We runners (and triathletes) typically celebrate those great runs or races in which we meet our goals and set new personal records. We happily recount the details to our running buds (or eye-rolling non running co-workers) about how great we felt and how when we finished we knew we were in fact, awesome.

In a sense those great runs are like the golden children while the not-so-great runs get shoved aside like runts of the litter. But today I’d like to honor those shitty runs because they really do help make us stronger. I’m thankful for each and everyone of them.

And of course, I’m drawing on reality here because I’ve had a few butt kickers this week and after each one I think, “I did it!” And it truly helps me get some confidence boosting that I need before a big race. SEE: Miami Marathon.

On Tuesday’s pace run I felt awful. I had the PC’s (poopy cramps) and I was tired. I had to run 7 miles at race pace with a mile warm up and a mile cool down. I almost didn’t even do the pace run but I kept telling myself that I’ll look back on my training and either be proud of the work I put in or I’ll be upset that I didn’t push myself through these tough days. As soon as my Garmin beeped for that first mile I picked it up and made it to the two and half mile mark, all the while praying for an open bathroom. Fortunately, I just so happened to come across a rec center I’d never seen before and it was open. Hallelujah! I managed to gut out the rest of that run and let’s just say my cool down mile was very cool. I may have been passed by an actual turtle. But I got it done and I thank that run for showing me that I can get through those low points.

As another example, this morning’s medium long run was also tough. I stupidly scheduled myself into a corner and had no choice but to run it this morning since I have dinner plans tonight after work. Let me point out that scheduling an eight miler after a serious track work out isn’t the smartest idea I’ve ever had. The track work included three intervals: 1,200 then 2,800 then 1,200 again. Holy crap.

Thus this AM when I got to mile four I was feeling it. Even though I had great company on this run I had to ask for a water break at mile five and was seriously considering throwing in the towel. But at that water stop I again asked myself about my training and how I’d feel if I quit this run. (It also helped that said running buddy started humming the theme from Rocky.) You know how this story ends. I finished the run and stayed within my target pace. Thank you sucky suck run!

Today I’m thankful for runs that suck. I’m thankful for those difficult runs that you just gut through and feel even more awesome for having finished them.

What are you thankful for today?