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?


34 thoughts on “7 “reality checking” miles

  1. Funny you bring this up today. While reviewing my 2011 I noticed a lot of what I considered “slow” or “crappy” runs. But then I thought – look at where I am today, where I wouldn’t be without those runs.

    These “reality check miles” are all part of what defines us as runners – the point is that you have a fantastic attitude toward these miles, and that you didn’t give up! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Exactly!!! I was all set to call that run yesterday a slow or crappy run too but then the wheels started turning and a new perception/reality settled in. It IS what defines us runners – that we’re willing to put in the time, even the time spent running a hard handful of miles vs. those amazing runners-high inducing handful of miles. Both have a time and a place; both are equally important to making us better, stronger runners!

  2. I love this way of thinking, because ironically enough, I have been thinking the same thing, for the most part…most of my runs lately have been really good, and even when I feel like I may be struggling, it’s because it is HARD, not because I am incapable. That is the difference, I think, and a big mindset shift for me, and in part, for you too!

  3. I’m trying to catch up since being in VT for the New Year weekend, so first of all, I LOVE the new site. It looks so spiffy!!!!!

    Reality check is a good way to think of those runs! I think they get us in touch with our body. We are meant to push ourselves & it’s not always easy. My 2011 was FILLED with reality check runs…too many to count. BUT, I’m hoping to change that in 2012 ๐Ÿ™‚

    • YAY thank you!! I like how it looks too, much more energetic looking I think!

      And you’re right – the reality check is a necessary evil *and* it just teaches you such gratitude for those really good runner’s high worthy runs and is a constant reminder that running is hard, hard work (but GOOD work, right?).

  4. What a great way to look at it. There are times (more often then not) when I run and it just feels so HARD! It’s so hard to keep on going in times like that. I had one of these runs over the weekend, and so many times I just wanted to stop and walk back home…but somehow I kept going…and finishing felt more rewarding than most GOOD runs.

  5. Whenever I have a run like that, I tell myself that it means that the next run will be easier but in order for that to happen, I have to get through this one.. It seems to work…and be true.

    • YES – great way to look at it, just coaching yourself through one of those challenging runs is huge for building mental endurance, running-wise, so the next time you have a great run, your mind can go free and your body can do the work and it’s a great feeling!

  6. Great post! I am often reminded of how hard running is during my short runs. The first two miles I just want to give up & go home. After that I usually find my groove.

    • YES! Sometimes it takes me up to three miles to get into a groove (PARTICULARLY when I’m stuck on the treadmill) but after that it feels so good to hit a rhythm doesn’t it?

    • UGH that is BEYOND frustrating!! I hope it gets better soon, no fun at ALL ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
      And thank you, I’m digging the new look too – now I just need to start hosting my own site so I can have more freedom with design! The whole idea of hosting scares the pants off me though!

  7. I’ve decided to push my running this year and yet, I haven’t run in over a week. I’ve been sick for 2 weeks and I’m ready to be strong again. Thank you for this inspiring post. I’m ready to push it, find gratitude and dedicate strength against struggle.

    Go girl! Here’s to 2012!

  8. i hear you! i’ve been dealing with many of your frustrations too. still don’t understand why runs on the freshest of legs and the best of fuel can seem so hard. and why runs when you’re tired/sore/hungry/etc can be the best sometimes.

    reality check in deed.

    running likes to keep us guessing. ๐Ÿ™‚

    loveeeee the new setup!

    • Exactly right and so frustrating!! But you’re right, there is a fair amount if guessing involved with running sometimes but it’s worth it when it results in becoming a stronger runner, huh?

  9. It really is so true – running is one of those supremely mental workouts. You have to really learn about yourself and trust your body. And a bad run or a tough run isn’t a failed run. Running is work. Sometimes you need that reality check as a reminder. Plus, it makes you really appreciate all those awesome, runner’s high inducing runs that much more.

    • “Running is work” – should have that tattooed somewhere, haha. It’s silly simple as a concept but easy to get lost in the shuffle when you’re just “used” to running, if that makes sense. I am glad for these reality checks, talk about humbling, right?

  10. Okay, so I read your most recent post first today…and almost told you “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” on how awesome your new job and travel will be for you. Sounds like you’ve already got that stored away in the back of your mind. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    THIS: “That doesnโ€™t mean Iโ€™m exempt from a โ€œreality checkingโ€ 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.***” I LOVE THIS. You’re absolutely right that we need the runs where you feel like someone’s behind you pulling you in the opposite direction. Like you’re going nowhere and have to fight every second. Running is a HELL of a lot of work, and I’ve learn that so much over the past year. Shoot…my whole life. Running is a tough one for me. For some it comes naturally. For others, like me, it takes everything we’ve got. I ran yesterday…and it was one of the only two runs I’ve run in the past several weeks. Strangely…I did the same distance I was doing when I running my 5Ks. A little slower, but same distance. It finally felt natural.

    • Yesssssss – work, work, work – running is WORK. Anyone who says it’s not is a big ‘ol liar if you ask me! But its worth-it work in the end, isn’t it?? SO glad you can relate and SO glad you’re getting your running feet back under you again, go you!!!

  11. Pingback: Don’t be your own obstacle. | Live, Love, & Run

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