Motivation: Where Art Thou?

Fall is an interesting season for me. I grew up in an absolute wonderland for a country boy. I had 60 acres of hunting and trapping heaven out my back door and the lure of salt water was not far away. Any given day of the fall I could choose to hunt ducks, deer, small game, get my trap line ready for winter or pursue the various fish that used to inhabit the Delaware Bay and ocean. I swore I would never move out of the country and that my life would revolve around the outdoors. Then, adulthood and practical reality set in.

Fat Pete – My “refrigerator” picture

If you’ve followed these pages it may seem like I have been a lifelong athlete but this is hardly the case. I started running and then doing triathlon as a practical matter because I was getting too fat and out-of-shape to enjoy any of my other passions. In the course of things, I started pursuing better and faster running times, and longer distance races as I went along until running and triathlon became it’s own passion.

I still schedule my fall around spending my Saturday’s in a tree stand. I love watching a Brown Creeper make it’s way up the bark of a Walnut tree or watching a fox give itself a bath before curling up to take a nap. I especially like acquiring a freezer full of lean, relatively organic deer meat for the following year. Still, since discovering running I have also found I love to get out there for a fast fall race or two. But not this year. The motivation to race just isn’t there.

Brown Creeper: A bird not a child molestor
Brown Creeper: A bird not a child molestor

I am signed up for races next year including probably the most recognizable race in the world: The Boston Marathon. I am excited to run down Boylston Street to the finish and know I’ll get there. There are other planned races out there too including the very difficult American Triple T a month after Boston. All these things will need preparation even just to finish if not race.

But lately it has been so difficult to force myself out the door for a run or a ride. I KNOW I need to. I’ve worked so hard to get the weight off and keep it off and it is frustrating to watch the scale creep upwards knowing if I don’t act soon there will be great pain ahead to get it back down. And perhaps that is part of the problem. To the casual observer, I do workout more than most. I am still running 20-30 miles a week, swimming at least twice a week (around a mile or so), riding 2-4 hours per week, and doing strength work 1-2 times per week. Yet the scale goes upward. Sure, my diet could be a little better than it is but the really frustrating thing is it isn’t THAT bad. My body makes me pay for a few pieces of chocolate each week or a cookie now and then. I laugh when people say “You can eat what you want because you work out so much”. I wish. Frankly, nobody can do that. It’s a bad recipe. But I can’t even enjoy a LITTLE of what I want without consequence. After a while this adds up to a “Why bother?” mentality.

I’ll get there. I’ll shake off the fall/winter doldrums and get back on my horse. I have been enjoying my lunchtime runs with friends at work and my early morning Friday runs with a local crew. But the hard, focused training I need to race well and keep my girlish figure will need to re-emerge.

Running down Boylston Street
Running down Boylston Street

I plan to stitch together a Boston Marathon training plan. This should help. I also need to round out next year’s race schedule. I think part of the lack of motivation is that typically by now I have an “A” race on the calendar. I keep saying I’m not going to race Boston but just enjoy it. Perhaps step one may be to re-think that a bit and plan on at least running it hard if not racing. I need that scary event out there to be prepared for. Otherwise there is always competitive eating.



  1. It doesn’t seem fair, with our metabolisms slowing down just a little faster than the extra calories we’re burning! Then again, at our age (29, right?), just getting out there is a kind of victory.

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