After attempting to register for Boston Marathon the week of September 21st, 2015, I was disappointed to find out that I did not make the cut. Fortunately in January, 2016, I was notified by Clif Bar that I have been selected to run with them. You can read about this turn of events here.

But back in the fall, in search of some motivation, I wrote to an elite runner that I highly respect, Tina Muir. My letter and her response are below. I wanted to share her motivational response on my blog- enjoy!

*Dear Tina:

I am a huge fan of the Runners Connect podcast and have loved all of your interviews! You are truly an inspiration to us runners, so thank you for all that you do.

I have a quick story for you: I am born and raised in the Boston, Massachusetts area, and have wanted to run the Boston Marathon since I was young. I first tried to qualify in 2011 (Disney Marathon).  I thought I was successful, coming in under 3 hours and 40 minutes. At the time, everyone in my category qualified if they ran under 3 hours and 41 minutes. However, later that year the BAA modified standards for qualification and I missed the cut by 18 seconds.

Earlier this year, I dedicated myself to qualifying under the new standards. I trained hard all summer and ran a marathon (Big Cottonwood Canyon, UT) nearly two minutes under the qualifying time (3:33:06, a BQ-1:54). Under the cutoffs from the last few years, I would have qualified. Unfortunately, I was notified last week that I was rejected due to field size limitations and an increased number of registrants. The cutoff time for 2016 was significantly faster than previous years, and I missed the cut by 34 seconds.

Given the news, I will now have to modify my goal. After some thought, I decided to sign up for another marathon in the spring and try to qualify again, but am lacking motivation to dedicate another half a year to train for this race. They say that rejection can mean a nudge in a better direction, but for some reason I am having a hard time visualizing success, and so am asking for your advice on motivation. I know that you have been through some highs and lows with regards to running, much like all of us, and I was wondering what you do to inspire yourself to run your best after a disappointing race or training cycle? I would appreciate any tips and tricks you have! Thank you so much for your help.

*Dear Jane:

Thank you for your kind words, that really means a lot to me, and is why I do what I do as it helps to know I am helping others. I really want to make a difference in this world to helping people realize how great they are.

Thanks for sharing your story. I have talked to quite a few people who were heartbroken by the Boston application process this year, it makes me sad to think about as I can only imagine how those few precious seconds could change your whole life.

It is not surprising that you are having a hard time motivating yourself after those two heartbreaking years in a row, but it makes me wonder if you should move away from that for a little while and just let it happen, rather than making that the end all goal. I have done that before, where I have become obsessed with a goal, and when I keep missing it (feeling like you “fail”), it not only makes you unhappy in other areas, but it sucks all the fun out of it as you fee like you “NEED” to do it, rather than realizing after all, this is something we do for fun at the end of the day.

My best advice for you would be to find a spring marathon that looks truly fun to do. Do not worry so much about time, but instead find a race that has beautiful scenery, or is in a place you always wanted to go, to make it more about the experience, and how you can enjoy the process of running a marathon. I find when you try to force things, that is when they usually do not happen. I would try to change your thinking away from succeeding, and instead focus on enjoying. Did you read my posts about the London marathon before and the race itself? I think that will help you as I was in that same mindset as you were I “HAD” to break 2:40, and then when I “failed” twice, I became obsessed, but for London I focused on enjoying and it brought it all back for me, what is most important. I think that’s what you need too.

I also wrote a post on how to stay focused when you stop running PRs, that might also help.
Let me know if you can’t find them. Hang in there, I am happy to help!

-Tina Muir


Taking a little breather from running this fall and walking in the woods with friends!