Elemental Motivation Part 3: Running for Love

Our previous two posts in the Elemental Motivation series (Part 1, Part 2) focused on far darker motivations than the topic of this week’s post, love. Running with hatred and vengeance served their purpose for me but neither is sustainable. When one looks at the greats of history, all their achievements were reached through love. In running it is no different; I cannot think of a single great runner who has not been fueled by love. Ryan Hall, Meb, Kara Goucher, Desi Davila, the list goes on. All of these individuals have love flowing through every fiber of their body as evidenced by their running, smiles, charities, and achievements.

For the past two years I have had a hard time coming to grips with the word love. In fact, I despised it and criticized those who chose to believe in it. Sure I loved my friends and family, but even with them I was distant. At the time it was far easier to shut myself off, give up emotion, and scoff at the thought. I believed it was for the weak and needy and I couldn’t stand it. I held true that invincibility and invulnerability were true strength, something that love could not touch. However, as of late, my viewpoint on this has been evolving.

Over the past week I have been attempting to think back to the exact point when I began to run with love as a motivator. I believe it was a gradual process that occurred unbeknownst to me. The best pieces of evidence I have are the Boston and NYC Marathons. I am extremely fortunate to have such amazing friends and family who love me dearly. They follow me to my races all around the country to be my cheering section, emotional support, and so much more. After the Boston Marathon I winded my way through blustery streets, silver cape in tow, only wanting one thing, my friends and family. When I found them, I couldn’t hold back the raw emotion within me and my eyes began to well. It was so amazing to me that this group of people cared so much for me that they would assemble themselves along a 26.2 mile course simply to cheer me on, only to see me for a split second. NYC was much of the same, complete with a group of friends who traveled from a city I no longer lived in just to watch me race. Their enthusiasm was phenomenal as they hung over the barricades screaming and jumping for me. I couldn’t help but quicken my pace as the wave of their love and encouragement flowed through my body.

Boston and My Family

My amazing family and cheering section post Boston Marathon

I am now at a point in my life where I am fully trying to give myself up to the idea of love. I am calling myself out on my greatest weakness and working to eliminate it. “Sigh No More” by Mumford in Sons in particular has helped me to identify what it is exactly that I am looking for and desiring: “Love it will not betray you, dismay or enslave you, it will set you free, be more like the man you were made to be. There is a design, an alignment to cry, of my heart to see the beauty of love as it was made to be.” These words are hauntingly beautiful to me and a perfect encapsulation of the power of love. I can say for certain that when I am gutting out my run during Ironman St. George in 2 months, my thoughts will not be of hatred and revenge, they will simply be of love. My mind will flash to memories of friends, family, charities, Iowa, California, THON, PSU Crew, club XC, and so many more. My challenge to you this week is simply to think of all you love while you run. I have a feeling you’ll be amazed by how much there is and how great of a run you have. Next week will be the fourth part of the 5 part elemental motivation series focusing on a team that showed me a love I could never have imagined during a time I needed it most.

Always in Stride,


NYC and Friends

Me at mile 25 during NYC Marathon blowing kisses to my friends who made the trip out to cheer me on!

Quote of the Week – “Well I can see you’re in pain and I know that there’s something wrong. I know that you have been angry, I know that you’ve seen hate. But you gotta dig deep to the heavens above sit down, learn and create. Ya gotta lose all your anger, lose all your hate, it ain’t gonna work no more. I wish the world was run by love, absolutely nothing more.” – O.A.R.

Song of the Week – Mumford and Sons – Sigh No More

Video of the Week – Ryan Hall Running for Love

4 replies
  1. Nate Smith
    Nate Smith says:

    I equate the type of love you’re talking about here to passion. Finding passion is difficult, especially in a society that is all about routine, immediate gratification, and convenience. Passion cannot be found in any of those things. It takes time, it takes energy, and it takes dedication. Sometimes it also takes losses to realize what we are passionate about. And sometimes it takes the passion of others pushing us on. The cool thing about passion? It’s hard to dissolve. So once we’ve found it, and begin using it, it’s hard to get rid of it. Good thing, too, or I’d probably not be teaching anymore. :)

    • calijackmc
      calijackmc says:

      Nate, that was extremely well said! Thank you so much for sharing! It really is amazing how passion is so hard to dissolve. I have never really thought about it that way but its a whole new perspective I love. I just may have to make a post dedicated to just that!


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