7 “reality checking” miles

Yesterday marked my first run of 2012.

As soon as it was done, I deemed it a “reality checking” 7-miler.
It was hard. Really hard.
I fought for every single mile.

At first I wanted to get frustrated and annoyed. I had freshly rested legs. I was nicely fueled up on oatmeal with peanut butter and chopped apples. I was well-rested after a full week off from work and away from routine.

…yet, every mile was a struggle.

Rather than succumb to frustration, though, I got to thinking about how far I’ve come as a runner in the past year, and how comfortable and happy I am in my running shoes these days. Similar to something Heather said in her post the other day about finally coming into her own as a runner, I totally feel the same way.

As I pieced it all together in my mind during the cool down, I was hit with a good dose of perspective.

…I feel good in my running “skin” these days.
…most of my runs have been runner’s high-worthy.
…I’ve found peace with the treadmill.
…my speed is even improving.

So what.

That doesn’t mean I’m exempt from a “reality checking” run from time-to-time. In fact, I should be looking for those runs. The ones that remind me just how much work running really is. It takes commitment. Dedication. Practice. Because it’s that reality check that will push me to be a better runner, a more confident runner. A runner who really wants it. The miles. The high. The clarity it brings. The confidence and joy it instills. The camaraderie it invites. All of it.

So next time I have another “reality check” of a run, I’m gonna do my best to remember this moment. To find gratitude in the reality check, vs. becoming frustrated and annoyed. Reality checks are a necessary evil…at least they are in my book. And this particular reality check kind of reminds me of this phrase: “What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger” — somehow it’s very fitting here too, no?