Friday, January 2, 2015


About a week before Thanksgiving, I was browsing the interwebs and came across the #RWRunStreak.  Having never heard of a running streak (other than the other obvious kind) before, I was intrigued. Apparently there is a group of people each year, loosely organized and encouraged by Runner's World, that commits to run one mile each and every day from Thanksgiving Day until New Year's Day. That's 36 days, 36 miles, all during the cold and the holidays, with no excuses. Like I said, I was intrigued.

I immediately wanted to run the streak, but I decided to hold off and think about it for a couple of days. I don't take commitments lightly, and I didn't want to pledge something that I might end up nonchalantly blowing off. For a few days I threw it around in my mind, asking myself if I thought I could do it, if I wanted to do it, and if perhaps I was crazy. The answer to all of those questions being an obvious 'yes,' especially the last one, I made my commitment public. Three friends decided to join me, two of whom live in other states. I exchanged numbers with each of them and we encouraged one another with texts throughout the streak. In the end, two of us were able to hold pretty strong to the commitment. The other two had great excuses for not being able to maintain daily running commitments though--a significant and unplanned family illness for one, and a young baby needing more night-time attention than was previously anticipated for the other.

As it turned out, I ran 2.5 miles the day before Thanksgiving, extending the running streak by one day. However, I skipped two days during the streak. One of the days that I skipped was intentionally planned, a rest day that I decided to take the day before a 5K race that I ran on December 5th. I wanted to be as rested as possible so that I could set a personal record, which I did (31:24). The other day I skipped was in mid-December, a day when Van was sick with a cold and was feverish all day. Caring for a sick guy was a little draining and left me behind on other things, and the time and energy that I needed for a jog that day were depleted by day's end. All in all then, I ran at least a mile on 35 of 37 consecutive days. Most days I only ran a mile or close to, though on several days I ran between two and three miles. Some days I took George, or sometimes both of the two older boys, and jogged slowly with the double stroller (think 10:50 pace). Other days it was so cold that I beat my cheeks to get back inside (think 8:39 pace, also a PR).

After finishing on the last day!

I hate to be boastful, but I'm awfully proud of Tabitha and me. "Sisters are doin' it for themselves!" Let me brag about her for a minute: this gal lives in northern Colorado and was often doing her runs in snow. Her menu of days included sub-zero temps, bitter north winds, and trail runs. She is a working mom, so some of her runs were done by headlamp at night. On others she took her boys with her on their bikes. And get this: Tabitha didn't skip a day. Hear her roar! And what's more? She plans to continue her streak for another 31 days to raise money for a trip she is taking to Uganda to help teachers.

Tabitha on a sub-zero day
 As for me, I sort of think 35 out of 37 ain't bad. I ran through a throat infection and through a mild cold and cough. I also ran through snow a couple of times, and I ran into some bitter north winds. I often didn't get a chance to run until after my kids were in bed, and twice I ran so late that I actually pushed it to the midnight hour, tacked on another mile, and called it good for the next day as well since my run technically covered both days. I ran in hotel fitness centers, through my neighborhood Christmas lights, at my local Y, and around and around my cul-de-sac on a couple of days while Van napped and the kids watched Home Alone (pun totally intended, except that my front door never left my sight!).

At the Turkey Trot
 So what's next? Well, Tabitha found an article on Runner's World that promises to help set PR's (personal records) for 5K's. After browsing through the tips, I feel certain that if I could accomplish survive these workouts, I would indeed become a much more adept runner. Working a schedule with these kinds of workouts is probably manageable but will require some thought and dedication. I think I'm game though. I already do speed interval trainings, so adding a tempo run and and an endurance run each week will be the keys. Part of the dread for me is building endurance, which really requires doing a long run every week, in my case probably five or six miles. I need to start building up this distance regularly anyway though, since I'm committed to the 12K-leg of the Memorial Marathon Relay at the end of April. In the meantime, I'm signed up for another 5K on January 17th and hope to PR once again. First things first though: I'm taking January 2nd off. =)

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