Taking Advantage

trail feet

“Take advantage of bad running days.  Take advantage of good running days.  Take advantage of running.” ~ Bob Schwartz

This has been a pretty tough week of running for me.  I’ve upped my mileage, I’ve thrown in some hill repeats, and I’ve spent a good bit of time on drills.  It started to get the best of me Wednesday during my run.  Wednesday was just one of those days that the run felt longer than it should have.  I never got into a rhythm.  I just felt off.  Even though it wasn’t a very long run, I had to really get inside my head and talk myself through the last little bit.  I got back to the car feeling a little defeated.  I consistently reminded myself that it is these runs especially that make me stronger.  Running is very much about mental toughness and it’s something you have to work on and build up.

As soon as I got in my car, I saw the quote above.  I felt as if someone was watching me and knew I needed that little pick-me-up.  People have listened to my “it’s the tough runs that make you appreciate the easy ones” speech for years and I was grateful to have it thrown back in my face a little!

Although I knew based on how I felt on my mid-week run that my long run might suffer a little this week, I was damn determined to get out there and give it my best.  Keith and I headed out into the 25 mph winds with a wind chill of 22 degrees and, let me tell ya, there’s probably not anyone out there that hates the cold more than me.  This run was downright brutal.  The trails were slippery with inches and inches of leaves and what seemed like millions of gumballs.  It was a total exercise in patience.  Our pace was slow.  My knee was stiff.  Keith’s clothes were driving him nuts.  It was just one of those runs where you can spend your time having your own pity party or you can just suck it up and remember you’re taking advantage of running…the good and the bad of it.

We stopped and had our own moment of silence for the Connecticut victims and that helped to take the focus off our own frustrations.  We struggled more than we anticipated but we just kept moving forward.  We spent the first couple of hours chatting but by the end, the headphones were in and we were both just in the zone.  I was talking to myself about the how’s and the why’s of this run.  I was literally counting down the minutes until it would be over….I never do this and I never wish for others to but it was just one of those days!  I had to laugh when Keith yelled back to me that we were about 6 minutes out because my watch was counting down and it had 5 minutes to go and I literally thought, “I am not going 1 extra minute.  he will have to come back for me because I am staying right here!”  Of course, the second we were done, I was nothing but thrilled to have suffered through such a tough run.

And, just like Wednesday, the perfect quote that I needed to hear at that moment came through in an email:

“No one is born a perfect runner.  And none of us will become one.  But through incremental steps, we can become better runners.  And that’s the beauty of our sport:  There are no shortcuts, nothing is given to us; we earn every mile and we earn every result.” ~ Peter Magill, 2010 USA Masters 5K champ

I don’t know why or how but these 2 quotes came at the most opportune time for me this week.  I am so grateful to be able to run and plan to take full advantage of that until I no longer can.  I appreciate the good, the bad, and the completely ugly runs.  It is all of these that have made me the person I am today.

Now, if only next weeks runs can take it a little easier on me…. 😉

One thought on “Taking Advantage

  1. I appreciate you reminding us how important gratitude is. So many people cannot do what we can, and that makes me grateful for the bad days and the good ones. Thus, my favorite quote you’ve supplied us: “Someday I will not be able to do this. Today is not that day.”

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