Monday, March 21, 2011


Despite the gloomy, rainy morning, I pulled on my workout clothes and headed to my Monday morning spin class, just as I do every Monday morning. That class is among the toughest 50 minutes of my week and there are many Mondays I’d rather do anything than go to that class, but I go. Every week. Barring illness, injury or emergency, you will find me at that spin class, same place, same time, every week; legs churning, sweat flying, casting furtive glances at the clock every few minutes and wishing for that hour to end. But, when all is said and done, I’m always glad I went.

A friend recently asked me about motivation. To me, motivation is what inspires you to act or to make a positive change. It is definitely not a “one size fits all” recipe. People are motivated for different reasons. Some people want to achieve a specific goal, such as fitting into a smaller pair of jeans or weighing 20 pounds less by a certain date. For me, it’s more process-oriented. I like to see my performance times improve from week to week; I aim to swim harder, ride longer, run faster, and be the best I can be at whatever it is I’m trying to do. When I compete in a triathlon, I can’t control the field of competitors, but I can control my own performance and the only way to improve from year to year is to train hard for months in advance. Ultimately, I am always only racing against myself. To do this requires more than motivation; it also requires commitment, which is a whole different subject.

Being motivated to exercise is one thing; actually doing it is another. My workouts are scheduled in my calendar just like any other appointment and it is non-negotiable. To further improve my chances of success, I prep my gear the night before; I pack my gym bag, fill water bottles, and put it all by the door. My workout clothes are next to my bed so when my alarm goes off I can get up and change right into the appropriate gear for that day’s activity. Looking the part is half the battle; it puts you in the right frame of mind for the task at hand. Set a workout schedule and stick to it. If it rains on your running day, make sure you have proper gear to battle the elements or be prepared to take your show indoors. Also, don’t let those invites to coffee at Panera or a post-work happy hour divert you from your plan; either decline the invite or get your workout in first. Coffee can serve as a pre-workout boost (if you go easy on the bagels), but who wants to run after two glasses of wine and a plate of nachos?

So, once you make a commitment to yourself, then it’s time to work on the motivation piece so you can stick to it and see results. Here is my Top 20 list of what motivates me to keep going day after day:

1) Challenging myself.

2) Improving my race times, improving myself. Improving.

3) Anyone faster than me.

4) Passing the person in front of me.

5) My husband. Life partner and training partner. He inspires me every day to be a better person, and a better athlete.

6) Being a positive role model for my daughters.

7) The Iron Man (and other endurance races).

8) The Wall at Savageman.

9) Kick-ass female athletes like Dara Torres, Chrissie Wellington and Lindsey Vonn.

10) My friends (you know who you are).

11) Being more fit at 40 than I was in my 20s.

12) Rock hard abs (the quest for).

13) New adventures

14) The finish line; and the journey to get there.

15) Becoming stronger and faster.

16) Camaraderie among my fellow racers and athletes.

17) Excitement of the race, and thrill of the chase.

18) Eating everything I want (in moderation. Most of the time).

19) Having the blood pressure of a teenager.

20) Being healthy and feeling good.

What motivates you?


  1. Just Started following your blog(s). Love reading about the journey of others. This is my first "season" of triathlons. I did two mini tri's last summer and fall. I did the mini's on a mt. bike and am looking to purchase a road bike for this season. Do you have any suggestions as far as brand, used vs. new, or road vs. tri? I fit an xs Giant brand bike or 48 cm. Thanks for any thoughts and look forward to reading about your training and thoughts. P.S. I went to school with your brother....Arundel 92.

  2. Hi! Thanks for following. Sounds like you have been "bitten"--by the triathlon bug. As you probably read, I did my first tri's on mtn bikes too; great way to start and get a feel for the sport. Here's my two cents on a bike: if it's your first road bike and you're just getting started with tri's, buy a used one on eBay. I got my first road bike, a Cannondale, for a steal and I loved that bike. I used it for two seasons before selling it and putting that money toward the tri bike I purchased, a Felt, which I also love. So far as my experience goes, I would definitely recommend the Cannondale, Felt and Trek brands. At 48 cm your bike is on the small side, so you should probably check out WSD's. You will also want to give some thought to if you want a road bike or a tri bike. Since you know what size you need, it will be easy for you to search on eBay and try something without spending a lot of cash while you're learning about the sport and what you want in a bike. Hope that helps . . . a few notes; 1)Iron Mom is on hold until I actually sign up for the Iron Man race. Until then, all posting will be done on Triathlon Mom. 2)If you are on Facebook, search for my page, Triathlon Mom, which links to this blog and is also a forum for discussion. If you "like" the page, updates will appear on your news feed. 3)If you want to share your name I'll tell my brother we connected.
    Good luck!

  3. Thanks so much, i did not think of ebay, i have been looking on craigslist. I will check out the facebook page. My name is Cindy Bryl, was Cindy Kelly. Looking forward to reading your posts! What is your first race this season?

  4. Hi Cindy! I do remember you :) I am new at this blogging scene so I must ask . . . how did you know it was me? I didn't think my name was anywhere on the blog but maybe it is? Your input would be helpful as I'm still learning.
    My first race this season is the Columbia Triathlon in May. Do you have any races on your calendar yet?

  5. I am friends with Rick on Fb and he "liked" your page, so i put two and two together. Did not see your name anywhere. I am doing the Tri Rock in Annapolis in May. The celebration tri in June, Iron girl in August. Looking to add an olympic distance in July or a half iron in sept. Not sure yet. I also am new to the blogging thing, my blog is
    or you can search life is simple. it's just not easy blog. I want to conquer the half iron and then maybe consider an iron in 5-10 years. Just need a bike first! Any suggestions on longer tris in july or august?

  6. Yes, we've been to DITRT three years in a row (Diamond in the Rough)in July--in Perryville/Port Deposit, MD. It's an olympic. This might be the first year we don't go to that one. I'd definitely recommend it. Also, check out the tri in Luray, VA in August, we are considering it this year. Our favorite race is Savage man in Deep Creek Lake in September. We did the olympic there two or three years and last year went for the Half. Triathlete magazine ranked the Savage Half the "hardest tri in the world." We are definitely going back for more! If I remember correctly, you're a pretty strong runner . . . ?

  7. So, I checked into DITR and Savageman... I signed up for DITR. We shall see how it goes and then will consider Savage if there are still openings this year, if not then next year!! Thanks for the advice.

  8. Good luck! DITRT is usually a fun race and a beautiful park, though last year a storm went through and it was turned into a duathlon--run, bike, run--and I had a broken foot (but didn't know it yet!). We planned to skip it this year and try Luray instead but who knows . . . we might not be able to stay away! Also thought about doing the off-road/Xterra race at Rocky Gap that weekend.

    If we don't see you at DITRT, let me know if you sign up for Savage!