What’s Your Motivation?
Today as I sat editing, reading, and writing. The material was heavy. I knew this dank, cloudy, practically snowless winter had truly gotten to me by now. Along with other recent stresses, I hadn’t yet pulled out of the Covid-mode of life. Or so it seemed. It’s not that I’m social. I do that because I have to, not because I want to. Socialize that is. You cannot wrestle or grapple or box with yourself.
I claimed to myself that it was the temporary healthy thing to do for our children—and besides I knew cash would be tighter if I’d gone back into any gym of any real value with my rolling gi or no-gi. Refraining from fighting and grappling would give me plenty of time to go back to school, learn something new, be open for any new job opportunity that came along. Also, it would afford me more time to write and edit books and screenplays. And the money I’d save not rolling with my gi and no-gi buddies, I could use to enter writing competitions. And so, I did.
The problem with much of the material I write in my novels is that I become part of each of the 180 characters I’m writing about. And if they’re committing a crime, sometimes I know what’s next. Sometimes I don’t. I have to stretch my brain for that. I get into the heat of the battle. Part of my persona is to push past my limits in whatever I do. I remember the first time I ran mostly the west coast of the state of New Jersey from Port Jervis to the Cape May Lighthouse, it was in April 2006.
I had just become a mom for the second time in late October 2005. And my therapy business was booming. Too, I’d reentered the world of my idea of getting past writing prose and into writing my first book. That, was influenced by some triathletes who knew me as the ‘Crazy Runner’. They thought the Ironman events they did were sane compared to my 50K to Badwater 135-mile desert races. And my somewhat midnight or 1 or 2 am training runs before child-care and work were nuts. I told them, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”.
Going back to that first one way run of New Jersey in 2006. I’d desired to do something like this run since late 1998.
“I’d love to run on the Garden State Parkway the entire way. Imagine that Tommy?!” I said to my once in a while running partner Tommy B. I’d practically yelped with joy that day as we’d slugged together on a long run, in a nearby park.
“That’d be something. Who’d shut it down?” Tom commented.
“State Troopers would love a no car day on the Garden State Parkway. I mean like it could be a freakin’ holiday in the state of New Jersey. No one goes nowhere in a vehicle. Emergency use only for one day. And it would all be for charity.” I angled back.
“Ahhhhhh. But it would be neat.” Tom replied. I nodded as we ran past mile 23.
“I’d say.” I remarked.
So here I was nearly halfway at twenty hours into a 212-mile charity run I’d organized a solo attempt to raise thousands of dollars for a special children’s fund. Phil McCarthy and I had passed out on a curb in Princeton Junction. One of my best friends Fran (passed 10/2008, a Tuesday) looked down at me waking up from my three-minute curbed nap. Phil was helped up into her car passenger side seat by my husband (passed 7/2020, a Sunday) and Fran’s boyfriend, Jon. I squinted up at Fran, “I think I need five minutes.” Fran smiled at me, as she shook her head of blonde hair, she said, “Did you bite off more than you could chew?” Well, I never told her this. But that pissed me off so much—I decided that wasn’t the case. I’d be damned if I thought I was done.
“Get me in the back of the wagon. Stay parked. Let me sleep ten minutes. I’ll need a black coffee and half a plain cruller when I wake up. And I’ll be good to go.” I remarked—and so, I was. Twenty-two minutes later my body became a machine again.
“You want breakfast?!” Fran called out, as I ran.
“Yeah!” I replied.
“Bagel?!” She called back.
“Yeah! A salt bagel, turkey, mustard, salt, and pepper. Coffee! Black!” I called back.
“Phil’s coming back out after we get you guys some food!” Norm called out.
“Great! My brain’s still fuzzy. Need some entertainment!” I called back.
Fifteen minutes later, I ran bagel sandwich in hand slowly, stopped and sipped some hot black coffee for a minute as Phil jogged up to me. Then Phil rejoined me. Later that night my friend Dr. Jim Manning (passed April 2016) would take over through the night, replacing the six others that had been with me through the night before and the day that now turned into evening.
Jim would drive his Subaru Forrester, leap frogging me. He’d blasted WOR-AM radio for me to hear some of Dr. Ron Hoffman’s show. Then Jim would leapfrog me and minutes later had pulled over on the dark empty roadside across from me.
“So did you hear what Ron just said?!” Jim called out from across the roadway. He and Ron were friends. I don’t think Ron could ever figure Jim out. Jim was quite frank with me. Even though he knew Ron a lot longer than I had. I felt like I knew more about Jim than Ron did. As we had our classic moments every ten weeks on a Saturday dinner time. Norm and I would have Jim over from five to ten at night. I’d make a prime rib meal, greens, homemade apple pie and homemade ice cream. Jim would bring the special beer. Jim knew good beer.
My husband and I adopted Jim as the son we would’ve wanted. Although Jim was ten years Norm’s senior. Norm and I held off telling Jim for about six years that we’d adopted him as our only son. Yes laughter ensued. Norm and Jim were good hiking buddies. And occasionally had a pancake breakfast out together. And finally, I found someone I could talk physiology with. Yes the three of us, after our daughters finished dinner and either fall asleep in one of our laps on the couch or they’d go play or watch TV upstairs. We’d have adult talk about spirituality, politics, physiology. Basically, every subject was game.
So, as I digress back to what’s your motivation. As I knew writing, editing and such usually wore me down mentally. It is to the point, when I do five or six hours of writing, editing and such before I run—I become mentally beat up that it nearly destroys my will to run. Then I remind myself, that running is the very thing that opens up my creative mind. Or as my ultra-running coach and now friend Dante Ciolfi had said to me over twenty years ago, “I run to fight my demons.”
However, I also know that I fight the demons of many things, naysayers of past and present. Those who said I would never last. Or that girls turn into women and change their mind, so as not want to run anymore for some mystical reason. Those experts who said I was done running so many times now I’ve lost count. Even the medical professionals from March 27th, 1984, gave me the biggest blow to my running. Six weeks before my wedding day, they told me I’d never run again. And if I tried to run three times a week within a handful of years I’d be done completely. Another expert told me eighteen months later I would drop dead next marathon I’d attempted. So, my normal procedure had been and still is. You tell me ‘no’. My body says, ‘Oh yeah.’
Yes, I have every excuse in the world to never try again. But my running is to my health, to stomp out those negative vibes and remarks of past and present. To change minds that can bend and produce good things if they’re shown the way. And sometimes to raise charitable funds. That’s what made me get out and run this afternoon when I didn’t want to, due to exhaustion. I asked myself, “How will you ever live your dreams if you give up from exhaustion?” The lesson every day—is the mind must be stretched regularly. Only intuition matters. The brain is a second-class citizen. ---Jody-Lynn Reicher
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