Find your happy

For Donna Robinson, finding her running crew brought incredible joy to training and racing. These days, even as her relationship with running has changed, she makes it a practice to be on the lookout for joy.

Donna, who works as accounting office manager in DeForest, Wisconsin, shares more ...

How’d you become a runner?

I was part of a group of women featured in a book about weight loss transformations from a program called Fit Moms for Life. We had a Facebook group to encourage each other prior to the photoshoot for the book. We had created a bond and decided that we wanted to plan something else together after the photoshoot. None of us were runners so we decided to try something new and run a very popular local 8K together.

The following year I was turning 50, so I decided to challenge myself and run a half marathon in April and a full marathon in August. During the training for the half marathon is when I found Fellow Flowers. And as the saying goes ... the rest is history.

What’s your current relationship status with running?

More walking than running. I had a mastectomy 2+ years ago and it’s been a struggle to get my motivation back. I’m continuing to do races even if I’m walking a lot. I’ve figured out that I really love the social part of going to races with my friends, it’s now more about time spent together than how fast I run.

What line from the Joy flower resonates with you most?

To appreciate sunshine. To find your happy.

What role does joy play in your life?

It piggybacks with gratitude. I try to look for some joy every day, even if it feels like a hard day. I prioritize making time for something that brings me joy every day. Taking time to do something that brings me joy can really make the hard things in life not seem so hard.

What — and we’re taking big things, small things, silly things, anything! — brings you joy?

Adventures with my husband. Being outside, especially when it’s sunny. Spending time laughing with my friends. A good hard workout that makes me feel strong. Reading a good book. Relaxing at the pool or beach. Going for a hike in the woods. Snowshoeing on a sunny winter day.

Why is joy important to you? 

Joy is important to me because who wants to live a life that doesn’t bring you joy?

How do joy and friendship intersect for you?

I find joy in spending time with friends. Doing something that brings you joy is almost always more fun when done with other people.

How about friendship and running?

When I started running, I mostly trained alone. Once I found Fellow Flowers and made “running friends” it made training and running so much more joyful.

How do friends make running better?

We all encourage each other almost daily. Running with friends makes the miles go by so much faster.

Any tips for building a run squad?

Put yourself out there. Don’t be afraid to approach someone about running with them. It’s easier if you are similar paces but we often do hill repeats or shorter out and backs multiple times, so we are seeing each other frequently even though we are at different paces. Joining a running group can be helpful to meet other runners as well.

Please describe your ideal run.

My ideal run would be with a group of friends, temps in the 60s with sunshine, preferably along a body of water and with gentle rolling hills.

What turns a bad mood or a tough day around for you?

A run, workout or any movement that gets by heart rate up.

What’s the best part of summer?

Being able to spend time outside doing about anything. I love floating in my pool and summer night bonfires.

Catch Donna this week as she leads the Joy Challege! And click here to join the challenge if you haven’t already.

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