From October 7th to December 31st of last year I ran a total of seven times. Granted, some of those runs were 20+ mile runs, but that’s seven runs in eighty-six days. That’s just over one run every two weeks.
Not a lot of running.
A day or two before New Year’s my buddy Doug posted a link on Facebook to a Crow Athletics Streak Challenge – run or walk at least one mile every day for one hundred days. I have never been a fan of streaking, that is, the concept of running as many consecutive days as possible. I’m a firm believer in the necessity of rest and I have a hard time believing that one can run and rest simultaneously.
But this piqued my interest – not because of its uniqueness, people streak all the time, but simply because of the personal nature of its timing. I struggled off and on with motivation for almost all of 2012. Even while I was training for Sugarloaf last winter, it was still a fight to get myself out the door. I yearned for that time, not so long ago considering I’ve only been running for four years, when my legs were out the door before I was even aware of it. 2010 was a banner year for me. I ran four marathons over the course of eight months; I pushed myself harder with each race, training with an eagerness that was fueled by hunger.
After qualifying for and then running Boston 2011, that drive slowly began to shrink. I continued to enter races – Around the Lake (July 2011), the Vermont 50 (September 2011), NYCM (November 2011), but the training, the motivation continued to dwindle. After being left out of Boston 2012 by a mere 30 seconds, I rallied briefly last Winter in an attempt to qualify for Boston 2013, but despite my decent training cycle, my lack of miles over the previous 12 months caught up with me. At mile 20 of Sugarloaf 2012, on pace for around a 3:13 finish, the wheels came off the bus and I finished with a respectable, but non-BQ time of 3:23.
Despite the fact that 3:23 was my second best marathon time ever, my mojo was officially DOA. I found other ways to encourage others to run. I recruited and ran runners in at the Boston 13.1 Half Marathon in September (running a total of twenty some odd miles…barefoot), I pulled off what would have been a fun, silly stunt for New York 2012 by getting Katy Perry to donate 25 blue wigs to Team Up with Autism Speaks runners, but even in doing so, I hardly ran. Yes, I ran some in October to help #teamLuau beat #teamBecca on the Gorilla Suit throwdown, but I was also helped tremendously by other runners and biker donating their miles. I was still having fun running, but I just wasn’t doing a lot of it.
But then I saw Doug’s post.
Run at least one mile (or more) for one hundred days.
God, I hate streaking.
I ran six miles on the first of the year. It was like starting a cold engine. I had run once in December (on my birthday) – 4.3 miles to celebrate turning 43. Before that I had run 30 days earlier on Thanksgiving – 3.1 miles in a personal Turkey Trot.
My legs were not ready for my New Year’s run.
But I did it.
The following day I put in 6 more.
I am NOT streaking!!!
On the 3rd, I put in a quick 4-spot, feeling good about my 7:30 pace. During my run I began to think about a promise Doug and I made a while back – to attempt a sub-10 hour Vermont 50 this year. I ran an 11:04 on essentially no training in 2011. Sub-10 was going to take some work. As I hit the 2-mile mark in my run and turned for home, I realized that that work started with building a base. Before I really started to train this summer, I would have to put some miles behind me. It didn’t matter how long my runs were this winter, I was just going to have to run…a lot!
The following day I went out for 4 miles and came home having run 6. My legs were tired from 4 consecutive days of running, but just like starting your car on a cold winter day, my engine, my drive, was warming up.
I wanna run tomorrow! But am I streaking? I don’t know!
I put in a short 3-miler because of time constraints, but the point was I ran. Then yesterday, before going on an all-day road trip, I got up early to put in a few miles. I was planning on 4 or 5 miles and came home having run 7. I will be squeezing in a short run at lunch today.
Am I streaking? I really don’t know. But the turning of the calendar and the concept of this challenge, if nothing else, has at least turned the engine over. I still believe in rest days, but I also, as a trainer-in-training, believe that we have to do what we can to find our motivation. Sometimes that motivation is a size 6 dress (well, not for me); sometimes that motivation is an old pair of jeans; sometimes that motivation is a number on the scale; sometimes that motivation is being able to play with your children…sometimes, that motivation is something as silly as a streak.
What are YOU using as motivation this January to get your body moving?