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June 23, 2009

On Inspiration

(Admin note: I’ll have one final post on Thursday with a link to the WS webcast and other final details for this weekend. As for today’s post, it’s on the theme of motivation … )

I’ve never been one to need much of a pep talk before races. When it comes to rising to the occasion for a big event, I tend to be fairly self-reliant.

From my experience - in both the endurance sports I currently enjoy, and the team sports of my youth – if you have to rely on a motivational speech to accomplish the result you’re looking for, your chances of actually attaining it are probably pretty slim. Rather, the confidence that emboldens me on the starting line comes from the body of training I’ve done in the months leading up to the event.

I’ve put myself through enough difficult miles, and tapped into my inner reservoir of resolve enough times this spring to know that I’m ready to roll at Western States this weekend. Whether or not I actually make it to the finish, or whether I finish anywhere near my goal time remain to be seen. But if for some reason I don’t make it to Auburn, it’s certainly not going to be for lack of resolve.

That’s not to say that it’s going to be easy – in fact, I’m on record describing the race as a 100-mile tightrope walk. Or, as I wrote last year:
There are certain to be times when my body feels battered, my spirit feels broken, and I’ll question both the sanity and the necessity of doing the task I’ve given myself. Hard times are as much a part of the race as good ones – in fact, if those difficulties weren’t encountered along the way, the whole process wouldn’t mean nearly as much.

What I’m counting on to pull me through is a positive mindset, and a resolve to deal with whatever hardships come my way. There will be a thousand little things that could potentially discourage me – but somehow, I’ll figure out a way to get through every last one of them.
Thankfully, after an extended period of questioning and wondering in the wake of 2008’s cancellation, I can honestly say that I’ve forged the same mindset now as I did before last year’s race.

So it was more amusing than inspirational when I stumbled across the following video of “40 inspirational speeches in two minutes” – it’s a clever assortment of film snippets that are equal parts somber and humorous, compiled into one contiguous speech that actually flows together surprisingly well. If you’re in the mood for an unorthodox pep talk, click and enjoy:

One final note: just because I don’t need an inspirational speech to keep me motivated, that doesn’t mean I don’t carry inspiring thoughts along the way with me during events like this. One of my favorites, which I have a feeling I’ll be reciting to myself many times on Saturday, is the following:

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

- Isaiah 40:31, NIV

Really now … what more reassurance do I need?


mindy 6/24/09, 2:20 AM  

Godspeed, Donald.

jen 6/24/09, 6:09 AM  

Good luck this weekend Donald. We'll be thinking of you!!

jeff 6/24/09, 7:35 AM  


funny, i used to keep a copy of that verse in my fuel belt for all of my marathons.

success or fail, we know that you'll turn yourself inside out at ws and you'll make all of your readers proud. i know for me, it's an honor to call you friend whether you finish ws or not. that said, i don't doubt for a minute that you'll surprise yourself this weekend.

godspeed, donald.

Jo Lynn 6/24/09, 8:11 AM  

Mine is: "Wherever you are, God is there, and all is well." ;)

runningcommentaries 6/24/09, 8:35 AM  

Good luck out there! I know you've done the work for the task in front of you and that you'll come home sporting a belt buckle. I may go to the finish line on Sunday morning so hopefully I can see you finish. How exciting. Those who wait on the Lord renew their strength!

21stCenturyMom 6/24/09, 9:28 PM  

Cannot wait to see you at mile 85! We are all set to make those last miles work for you!

RunBubbaRun 6/24/09, 9:29 PM  

Rock it out Donald at WS100. I'm sure you will do very well.

Great clip as well.

Best of luck to you.

Backofpack 6/26/09, 10:57 AM  

Donald, I shared the video and your blog link on FB - I thought all my running friends would enjoy it. Best of luck out there this weekend!

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