January 1, 2018: The day that was supposed to be the end of my running streak. The day that I would finally reach the end, but some things don’t go as planned. Let me explain.
For a few years, I had started but never completed the Runner’s World streak. To complete the streak, runners have to run at least one mile every day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Each year, I’d think “of course I can run 35 days in a row”. Yet each year I’d come up miserably short with an excuse or reason to stop. But this time would be different! Different because after several years of failing to complete it, I had a feeling that it was either now or never.
November 24, 2017 was the day I took my first steps. During the first couple of weeks there were a few difficult runs on cold nights, but once I got to the mid-point it became easier to stay focused on the goal. To be honest, I don’t remember much else about the first few weeks, just that I was more determined than ever to get to New Year’s Day. Once the calendar changed over to 2018, I decided to continue running every day and have run every day since!
So, why did I continue to run every day?
Well, the short and easy answer is, I like routine.
The more involved answer is, even though I ran when I was younger, running was always a means to an end – a quick fix to lose some weight or to get ready for a race. Once that goal was achieved or I got frustrated with the results, I would stop running for a while.
Growing up, I would say that I had a love/hate relationship with running. I loved the idea of it, but hated actually doing it! I didn’t view it as an activity that was done for enjoyment. Instead, I simply viewed it as training that needed to be done in preparation for another sport.
When I was in college, I actually began to give running a chance. And sometimes, I actually enjoyed it! At the time, I didn’t have any future running specific goals. After I graduated from college in 2004, I began to think about competing in a race and eventually decided that it would be a good idea to train for and run a marathon.
Flash forward to the next fall, when I was standing at the start of the 2005 Marine Corps Marathon with absolutely no idea what I was in store for! Almost 6 hours later (and at least as many pit stops – thanks GU Gels!), I had completed my 1st marathon! All of the races I’ve run since that first marathon have helped turn me into a better runner.
More importantly, my running streak has helped turn me into a stronger and more confident runner and person.
Recently, I’ve half-jokingly told a few people that “I’m in too deep” to stop now. I say it half-jokingly because I don’t want to sound like a lunatic, but it’s the truth. It’s as much part of my daily routine as brushing my teeth, so why stop now?
Before starting this streak I would think “I should go running today, but I don’t have to if I don’t feel like it”. Now, I don’t question IF I will go running, but rather how FAR or for how LONG I’m going to run.
Now, I look forward to my run every day because, even though some days are mentally or physically challenging, I always feel better after a run than I did before.
By no means am I an expert, but since that first marathon, I’ve learned a lot about myself and running.
Which kind of brings me to this – the blog that you are reading. I’m hoping to share what I’ve learned through my experiences as a “normal” runner and hopefully have some fun along the way. I’ve got some great ideas lined up but I would also love to hear from you in the comments below (or the Contact RunPatRun page or my Instagram page) on things you’d like to read about in the future!
So, let’s consider this the beginning of a new streak and let’s see how far we can take it!