January 11, 2021

Motivational Monday #141

I'm excited to share a couple of stories for Motivational Monday today! It's been a long time. I only have two, but I feel like sharing a couple of longer stories might be even better than several shorter ones. Remember, though, I can only post Motivational Monday stories if you submit them! (See bottom of post for how to do that.)


Erin at the top of Mt. Whitney, elevation of 14,505 feet! Taken 3 years ago.

"My triumph is that I have walked 5,000+ steps each day for the past week--6 weeks after having an artificial disc replacement at one level in my lower spine, and a fusion at the level below that. It was a major surgery in many ways (I have a 9 inch scar diagonally across my stomach because they go through the abdomen to reach the spine). I am only 42 and I’m so thrilled to have some mobility again!

Back story - I was an extremely active person in my 20s and much of my 30s--teaching aerobics and spinning classes, weight lifting, running races, climbing mountains and traveling the world--until back pain started slowing me down around age 38. I treated it conservatively with chiropractor (worthless) and yoga (probably made it worse).

Spine surgeons told me to deal with it as my “new normal”, which I did until I truly could hardly function without extreme pain. Everything except stationary bicycling hurt. I could push through many things but constantly had pain. I started seeking a real diagnosis.

It turns out that I had two crushed discs in my lower back and my vertebrae were scraping against each other (yep, painful). I had 10 smaller back procedures (injections, nerve ablations, etc) over the past year (trying to avoid the big surgery). I can’t believe I waited to do this- I feel soooo much better already and I’m only 6 weeks out (recovery can take a year).

You don’t realize how lucky you are to be active until you can’t be. I’m so excited to have less pain! Moral of the story for me is that there’s no reason to suffer- seek a diagnosis and get it treated."



"The year 2020 was the year that did not end the way anyone expected at the beginning! I started the year out by planning to beat my previous year’s running mileage goal. I had run 524 miles in 2012--a year that I'd run 3 half marathons.

I originally had plans for distance races in 2020; I was considering half marathons and/or a Ragnar--a relay race where your team covers 200 miles and each person covers 16 or so miles over three runs. The pandemic changed my plans quite a bit!

I wound up participating in a few virtual 5Ks but nothing more. I ultimately decided to shoot for 600 miles for the year, thinking 50 miles per month. That did not happen each month--I got burned out in July and only ran 4 times that month!

Reading Katie’s blog has turned me onto MAF running, where you run at an easy heart rate. I think it has helped me a lot. I suffered a variety of running injuries in the past but running easy has been keeping injuries at bay. I have primarily run shorter distances and run more frequently. I surpassed 524 miles in early November so it was a great feeling to meet my original goal with weeks to spare!

I am not sure what’s in store for 2021.  For now, I plan to stick with my running, and I hope to add in some speed work. I will also work on streaks with my Apple Watch activity rings."

A huge congrats to Erin and Jen! I can totally empathize with Erin's back pain (although mine clearly isn't as severe). It's super frustrating to have pain and no answers! And I knew Jen was aiming for this goal of 600 miles, so I was thrilled when I saw that she did it. A fellow Michigander, Jen has been a reader for years--and I was lucky enough to meet up with her last year!

I LOVE to read "yay me!" stories for Motivational Monday--remember, you can shamelessly brag about anything you've accomplished. I want to keep posting these, but I need submissions. So, please send them--brag away.

To submit an accomplishment, just send your story and a photo or two to: Katie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com. Motivate us! :)


  1. Love these. Looking forward to more. So inspiring!

    1. You should submit one yourself! You have so many things to inspire people :)

  2. Congratulations Jen and Erin!


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