Running to Some Feel Good Stories

2020 was a tough year. 2021 was another tough year. 2022…I guess we’ll have to see. And I’ll be honest, I’ve been struggling with my running. My motivation and consistency has come and gone many times and I’m sure that I am not alone in this.

So, what do we do? How do we bust the rut that we’re in and start to feel good again?

I don’t know about you, but I love to hear a good, inspiring story. Something about hearing about someone overcoming odds, achieving something unfathomable, and just plain being a bad ass can be all you need to get out the door all jazzed up to take on the world. 

If you have read my posts before, you might know that I am a sucker for a good podcast. This post though, is going to focus on a few feel good stories that you may or may not have heard of from the running world in the past year. Right now, I think maybe everyone could use something to feel good about and finding some inspiration from some of these amazing stories might be just the thing you need. .

*Listener warning: Lanni delves into potentially triggering topics such as eating disorders, suicide, drug addition, depression, alcoholism. Please listen with caution.*

Good News Story: Canadian Olympian, Lanni Marchant overcame a harrowing past 5 years filled with personal and professional challenges to place 11th at the 2021 NYC Marathon!! 

This first interview is from the “I’ll Have Another Podcast” with Lindsey Hein, and she interviews the amazing Canadian Olympian, Lanni Marchant. The interview is raw and filled with emotion as Lanni tells her story of overcoming incredible obstacles, trauma, and grief over the last few years. 

I had the honour of meeting Lanni way back when I was about to tackle my very first half marathon, and I remember two things: being absolutely star struck to be talking with this incredible athlete and also how incredibly kind she was. I remember saying that I was “just doing the half” when she asked what I was racing and she stopped me and said, “it’s not ‘just’, you’re doing it, so be proud”.  

In this interview, Lanni articulates what I’m sure a lot of people have been feeling over the past few years, although she has been dealing with much more than the pandemic. She has encountered wave after wave of trauma and the amount that she has had to deal with is almost overwhelming to hear about. She is absolutely inspiring in her resilience and everything about her story and attitude is incredible. She leaves listeners with an amazing quote at the end, “Keep treading water…Tread water until you’re certain you can swim to shore yourself”. There are so many people dealing with so many waves just crashing down on top of them, waves of whatever you might be dealing with – trauma, heartbreak, stress, overload – and this quote encourages you to do what you need to do to withstand it, keep your head above water, and then, when you’re ready, swim in. Know that you are strong and take that journey in, but there is nothing wrong with treading water until you are ready. Love that. 

Good News Story: Molly Seidel, running just her third marathon ever, wins the Bronze medal in an inspiring performance at the Tokyo Olympics and then just a few months later, breaks the course record for American women and places 4th at the 2021 NYC Marathon! 

Okay, if you have not heard of Molly Seidel, I’d like to introduce you to the most bad ass, hilarious, and “don’t take yourself too seriously and then go out and win a bronze medal in the Olympics” runner in the world. Molly has been all over the running world in the past few years, qualifying for the Olympic Team at the US Trials in her very first marathon and then continuing to show up and kick all kinds of ass in every race she has been in. Through it all, she has an infectious personality and humour that is on full display in this interview with Alli Feller on the Alli on the Run podcast. She shares what it was like to be in the Olympic Village, how she made sure to keep things light by doing things like bringing googly eyes to the Village and placing them on every condiment bottle in the cafeteria, all while taking her running to inspiring heights. 

Molly then ran the NYC Marathon a few short months later and was even caught on camera high fiving some fans all en route to running an American Course Record and finishing in 4th place. Oh, she also did it with cracked ribs. She does everything with her trademark ‘Full Send’ approach and whether it is running a Slowest Mile race, running a Turkey Trot in yes, a full turkey costume, or winning an Olympic Bronze medal, I think her attitude is exactly what a lot of us need. Full Send Everything. 

Good News Story: After having retired from competition and having major surgery to repair her knees, professional runner Shalane Flanagan decided to run all 6 World Marathon Major races in the span of 42 days! Project Eclipse (as it was named) culminated at the NYC Marathon and Shalane ran all marathons under 2:47:00!! 

And finally, this is Shalane Flanagan. Retired professional runner, Olympian, New York City Marathon Champion, cookbook author, new mom, and freaking running icon. If you can’t tell, I have been a fan of Shalane Flanagan’s for a long time and this past year, her good news story is shake-my-head incredible. Shalane looked at the calendar of the World Marathon Majors that had been postponed and moved to the fall and thought, ‘wow, wouldn’t it be amazing if someone ran all 6 World Marathon Majors in a row?’ Before she thought, ‘why not me?’ 

Shalane began Project Eclipse back in September 2021 and in this podcast, she talks about the daunting feat of running 6 marathons–Berlin, London, Chicago, Boston, Tokyo (Virtual) and NYC–all in the span of 42 days. She gives some insight into the logistics of traveling to so many different races (with the nightmare travel schedule of completing Chicago and then flying to Boston – running each marathon on back to back days), talks about her motivation for attempting this project, and also how motherhood has changed her training and perspective. 

This whole project could have been written for a movie. Something that I can hardly believe – but it happened. She did it. One take away that stuck with me from this interview was that Shalane says that even for her, sometimes the motivation just isn’t there. But her mantra throughout this endeavor has been “Mood Follows Action”. Meaning that sometimes, it’s not that you feel good so you go run, but instead you run so that you then feel good. That one is going to stick with me for sure. 

Okay, it may sound like this whole post has been an excuse for me to just fan over some of my professional running heroes. And it kind of is. But, really, I’d like to think that there are lots of people who can find some sort of inspiration from these stories. Some fun from Molly, some grit from Lanni, and some drive to shoot for the moon from Shalane. If you had never heard of these women and their accomplishments over the past year, I hope that you do check them out. These podcasts are a great way to learn about just some of the things that they have accomplished. And I hope that their feel good stories did just that – make you feel good so that you can go out and create your own stories. 

Featured Images:

Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash