Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Every few months I'm a guest speaker with a local Running Room Learn to Run clinic. The instructor has me come talk about motivation. With the icky weather I'm not exactly feeling motivated but it's good to think about and remember. I thought I'd share my talk with everyone out in Blogger World.

Here it is.

I'm a runner. I've been a runner off and on since I was a teenager. I was one of those people who love to run. The feel of a my hair blowing back. The sweat beading off my face. I loved it. It filled me with feelings of euphoria. I was one of those crazed people eating strange "athlete" meals, talking about how easy everything was. I was comfortably running a 27 minute 5k (3 mile). And getting faster.

That was then.

My friend and I had decided to kick 30 in the face and we were in the beginning stages of training for a marathon. But something was wrong. I was feeling "off". I was in and out of the doctor's offices, getting a variety of diagnosis'. Three months passed before they figured out what the problem was. I was fast tracked into the Cross Cancer Institute.

I was determined to not let this get me down. I was determined to be "normal". And normal for me was being a runner. It was a part of me. So I kept running. The drugs I was on had some fun side effects. Some days I couldn't go outside because of the high degree of reactivity to the sun. When I could I was running down the road with my trusty sidekick, Tessa, by my side. As I ran I would chant inside my head, "Die bad cells, die!" or "Strong powerful legs" or "Relaxed and easy". Anything that made my legs move forward.

As the side effects began taking over my body, allergic reactions caused my lips to swell to Angelina Jolie proportions. My body was filled with fluid, my legs looking like my thighs dropped straight into my ankles. It became difficult to bend my knees. But I refused to quit. I stopped wearing a watch because it was too demoralizing for me. Instead I would run from telephone pole to telephone pole, then walk the next set. Soon, I was walking most of the distance. My body hurt. My mouth was filled with sores making eating difficult. I still don't like rice I ate so much of it. But I insisted on going out and getting in my "run". I was desperate for normal.

I was lucky I had an excellent support network. My friends stood behind me, propping me up when I couldn't stand on my own. I would tell people that I needed to get out, after all Tessa needed her exercise. These are things that worked for me. Running is still difficult. I haven't been able to regain the level of fitness or ease I once had. I may never be able to. My body has changed too much. But I'll never forget that I'm one of the lucky ones.

You need to do what works for you. Schedule it into your book and make it sacred. Have a friend run with you. Use positive self talk. Run with a pet. Running is 90% mental and 10% physical. And everyone can do it.

Any questions?

And that my friends is my talk. While you may not be a runner, think about what motivates you to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle.


MTWaggin said...

Good job missy! Your talk will be very thought provoking as was your blog!

Jennifer said...

Thanks for putting the events of my day in proper perspective...

The Canadian said...

Yay!! Great speech, Andrea! You are one strong woman!!