Inspiration Is All Around Us

03/11/2017 - 19:20

By Rae Ann Darling Reed

alisonraquelraeann.jpg (This column appeared in the March issue of Running Journal.)

Last month I posed the question “is it possible to literally be inspired daily?” This month, I am more sure than ever of my answer after reading the December 2016 and January 2017 issues of Running Journal.

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to cycle once a week. After missing six weeks of running last fall I discovered I need some extra cardiovascular work without the pounding. I committed to one cycling session at the gym each week in addition to strength training twice a week and running five days a week to prepare for Boston 2017.

I just cannot listen to music or watch television while I work out so I read Running Journal, which makes the time on the bike just fly by. I found particular inspiration from Tracy Green’s “Run Smart, Run Hard, Good Things Will Happen” (January 2017) and Cedric Jaggers “Nobody Needs A Paper Running Log – Unless You Run” (December 2016).

Tracy’s article was both inspirational and exciting. From her preparation to the detailed race report, I almost felt like I was there. I could feel the excitement as she took us through each stage of the race and could definitely relate to her experience of having such a great race despite the fact that my times are significantly slower than hers. But it isn’t the times that mattered for our shared experience. I got off the bike that Friday with a renewed excitement for my own training and racing.

The take aways: Tracy stuck to her training despite long hours at work, early mornings, late evenings, and fatigue. She was prepared. Consistency is what got her there. She also stuck to her race plan and her body knew what to do even when her Garmin failed her mid race. We need to know what our pace feels like and cannot always rely on technology to tell us. Good lessons for all of us no matter our speed.

The title of Cedric’s article made me laugh but then as I read the entire article I realized he is absolutely right! I have referred to my old training logs more times than I can count over the years. I wish I had kept better records when I was younger as there are many gaps of missing data, unfortunately. But as technology has made it easier to record running data, I must admit I have gotten lazy and rarely write any of it down anymore. A lot of my running friends don’t even think twice about it. You finish a run, get in your car to drive home, and before you arrive, your Garmin has already transferred your run data to the app on your phone which you can also access on your computer. Why write any of it down? This technology saves us so much time. I even add notes to my runs on Garmin Connect so I am still getting the extra data like how I felt, weather, nutrition, etc.

But what if that data did get lost? I know I would be very upset because I often refer back to historical data for both my training and racing. I look for patterns when injuries or aches and pains flare up, refer back to great workouts that really seemed to give me that extra edge, review splits from past races when creating a plan for my next race, and often find inspiration from great workouts and races.

The take away (and this one is obvious) -- keep a paper running log. For the past two years I have used the “Believe” journal by Lauren Fleshman and Roisin McGettigan-Dumas. I did well writing in it regularly the first year but got lazy the second year. This year I bought the new “Compete” journal, also by Lauren and Ro, in hopes it would inspire me during my Boston training after a tough fall 2016 missing so much training due to injuries. Now I just need to start using it!

And since last month I mentioned my three cross country and track athletes preparing for the February 5th Sarasota Music Half Marathon, I will share a quick update on my daily source of inspiration, “my kids!” All three completed their first half marathons with great success. Alison finished in 1:49:59 and Raquel in 1:50:22, running together for most of the race. Chris took home second place in his age group with a 1:44:35. They all had fun while getting in the longest run of their pre-season conditioning for track season. They will have to wait until track season is over, but all three have expressed an interest in running another half marathon and setting a new PR.

I would like to thank Tracy, Cedric, and all of my fellow Running Journal columnists for supplying me and the rest of the southeast with inspirational, useful, and entertaining stories month after month. Inspiration is all around us, you just have to look.

Rae Ann Darling Reed runs, coaches, and writes in Florida. She is an RRCA and USATF Level 2 certified running coach and part of the Brooks Inspire Daily program. Rae Ann is a Fit Expert at Fleet Feet Sports Sarasota and coaches cross country and track at Manatee High School. Follow the RunnerGirl’s adventures on twitter @runnergirl or

Photo: Alison Ecker, Raquel Lespasio, and Coach Rae Ann after the Sarasota Music Half Marathon

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