As part of my blog I (MM) believe it’s important to share common and similar experiences. I’d like to introduce you to Morgan (MG) who talks about the positive impact running has in her life.
MM: In your experience from the work you do, how important is the link between physical health and mental health?
MG: I grew up practicing yoga which is where I first learned about the mind body connection (yoga literally means “union” for this reason). It was very natural to see this same connection through running and so the two have always been intertwined for me. Whether you’re into yoga or not, I think most runners can relate that they have less stress, think clearer and generally feel mood improvement when they run. Likewise, when they hone in the mental side of running and racing their performances and experiences improve!
MM: As an athlete you’ve worked with amazing athletes like, Deena Kastor and Meb Keflezighi. What traits do you and your fellow colleagues have which make you successful, that non professional athletes can implement?
MG: Living and training in Mammoth Lakes with the Mammoth Track Club gives me the opportunity to train and learn from the best athletes in the world on a daily basis. I think most non-pros would be surprised at how simple the “pro” life is–nothing fancy just getting in the training, eating well, resting and enjoying the camaraderie of other athletes elevating themselves at 8,000 feet to reach peak performances. The common thing I have seen in top athletes like Meb, Deena, Morgan Uceny, Alexi Pappas, Desiree Davila and Jen Rhines is tremendous humility. They all run and compete because they love it for what it is. Deena is a huge advocate of focusing on gratitude to create an environment within and without that sets the stage for positive performances and I know this sets the tone for the entire Mammoth Track Club and anyone that trains up here. She recommends that runners keep a daily gratitude journal and the practice is now part of my nightly routine. Try it!
MM: You’ve been running since an early age. How do you keep running fun and how do you stay motivated?
MG: Hitting the trails last year completely rejuvenated my love and fun approach to running. I look forward to seeing the world powered by my two feet and am motivated by the curiosity to see what’s over the next hill, around the bend or even the top of a mountain. I find that this pushes me farther than a set time or performance goal but makes me incredibly fit in the process. I also remind myself all the time that “it’s just running.” There is a lot of crazy stuff happening in the world and even just normal life stuff and running at it’s core should always be a simple and fun release.
MM: What is one of your favourite running experiences?
MG: There are too many to count! I ran up the 14, 200 foot White mountain near my house this summer and discovered a strength and ability within myself that I never knew I had. The view at the top made the long, steep and oxygen-less climb worth it. After realizing that it allowed me to go on so many more incredible running adventures so I am extremely grateful for this run.
MM: When you meet a challenge, what’s your thought process for overcoming it?
MG: It’s an opportunity! I thrive on challenge, if it were easy it wouldn’t be exciting. Strong feels much better than easy. And of course, it all goes to shit then it will probably be a great story!
MM: You have a great social media presence. If you could accomplish anything via social media what would it be?
MG: To never be bored! Go live your life, explore, listen to the stories of others, tell your own stories and push yourself beyond your comfort zone! I love hearing from people who were inspired to try something they’ve never done before or thought was impossible. We all have doubts, but when we can face tough things with a fun spirit and remove expectations to take the ride….that’s when magic happens!
MM: You have personally motivated and inspired many other runners in similar ways. But in motivating so many people, who motivates you?
MG: Running is something I am very intrinsicly motivated to do. I simply love it and am driven to experience the many cycles of growth it pushes me into. That said, my circle of girlfriends are honestly some of the most inspirational people in the world. I’m so humbled and grateful to have them in my life. I learn from each of them and their unique gifts and we each push and encourage each other to follow our dreams and pursue our passions. When the circle includes Olympic medalist Deena Kastor, journalist Monica Prelle, Olympian/Filmaker Alexi Pappas, trail legend Jenn Shelton and pioneer “Born Wild” Mamma Shannon Robertson motivation literally permeates the air. I truly believe Mammoth Lakes is a special place that inspires and motivates each of us as well which is why we have flocked to run, live and write there.
MM: What one lesson which you’ve learnt in running, which you can apply to your life?
MG: Run the step you are on right now.
Articles to Trail Run project: https://www.trailrunproject.com/blog/?s=morgan+gonzalez