Committing to the #RWRunStreak – Here Goes Nothing!

As a part of “Operation: Get My Butt In Gear”/start training for the Walt Disney World Marathon in January (I might not be “racing” it per se, but I need to at least get through the darn thing), I’ve decided to commit to the #RWRunStreak. This means I have to run at least one mile every single day until January 1. I think my longest “streak” capped off at around 10 days, so running for 35 days straight sounds downright crazy. I’ve considered trying a streak before, but I cherish my off days for the mental and physical downtime too much (and I like getting to stay clean all day!). I like my off days so much so that I got into the habit of taking a few too many of them post Steamtown. The race sucked the life out of me more than I anticipated–I felt like I was out of shape for an entire month–and although I needed the rest, I got into a slump. If I’m ever in a bad running mood, it’s when I’m out of shape. Not fun. After running once (once! gah!) while I was at home for Thanksgiving, I realized I needed a serious kick in the butt.

Enter… the #RWRunStreak. I hope that by making my commitment public via this blog and Twitter, I’m going to stick to it! (I even wrote it in pen in my training log–I just started my fourth consecutive book!–and I can’t back out on that!) I’m also going to start strengthening my core so that come Boston, I’ll be primed for a PR. I’ll be updating this post throughout the streak every week or so with my progress, so check back often!

Update on December 2 (Day 7): Before I say anything else…it’s absolutely amazing what a little kick in the butt can do! I was able to string together seven incredible runs – between a stunning eight-mile trail trek up a (small) mountain and an epic solo 15-miler today, I feel like I can really say I’m out of my slump. =) Let me put it this way, my 15-miler felt easier than my six-mile run I did over Thanksgiving break. Seriously. I ran a couple loops on my old Lehigh XC “stomping grounds,” which was refreshing in and of itself, AND I hit a few 7:30s-7:40s mid-run. Mental note for next time I’m in a rut – get back on my favorite roads, blast some music, and go. Shaking things up is a good thing every once in a while!

photoUpdate on December 10 (Day 15): Whoa – I can’t believe it’s been FIFTEEN days so far! I think that’s my all-time longest run streak! (Talk about Monday Motivation!) The highlight of this week of streaking was running in NYC all weekend. I ran in the NYRR Jingle Bell Jog with a few Lehigh cross country alums. And yes, we ran with bells on our shoes – it was definitely a neat way to get in the Christmas spirit! I also completed my first real run in Central Park on Sunday, logging about 13 miles total. I ran one big, six-mile loop and a couple laps around the reservoir. I ran alone and without music, and I loved it. I spent half the time chasing down other runners, which turned my run into a mini fartlek, and I enjoyed pretending I was a New Yorker for the morning as I wove through the park with hundreds of other runners. Yeah, I seriously need to do that again sometime.

Update on December 16 (Day 21): Yesterday I ran 20 miles (20 miles on Day 20! – heck yes!) on my own, just me, my music, and the roads. After doing all but one long run with coworkers in my training build-up for Steamtown, it’s been an eye-opening experience knocking out those runs solo in my abbreviated build-up for Disney next month. I tweeted post-run about how I realized that the hardest part about getting out for those runs (especially alone) really is the hardest part. Once I got into my rhythm a few miles in, I was golden, especially when “Sail” came on! =) For newbie marathoners, I would definitely recommend finding a buddy to get you through those long runs. But I have to admit that once I finished that run yesterday, I’ve never felt stronger or more confident in myself and my running. There is something truly empowering about voluntarily going out for a nearly three-hour run. Try it–it’s worth it.

Today I rewarded myself with an easy, one-mile recovery run, some core, and this post-run yoga session from my girl OmGal:

Keepin’ the #RWRunStreak alive! Over halfway to the finish line!

** Final update on December 26: So…due to a holiday travel debacle that left me suitcase-less (and running gear-less) in Chicago for a full day, my #RWRunStreak came to an unexpected conclusion on December 22. =( I made it a full 26 days–which is ages longer than my longest streak on record–so to be honest, I’m thrilled! The streak got me back on track for Disney (which is just a couple weeks away now!) and I strung together a few surprisingly solid long runs that left me confident in my fitness level. Even though I’m a bit bummed I didn’t make it all the way to January 1, all in all it served its purpose. I took four days off (learn why “none” miles every once in a while can be a good thing here) and had my first run at home today. It wasn’t pretty–the higher elevation kicks my butt–BUT I got to break in my shiny new pink Garmin Forerunner 10, which is freakin’ awesome! It  works exactly how I hoped it would – it’s super easy to navigate, and it tells me only what I want to know (i.e. pace, time, and distance) sans bells and whistles. I have a feeling we’re going to log many, many happy miles together!

Anywho, kudos to those streakers still streakin’! It’s certainly not easy yanking on those kicks when it’s dark, drizzly, and cold outside. But fighting past those moments of weakness to come out on the other side mentally and physically stronger is worth the extra loads of laundry (I almost broke my washer mid-streak!) and lost sleep. Committing to the streak was one of the best decisions I’ve made all year, and I think it’s a training tool I’ll pull out of my back pocket the next time I need a shot of motivation. I’ll close this post with a motivational poster that I thought complimented the streak that read, “Summer body earned in winter.” True that.

QUOTE OF THE POST: “There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permit. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.” – Unknown

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