than when I ride.

Despite my cat's attempts to be so cute that I wouldn't leave (he's good, but I'm mentally strong), I did go on that run, nearly five hours after the urge first struck. I did four miles, fully expecting to suffer.

I didn't suffer.

Well, OK, I was a little miserable during one uphill stretch, and I was thrilled to stop for good. But given the length of my layoff and the still-80-degrees-and-muggy weather, a sub-10:00 average and minimal walk breaks is an A+ effort.

I guess this means I've stumbled upon another piece of motivation, besides signing up for a race: indulge most of the weekend.


  1. Sounds like an amazing weekend of indulgence. I think you hit on most of my "bad girl" foods: cake, check. Burger, check. Milkshake, check. A butter burger???? Amazing. Great job on the run! Nothing like a food coma to get your butt in gear.

  2. I think we can naturally conclude, too, that ice cream/cake/bacon/burgers are the perfect running fuel :)