Tuesday, March 20, 2012

One Little Reason My Family Makes My Whole Life Better PLUS How Criticism Can Help

I have run all my life. On summer vacations in Hyannis I would join my dad on his run to the Kennedy Memorial and back. In high school I signed up for track because my friends convinced me the coach was hot. And in college, I'd jog around the track before cheer practice with my roommate. After college I continued to work out regularly. I would pack a bag and hit the gym before work most mornings. It was a pain to wake up early and I hated getting ready in the locker room, but I loved how much more energy I had throughout the day. Running has always been a part of my life. But I'd never (ever) call myself a runner.

So I was not prepared for a sudden burst of motivation.

A few weeks ago I stepped off the treadmill and walked over to where Keith was stretching. "I ran a mile in 12 minutes. Is that good?"

"Ummm. Not really," he replied.

Shocked that my husband wasn't giving me the pat on the back that I thought I deserved, I mumbled that I had done some other stuff on all those other machines earlier and so for that reason 12 minutes was probably an ok time and what does he know anyway.

  Keith: A run motivator and fear or heights supporter.

A day or so later my brother called from his base in Afghanistan while we were eating breakfast. "Phil, I ran a mile in 12 minutes. Is that good?" Somehow, I expected a different response. Instead a cackle of laughter came through on the other end of the phone. He was less kind when he told me that my time was not very good. And to put things in perspective, he added, he can run two miles in that time. 

Thanks for the perspective, Phil.

Now that both my husband and my brother doubted my running abilities, I had to prove I could do better. Their criticism made me realize that I could do better. The next day I went to the gym—not to burn calories or get in shape—to shave time off my mile and get back into the good athletic graces of my loved ones. I cranked up the speed and when I finished under ten minutes, I was happily pleased with myself. 

9:54 won't be breaking any records, but I was happy about it.

But I couldn't stop there. The next day I wanted to run faster. And the day after that I wanted to run  further, too. So I keep lacing up my sneakers and running. I run to top my previous time. I run to build up endurance so I can run farther. And I run because I like the way I feel when I'm done.

I've never been this motivated to run before. I've never even liked to run—it was just something I did because staying fit is important to me. But now I have two of the best cheerleaders on my side. Sure, they're not shouting through megaphones as I zoom (cruise?) past them on the road. (But I know they would if I asked them to!) My husband and my brother have equally motivated me to push myself a little further each day. I bet they didn't even know they were doing that for me when they told me my mile time sucked! 

Thanks Keith and Phil! 



  1. You should train for the Amazing Race now!

  2. I wish I were that motivated! Go girl!

  3. I will cheer on your 12-minute mile... Any mile is good in my book. And I happen to like 12 minute miles. They are relaxing and enjoyable. And I am not ashamed to appreciate them. :-) But that 9:54 is awesome too. Rock out on the running girl. Let me know when you decide to race and I'll come up and visit. Rephrase: I'll come up and race with you and then we go eat something amazingly delicious. ha! MIss ya.