Inspiration In a Box

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Sometimes, the last thing you want to do is run. The morning is too dark, the day is too cold, the run is too darned long.

Or it’s the night before a race, and you want to get fired up and best do your tomorrow.

Either way, you need that mental kick in the butt.

For me, that comes from three likely sources: books, movies, and Kona. Here are my favorites:


I love my dystopian and supernatural young adult fiction, I do. But when it comes to truly moving stories that make you want to move, I want to read the stories of the superhuman: endurance athletes.

Ultra runners, Ironman champions, Olympians, mother runners: they’re my heroes!

The first such story I read was Dean Karnazes’ Ultramarathon Man. I quickly moved on to 50/50 (as in 50 marathons in 50 days: a book I recently re-read — because there’s nothing like training for a marathon and reading about a guy who breezes through ’em day after day, no big deal!)

Just go ahead and read all his books, you won’t regret it!

Next up for me are these two (picked them up at the library today). I’m already hooked on Chrissie Wellington’s A Life Without Limits — what an amazing woman!

And, of course, let’s not forget the mother of all mother-running books, Train Like a Mother: fun, full of practical tips, effective training plans (for me, at least), and truly inspiring!


I don’t know why running movies aren’t more popular. Doesn’t everyone enjoy watching documentaries of people sweating through deserts or training for marathons? Shock. Anyway. Here are some of the running movies that top my list:

Three people set out to run through the Sahara Desert, they hope, within 90 days. Not to spoil it for you, but it takes them a little longer. A great movie on endurance, the strength of the human spirit… and exhaustion-induced crankiness.

Just a movie about six people training for the Chicago Marathon. You can’t watch it without visualizing yourself in place of one of those runners, I guarantee.

The story of Fred Lebow, founder of the New York Road Runners way back when the sport was far from popular… and entry into the New York City Marathon cost a dollar.

I actually haven’t seen this one yet… can you believe it? To be rectified by tomorrow night, at the very latest.


I dare you to watch the Ironman World Championship: Kona broadcast on NBC and not a) cry, and b) want to go out and run at least a half marathon. right.this.second. Al Trautwig narrates. Seriously, I want this guy to come and narrate my runs — all of them.

And don’t tell anyone I said that, but you can find most of the videos on YouTube. They’re not supposed to be there, of course, and there’s no guarantee how long until they’re removed. Meanwhile, enjoy: 2012; 2011; 2010.

Your turn: what inspires you to run? Or run-bike-swim?

Today’s run:

A cold and windy one, easy pace, with a library stop at the end. If you ever see a lady in running gear burst through your library, grab a bunch of books from the “on call” shelf and run to checkout, all while dripping sweat everywhere… then we likely go to the same library. Be sure to say hi.

6 thoughts on “Inspiration In a Box

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  • January 15, 2013 at 7:46 am

    Haven’t seen or read any of those movies/books…so thanks.

    At the moment, the Biggest Loser is motivating me to train. I find the programme so emotional (even though I know my emotions are being manipulated) and I find myself working out harder if I think of them slaving away.

    • January 15, 2013 at 8:25 am

      It’s weird, I have not watched one single BL episode — and actually have yet to hear someone give it a bad review! Should start watching on Hulu! (Also, I’ve heard these people run a marathon at the end, so that should be fun!)

  • January 15, 2013 at 7:00 am

    I found Eat & Run really inspiring, and it changed the way I looked at my diet. Also, i’m a nerd, so I get a total kick out of reading The Lore of Running, which sounds like a running journey, but it’s really a textbook. 🙂

    • January 15, 2013 at 8:29 am

      You’re the second person to mention that book to me in two days! I don’t think I could ever become vegan, but I’d read it with interest. The Lore of Running looks like a very useful read, too: thanks for the recommendations!


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