I almost feel weird writing this — on a day when I am so clearly in no shape to run.
I made it through 39 days of a 40 day run streak, and I have no guilt over skipping just this one.
(I didn’t intend for the first two lines of this post to rhyme.)
I threw out my back yesterday, and the streak may or may not have had something to do with it. But I am in too much pain to care over missing just one run.
I am more upset that it’s New Year’s Eve, and I can’t run. You see, my first official “long run” was on New Year’s Day of 2012, when a few days after learning I had been accepted to the 2012 NYC Half, I laced up to see if I could manage to get through five miles without stopping. I did it and I was so proud! I was positively beaming until the next weekend when my training plan had me running six. But I did it. I did that and so much more.
I am so proud of how far I have come as a runner in 2012. Runner’s World Holiday Run Streak was – for me – in no way about whether I could prove something to myself as a runner. For me, it meant only a way of keeping myself focused on health and fitness, and keeping my body in great shape, through a season fueled by temptation, excess and a good amount of stress. So, goal achieved!
I drank more green beverages between Thanksgiving and New Year’s of 2012 than I did in all of 2011. I racked up 140 miles during the weeks when most people sit around eating cookies and watching It’s a Wonderful Life (which is actually a great film). I maintained my weight but toned up more than I could imagine. I am wearing smaller clothing and the improvement in my muscle tone is significant…and obvious.
For me, these were some of the benefits of the run streak. When I ran a streak this summer, I was rewarded with a faster 10K time and a bikini body to rock for the rest of summer. My runs were shorter, but faster and more frequent. So, I knew going in to this precisely what to expect.
I loved the idea of the focus and structure of running at least one mile each day. The benefits are immeasurable.
But I will say this: they can’t all be good days. Inevitably, in any training cycle, you will have a few bad runs. Running every day makes them stand out a bit more, and feel more frequent. There are days that I panicked over losing fitness (I didn’t), and wearing out my legs (treadmills were the culprit, but road runs and trails did no harm); and days when I needed to cut runs short because of fatigue or because I was a few days away from an important race. It’s all okay.
Even though it’s Day #40, and my fingers are running across the keyboard instead of my feet across the Central Park bridle path, I am still proud of my achievements during this run streak.
I am proud of my body – not just for the way it now looks, but for helping me log all of those miles.
I am proud of my spirit – for staying on course and running through the holiday season, unbent and unbroken by each time a friend or a family member tried to talk me out of a run.
I am proud of my mind – the cognitive benefits of running are boundless; I have stayed level-headed through what has been a rough few weeks at work and a lot of traveling around to spend time with family and friends.
I am proud of myself – running each day has given me a lot of “alone time” to get to know myself better as a person and as a runner.
I feel clearheaded and free.
Running is a gift.
Here are some of the highlights of my last 39 days in running:
Total miles ran: 140
Longest run: 10 miles
Shortest run: 1 mile
Terrains: roads, trails, urban jogging paths, sidewalks, treadmills
Number of treadmill runs: 6
Interesting (and unplanned) numbers: 6 miles on 12/6, 8 miles on 12/8, 15K on 12/15 (okay, fine, I knew about this one)
Number of times I ran through snow: twice, 12/22 (flurries) and 12/29 (full-on snow)
Number of PR’s set: 2