Finding Increased Running Motivation & Inspiration After Portland

Happy Saturday! I’m usually absent from the blog during the weekend, but since I don’t have a long run planned for today for the first time in forever I thought I would post since I have all this free time on my hands!

I know I promised no more marathon talk for a little while, but as it turns out I CAN’T STOP TALKING ABOUT IT!

Since learning that the total elevation gain in Portland was almost 750 feet I started wondering what the elevation profiles are for other popular marathons – luckily I found this chart on!


(Doesn’t this make you want to run the London Marathon?!)

The day of the Portland Marathon and the first couple of days following it I thought of the elevation gain in PDX as a negative because it slowed me down and hurt quite a bit. But now I am thinking of it as a positive! This Florida girl hung in there!

Leading up to the race my coach wrote the words “surprise yourself” in my training log next to the words “Portland Marathon.”

If I had run a flatter course here in Florida I may have met my time goals but I don’t think I would have surprised myself – I think I would have done just enough to reach my easiest goal. Knowing I made it through 700+ feet of elevation gain really surprises me and is becoming a strong source of personal inspiration.


I think we can be highly motivated and inspired by outside sources, but inner motivation is what really drives us to excel in the midst of a race.

We can watch all the inspiring running documentaries we want, pin 500 motivational pictures on Pinterest, read ALL the running blogs in the world, but on race day we have to dig deep inside of ourselves to really push forward. 

This ability to dig deep is something I have lacked since I started running in 2012. More often than not I have felt disappointed after a race and have no one to blame but myself.

I think I found my ability to dig deep in Portland.

Immediately following the race I thought I had mostly failed myself again, but seeing the elevation gain for the marathon has surprised me in a good way. I am now proud of myself for accomplishing something that, had I known what to expect, would have intimidated me too much to even try.

I really feel like the entire Portland Marathon experience has helped me to locate the inner motivation and confidence I couldn’t find in all of my prior races.

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 10.40.33 PM

These feelings were too raw and new to really help me in Portland, but I think they will really help when I take on my next three half marathons during the Florida Storm Series this winter. 

The only way to know for sure is to hit the starting line again  – which I am beyond excited to do!

How did you find the inner motivation that allows you to dig deep and perform your best on race day? Was it always there, or did you have an a-ha moment like me?



  1. October 11, 2014 / 5:18 am

    One thing that helps me push through tough obstacles on race day is by challenging myself during training. When I was training for my first marathon we got a random snowstorm in October which I ran 20 miles through. I was then able to tell myself that if I could run through that, I could run through anything:)

    • October 12, 2014 / 10:48 am

      WOW! That’s incredible! I think I could have challenged myself more during marathon training. Instead of breaking up my runs between half outdoors and half on the treadmill, I could have run completely outdoors to get more acclimated to the heat… although I didn’t think it would be so hot in Portland! I thought by training indoors I was actually training in the temp. I’d be running in on race day, hah!

  2. October 11, 2014 / 7:42 am

    Running, more than anything has taught me that if I rely on myself, I will GET IT DONE. I became so much more confident as a person after running long, difficult distances. Pushing myself mentally and physically when I felt very low, and then coming out on the other side in one piece- over, and over, and over again is just a constant reminder to myself that I CAN GET SHIT DONE. And I don’t mean running shit. I mean, LIFE shit. I am sure you know what I’m talking about.

    • October 12, 2014 / 10:50 am

      That makes so much sense! Running most definitely helps us learn to be strong during the tough times.

      Whenever I’m having a bad day at work I think of running and tell myself I can do hard things 😉

  3. October 11, 2014 / 8:03 am

    When I am very goal oriented I can push hard….if I feel healthy that is. Usually it’s visualizing something I want so badly that helps me get things done. I want to tell you how inspired I am by your blog Kristina. Your posts are always so great!

    • October 12, 2014 / 10:52 am

      You are such a strong runner, Heather! All of your race pictures always show you looking so amazing and powerful on the course. During my marathon I actually thought about you and what an awesome racer you are!

  4. October 11, 2014 / 8:54 am

    For YEARS I ran races just to finish–not really challenging myself to dig deep. I tend to shy away from making challenging goals. During this course of training, having the ability to see my times/paces drop through progressively longer races has GREATLY increased my confidence and ability to dig deep. I also find like Lisa challenging myself during training really helps too–not just challenging myself with paces, but with getting myself out of my comfort zone–running with my husband (He is faster than me), running on the treadmill, doing a long run without a podcast, sometimes even doing a very familiar running route backwards–I am a creature of habit, doing a track workout, running at different times of the day…

    • October 12, 2014 / 10:59 am

      I wish Adam would run with me more often since he is much faster than me and could definitely help me push the pace … but he dislikes running so much! I am just appreciative that he runs one or two 5Ks a year 🙂

      It’s been really inspiring to follow along with your training these last couple of months. I’m so glad you started to blog this year!

  5. October 11, 2014 / 11:32 am

    I love this whole post Kristina 🙂 I am learning mostly on regular runs how to dig deep and how to take a break if needed. I don’t race much, I hope I can dig deep during the Richmond Half and pull off a great race, but it doesn’t go perfect I don’t think i will view as total failure like I did my half last year. That stupid half still bugs me at times that’s mostly why I hope Nov. 15th is a good day – maybe it’ll kind of erase it.

    • October 12, 2014 / 11:04 am

      I bet you’ll have a great day at Richmond!

      I like to always keep in mind that even the elite runners that we hold in super high reverence sometimes have bad races. If bad races can happen for them, they most definitely can happen for the rest of us. That being said, we still respect them so much, and I still respect your running so much!! Plus, we’re still pretty new to this running thing, only two years in!

  6. October 11, 2014 / 12:52 pm

    So true that now you know you are capable of digging deep and really pushing past the point that you thought you were capable of!!! I know that the Portland marathon will be something that will stick with you forever and be a building block for all of your future running goals!!!

    • October 12, 2014 / 11:07 am

      A building block is such a great way to put it – it was really a life changing experience for me!

  7. October 11, 2014 / 9:39 pm

    This is a great way to look at it, I guess those coaches come in handy lol.

  8. October 12, 2014 / 7:42 am

    Thanks for sharing the course map! Those are really interesting.

    • October 12, 2014 / 6:57 pm

      When I look at that course map and think back to my trip to London I can’t help but REALLY want to run the London Marathon sometime soon! Well soon-ish! 🙂

  9. October 12, 2014 / 6:08 pm

    YoU truly amaze me. You have such a great knack for seeing the good in any situation. I love that you realize that the hills forced you to overcome something you’d never try otherwise and now you know how strong you really are. What an amazing mindset!!

    • October 12, 2014 / 7:00 pm

      It took a couple of days before I could really process what happened and come to terms with it, but Portland will forever be my first marathon and I HAD to find the positives in it so that I could file it under Learning Experience instead of Failure. I mean, every single race we do, good or bad, should be a learning experience, right?!