Strength somehow came to be associated in my mind with not getting tired. It makes sense on the surface – if you’re strong and fit (mentally or physically) then the tasks you are attempting won’t make you tired. Right?

Today I questioned that as I rode to work. 16,000 miles and I still get tired. The hills still make my legs burn, I still have to work hard against a head wind, or when I’m doing a traffic sprint, or when I’m in a competition-in-my-head against the clock or the rare other person commuting in my direction. “When will my legs not get tired,” I have often wondered to myself. “When will I be strong?”

This week I have been pushing myself on my commutes. I’m not sure why – I have nothing to prove, I’ll never be as fast as the cars (except for brief periods of time) and I doubt they notice when I max out to go 2mph faster, and I’ll never be as fast as the Fast Guys. I’m fine with that. Okay, yes, I’m a bit jealous of the Fast Guys, but I get where I’m going and that’s what counts. But…for some reason, I’ve been pushing myself lately. Feeling the burn, putting in extra effort.

“Am I strong yet?”

It finally occurred to me today that feeling tired doesn’t mean I’m not strong. The only way we get strong, in fact, is to push past our comfort zones and into that realm of tired. Being tired means that we’re strong enough to push ourselves. Being strong means we can push through the tiredness to reach our goals.

I am already strong, 16,000 miles strong. But I’ll get stronger…