April 3, 2013

Catching Fire

by pyrad
Categories: General Running and/or Fitness
Comments: 8 Comments

I’m not talking about the second book of the Hunger Games series. I fear I’ve become so zen that I’ve lost the fire or prana that had me so motivated for so long.

Throughout high school and university I was always so stressed, and sometimes downright angry. Every little thing was the end of the world! But I was epically motivated. I squeezed more into a day than most people could do in a week. Even for a few years after I finished my undergrad, I was still continuously get up and go.

Motivation at the time was really easy: I needed to study and do well to get a good job to pay for food, shelter and the basics of life. It was an investment of energy and time to secure the necessities of life. And occasionally doing some things to try to impress girls. Guys are simple-minded creatures like that…

However, after so many years, that lifestyle or stress and recklessness was very negatively affecting my health.

Finishing the CN Tower Stair Climb for the first time in 46:43, October 26, 2008
Finishing the CN Tower Stair Climb for the first time in 46:43, October 26, 2008

As I mentioned in my about me page, my life-changing moment was when I did really badly climbing the CN Tower in 2008. I made up my mind then and there to take control of my health and my life. Within weeks I was regularly working out at a gym. One year later I had improved my time by over 20 minutes and lost a lot of weight. Within two years I ran my first half-marathon. And then marathons, and such and such.

Over that time I came to terms with myself. As I’ve said in a previous post, I like me now. I’d like to think I still excel at my work, but I keep my head down and nose clean because I don’t have any promotion prospects until I have MANY more years of experience. I’m satisfied with my health, and though there’s room for improvement, I’m not worried about dying anymore. And I’ve done more running in 3 years than most do in their lifetimes. I’m embracing the idea of being non-judgmental and being a nice guy to avoid causing too much grief for others. I feel very zen. Way too much of a nice guy. To use a reference from the video game Jade Empire, perhaps I’m embracing the Way of the Open Palm. But maybe this isn’t a good thing.

I was doing a weights workout the other day, and I was struggling with the spirit to push. It was weird. I used to be able to put so much emotion into every rep to power through, but I had trouble finding it.

By the end of the workout I did find some things I was upset about: Some situations and people at work that have made me unhappy had me pump out a few more bench presses. Dating rejections inspired some more squats. Damn car repair bill helped me hold onto planks…

I wonder if I’ve become too calm, relaxed and comfortable. I suppose I need a new motivator or shiny goal to push towards?

Come to think of it, one of the reasons I did my first half-marathon was because I was challenged by a girl. Guys really are simple creatures…


What motivates you? What lights your fire? Should I get angry? Or am I on the right track?

Comments closed


  1. chris says:

    Cool blog. You can never be too calm

  2. macnic says:

    I’m not sure what really motivates me to run. Because it allows me to show off to my non-runner friends? Because it gives me new friends (and you can never have too many)? Because it means I can (pretty much) eat and drink what I like? Vanity? I always tell people that I run because it is exercise that I LOVE to do. It is all I do. If I LOVED yoga, guess what? I’d do that.

    What propels me through a training season is the race. The competition between myself and myself. The unending yearning for faster times and better races.

    I think that your motivation needs to come from within. You need to be happy with what you’re doing with your free time. Fitness can be a wonderful stress relief, but I don’t think you should approach it with negativity.

  3. Roxane says:

    I’m with Nicole on this one…it has to come from within. Granted, the catalyst may be from an external source. 😉

    With my first half marathon, I was dying around 17K. My running partner stuck with me and tried to push me on military-style and that did part of the trick. The other part was my inner Negative Committee calling an emergency session. I was mentally taunted with things like “Give up like you always do” and “Go ahead and fail. That’s what your father is expecting.” It was little wonder that as I cross that finished line, I burst into tears, physically and emotionally drained.

    Since then, I have reminded myself that each time I am competing only against myself. I am doing something that many other people will never do. I’m in better shape than I ever was. And running (along with the achievements that come with it) has helped me in so many ways outside of the sport.

    That being said, I have those moments when I experience a serious blah-factor during a run. I stop caring. I stop pushing. And all I want to do is turn around and walk back home.

    Some days I do that. Pssst…we’re human. We have off days. We need to allow and forgive ourselves for having that moment.

    Once I’m back home, I think about what I want to do, be it with running or life in general, and remind myself of the work I’ve put into it so far. I go back to celebrating the small things, recognizing my achievements (even it’s “Hey, I just passed the firehall without slowing my pace down!”) and re-energizing my spirit. That last one may require one of those external catalysts I mentioned earlier in the form of something alcoholic.

  4. Just came across your blog 🙂

    You did your first half because you were challenged by a girl. Honestly, I do these kinds of things all the time but just because I want to beat guys 😛 Hehe!

    You’re running the Mississauga Marathon!? Cool, I’m doing the Half that same day 😀

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