Simple joys

Good friends, a beautiful trail, a sweet treat ... Michelle Robinson knows the power of filling your days with things that bring happiness.

And whether at home in Waunakee or out running, hiking or traveling, she does just that. She shares more ...

How’d you become a runner? 

The first time I ran any distance was in a seventh grade coed PE class. The class was sent out to run a cross country route, and to everyone’s surprise, I finished second behind the most athletic boy in the class. From that day forward, I was a distance runner for my school. We didn’t have a cross country team, but I ran the 1-mile and 2-mile in track. By the time my high school track career was over, I held the school record in both the 1- and 2-mile and received the girls outstanding track award my senior year.

I did not continue running when I went off to college. In fact, my running took a 20+ year hiatus until my now 17-year-old son entered kindergarten. As a stay-at-home mom, I found myself with more free time and a desire to do something for myself. I started running in the mornings after my son left for school and have continued in some form ever since.

What’s your current relationship status with running? 

We’ve started seeing other people, ha ha!!!

My goal at this time is some kind of movement every day. In the last few years I’ve started adding more strength training into my exercise routine, which at my age I think is very beneficial. This past winter most of my movement consisted of strength training and elliptical workouts with a few 5K races with friends thrown in for fun. But by the time spring hit Southern Wisconsin, I was ready to get outside for a walk or run everyday.

What line from the Joy flower resonates with you most?

“To find your happy.” Isn’t that what we all want for ourselves and others? In my opinion, health and happiness is everything.

What role does joy play in your life? 

It all comes down to joy and happiness for me. I sometimes need to remind myself to look for the joy or the good in things. We can all get caught up in the stresses of daily life but we need to not take everything so seriously. I try to focus on what really matters to me and my family and friends, and not all the extra noise.

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

Seeing friends and family happy, a sunny day, Mexican food, Crumbl Cookies, travel, Disney, a Brewer baseball game, the Target store, a great pair of sunglasses, a cozy sweatshirt, a chai tea latte, a good movie at the theater.

Where is your happy place? 

Outside surrounded by nature. Some of my favorite spots are the beach (especially early morning or late evening) and biking/hiking trails.

How do joy and friendship intersect for you? 

I believe first and foremost friendships should bring you joy. Of course good friends support each other through tough times, but in ordinary times a friendship shouldn’t be hard, exhausting or one-sided. I’ve always loved the quote, “Pay attention to who you’re with when you feel your best.”

How do friends make running better?

For me, it’s less about the finish line and all about the friendships. Although, if one of us happens to place in our age group at a race we’ll all happily celebrate that person! Finding a group of friends that celebrates your wins regardless of their own outcomes is special. I’ll run on my own for exercise or sometimes to clear my head, but the real running win is running with friends. A run with friends just feels better than a run on my own. We’re like a team working to get it done but in a casual way with great conversation and if necessary, encouragement. And getting together with friends for a casual run or race is a great excuse to get together.

Any tips for building a run squad? 

Start with people whose company you enjoy and maybe have something in common with such as co-workers, mom friends, church friends, etc. You could offer to organize and lead a couch-to-5K group a couple times a week. But remain open to building a different type of movement squad such as walking, hiking, biking, etc. Or you might find people interested in getting together for something they’ve never tried like kayaking, paddle boarding, etc.

Please describe your ideal run, or ideal day of movement. 

An ideal day of movement with my family would be a few hour bike ride or hike followed by a fantastic lunch with a beautiful view.

An ideal run with a group of friends would be casual and we talk and laugh throughout the run as the miles pass. Afterward we would gather at a coffee shop for drinks and sweet treats or a casual restaurant with outdoor seating.

What’s the best part of summer? 

All the options available for movement and the more casual feel of the longer summer days.

Join Michelle as she leads the Joy Challenge all week long! Click here to join the fun.

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