After doing a modified version of the Winter (Holiday) Run Streak by Runner’s World, I found that it was a great way to get back into the swing of things after a small break. I knew, due to my schedule and travel, that during the holidays I would not be able to do the full streak which is why I modified it. I created my own little Holiday Challenge and set my own goals/rules. My last week, weather and New Years Day (read my gym is closed) caused me to miss my goal for that time period. I fell short by one run.
I still know that I made the right decision but having to make that decision still burns a little.
So, when I saw that Runner’s World was doing a summer run streak, I was tempted. I contemplated it for a couple of weeks. I was in a run slump… mostly due to an impending distance race… but it was still a slump. I needed a kick to the rear to get back into the swing of things. I just needed to get the running back on track. So I kicked the idea around a lot.
I checked my schedule and knew it wouldn’t be TOO difficult to run a mile each day (keep in mind I do NOT run before work). There would be a few weekend days where I would need to run in the morning (which I am just not a fan of) and one day where if I left work late, I would be SOL. But for the most part, there really wasn’t anything that would prevent me from doing this.
To add to the reasons to jump in, I had nothing of significant distance on the schedule to train for in June. I knew if I was able to get in several 2-3 milers, I would be able to do my 8K in mid-July. And really, I wasn’t planning to actually the RACE the 8K either. It was going to be a lower mileage period in training anyway.
I decided to go for it. I promised myself that if my body couldn’t handle it, I would drop and revert back to my normal schedule. Generally, my body likes rest… so if I was feeling too worn down or felt an injury, I would make the smart decision for my body and stop.
I honestly was not sure how this would go. To be truthful, I expected to fail. That’s not to say that I didn’t believe in myself. Far from it. But I wasn’t sure how my body would handle this. After a rough 2011 fighting an injury, 2012 fighting the mortgage process and just finding it difficult to get back into the swing of things, I had high hopes for 2013. For the most part it was successful, but I still had that one issue… getting nausea. So it was not the year I had hoped for. But once I figured out what caused the issue and corrected it, I put all of my hopes into 2014. But I had three years of running/life issues. I had turned into Pavlov’s dog… I hear the bell and expect something. It has been very difficult to re-train my brain to NOT expect the nausea feeling after a run or to NOT expect an injury or to get sick RIGHT when I started to make progress. I am still working on this. But these are the thoughts I had running through my mind with this streak.
My only other fear… weather… would I be forced to run in the rain at all… Spoiler alert, I somehow managed to complete every run without being in the rain or a storm. But I definitely had a LOT of hot and humid runs. I also had one run in a long sleeve… in JULY. Ahhh, Chicago….
But alright… enough about the thoughts and feelings… Lets talk some basics here. The task at hand was simple. Run at least one mile a day, every day, from Memorial Day to 4th of July. 40 days and at least 40 miles.
Since I had a 10K during the first week and was JUST coming off my 10 miler, I opted to stick to only a mile the first week. Tried to kick it up to two miles the following week. The third week, a busy schedule and exhaustion kicked in so I decided to scale back a bit and just stick to one milers. But after that, things started to go REALLY well. I was able to get in some 3 milers and I was mostly using the 1 mile days as an “active rest” day.
Then while out for a run during the 4th week… more than half way through on day 25, I felt something that was just off in my right hamstring. I knew it wasn’t the good type of sore you get after an awesome workout… nope… this felt like an injury brewing. Fear set in as I made the decision to continue on in the run… I had only planned to do a mile and I was half way through. I know this may not have been the smartest decision but I am horribly stubborn. I got up close and personal with my foam roller when I got home. I was able to assess what was going on… It wasn’t an injury… my hamstring just decided it wanted to be fickle and get really tight. The foam roller and stretching helped.
I opted to run the following day, only a mile, with the plan to shorten my stride (which seems to be the magic cure for weird pains sometimes) and slow down. I promised myself that if the pain got worse, I would stop the run and thus, end my streak. I had a few fleeting moments of pain but mostly it just felt uncomfortable. I knew I was ok to finish the run but I also knew I should keep the rest of the runs to about a mile for the rest of the week and just see how I was feeling day to day when I started my run before attempting anything above a mile. After 3 days, I was all good.
Week 5 was back to normal. I felt great and I was running slightly higher mileage. Everything just felt perfect… if we exclude the run I had to do one Saturday morning… I hated every second of that run and if you had asked me, I would have sworn I was running an 11:00 pace that morning (I was not but I really hate running in the morning). I even got in an unexpected speed session… totally unplanned… just happened.
Week 6, the last week. I wasn’t sure if I would go on with the streak. Really don’t need to start training for anything until August. I went to a HIIT Class and my quads got shredded… just way overworked. But I kept up with the running. I definitely should not have done 3 miles the day after… and my quads made me pay for that the following day but I made it. I had actually made it. On the last day of the official streak, I headed out for my run. I wanted to end the official streak with a bank so-to-speak. I also really liked the sound of 4 for the 4th. So I decided that if I was feeling good at my 3 mile turn around point, I would go for 4. I completed 4 miles and just felt fantastic.
During that last week, one of my new team members mentioned wanting to get in on my streak. So I decided to extend it through July and end it in August.
On day 43, I felt the warning sides of a cold… I prayed it was allergies but when I woke up the next morning I knew… It was a cold. I started to toy with the idea of just running anyway but with two races on the schedule, I knew that would be a bad decision.
So with that the streak ended on day 43 – July 7th. I ran a total of 78.29 Miles during those 43 days.
I am bummed the streak had to end. But health first. Currently, I am trying to figure out what next. I don’t know if I will start a new streak… and really, with a travel day coming up in August when I know I won’t be able to run, I am thinking that maybe I will just go back to my normal running schedule.
But guess what… I did successfully complete the streak I set out to do. So not all is lost.