Keeping Me on My Toes

By: Hannah Steffen

These past few months have definitely been amazing. I’ve grown really close to my teammates, had some challenging workouts, and have really been focusing on ways to push myself. Additionally, I haven’t missed a day of running in over a month. I have also only run by myself a couple times in the past month, which is awesome. I don’t mind running by myself, but it helps to know someone else is waiting out there for me. This holds me accountable. Recently, I hung out with my uncle who lives in Austin, as I often do, and we got to talking about my passion for running. He asked me a simple question that, surprisingly, I’ve never really considered.

Why do you run?

I laughed at the question because there are numerous answers for me and I didn’t really think he wanted to have a long, drawn-out conversation. But, it got me thinking.

When I thought about why I love running, I realized I go through what any non-professional athlete experiences about running for workouts. Like any normal person, I sometimes moan and groan about going to bed at night knowing that I have to wake up insanely early and go for a run. Sure, some days I get excited. I’ll get my clothes set out, put a pair of socks in my trainers, get a water bottle ready, which helps me get pumped for waking up to a hard workout in the A.M. But I’m not always excited to run.

So, what’s my motivation? First of all, my teammates motivate me. I have had my fair share of workouts with the Team Rogue Elite ladies. However, I’ve never utilized my teammates and their talents as I am able to do now. In addition, last year I wasn’t half as dedicated to running as I am now. My teammates keep me going at it. They keep me moving, disciplined, and wanting/desiring to be great. They hold me accountable, they get ticked off when I wake up late and miss a workout, and they give me such a hard time if I’m not working hard every day. I joke about Kara whooping me if I’m late, but seriously I feel defeated if I let her down! Haha!

Secondly, life in Austin keeps me motivated. Not only because Austinites are very active, but because I moved to Austin to be a part of this team. Not to be closer to family that lives here, not for a job, but to run for a team that, as Steve Sisson cleverly puts it, has “big ass hairy goals.” I joined a team with guts. I run for the challenge, for days when I feel like I can’t possibly finish a workout, and for the excitement and anticipation of a race.

Even though I haven’t raced in a long time, I’m a competitor. I love to compete in workouts. I like the feeling of being at the front of the pack, of setting the pace. I like knowing the person running alongside me has put in just as many miles, worked just as hard and is hurting just like me to complete the workout. But most of all, I love the sick feeling I get in my stomach the day before the race. I like the motivating speeches I get from coaches the night before. I like showing up the day of the race and having my heart sink when I see my opponents. I like the feel of putting on my spikes and knowing I’ve got to leave everything on the track, knowing that that race defines and displays the work I’ve put in.

I like pushing my body to the next level. This is why I am in Austin – to see how far I can reach in the elite running world. There’s not a simple answer to my uncle’s question, but running has become a part of my life and Austin has made it my focus.

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