The Day I Earned My Comma

When I started my Run Streak I never planned to make it a long term commitment.  My goal was to run every day in December, 2014.  Thirty One days was my goal, and there were many days when I thought I couldn’t do it. It was really hard to get out for a run  every single day.

21034435_10154695315332461_8415843252130278167_n Sometimes these things take on a life of their own. I was looking forward to Not Running on January 1, but a co-irker scoffed at my little 31 day streak and challenged me to run every day in 2015.  This was a huge challenge which I hesitantly accepted.

The rest is history.  The coworker dropped out after a few months but I kept going. and going . and going.  By the time I reached 100 days it was becoming easier.  By the end of 2015 I was hooked and couldn’t stop.

Fast forward to August 25, 2017 when I completed my 1,000th consecutive day of running. I never expected that I would need a comma to count my run streak days.

I have a fantastic run group who are (mostly) supportive of my run streak.  They take ownership of milestones and plan special runs to commemorate them.   We have enjoyed #666, #777, and #888 and were undecided about whether to celebrate #999 or #1,000. In the end we celebrated on Day #1,000 because it fell on a Friday and we could enjoy a few wobbly pops at the local tavern afterwards. But we had a 999 theme for the run.

Here is how it worked. Each person was told to bring a small amount of $$ to the run.  We then formed teams of 3 people.  Teams ran 2.5km to the grocery store where they met an appointed Time Keeper who recorded their arrival time.  Teams were given 10 minutes to go into store, buy as many different non-perishable food items as they could for under $9.99 and return to Time Keeper with receipt and merchandise.  Then we ran back to the starting point.  Two teams scored 11 items.  All purchases were donated to a local food bank.  It was fun.. and it was for a good cause.

21077635_10154695315357461_8582915604131510354_nSome of the people in my run group are very creative and they make special bling to mark my milestones.  These unique medals are treasured above all the finisher’s medals in my collection.

Today is Day #1,010.  I have earned that comma, and I plan to continue to use it every day for a very long time.

 

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Calamity June

June was a Recovery Month for me after completing the Ottawa Marathon on May 28.   The plan was to allow my body to recover by doing short easy runs for 26 days. My Run Streak is still a thing, so Not Running was never an option.

It was easy to stick to the Recovery Plan for the first week. . After all, I had just struggled  through the marathon, followed immediately by a couple of days of illness. ( food poisoning, heat stroke… I don’t know?)  After a week I was feeling good and was tempted to start running longer and faster, but the forces of the universe stepped in to make sure that I stayed disciplined and stuck to my Recovery Plan.

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It started with an unexplained itch  and then a painful rash on my back.  Doctor confirmed my suspicion that I had Shingles.  The medication cleared it up quickly but I was fatigued for a couple of weeks.  The pain went away but I was left with an extreme sensitivity to Cold. I couldn’t tolerate any air movement on my arm or shoulder, even on a hot day. When you run, even slowly.. you create  air movement.  Fortunately that only lasted 4 or 5 days.

Ten days after beginning treatment for Shingles I was well on my way to Recovery and was feeling only mild discomfort so again I thought about increasing my Speed and / or Distance. Once again karma had other plans.  I suffered a little injury by accidentally hyper flexing my big toe. Okay, it wasn’t very minor and it hurt like a sumbitch.  Yes, I ran on it because that is what Run Streakers do but for several days I only did the minimum daily requirement. ( in my case that means 2k)

The toe eventually started to feel better but then the recurring corn on the same foot decided to rear it’s ugly head.  Despite aggressive treatment it never completely goes away.  Once in  awhile it flares up for a few days and it quite painful.  And hey, that is just the way my month has been going. July has to be better, right?

20170627_204324It is no surprise to realize that June was the lowest mileage month for a long time.  Total distance was 70 miles. (113km) This breaks my 8 month 100-mile streak but I am ok with that. On a positive note I did run my fastest mile ever in June, finally breaking the 9:00 minute mile.  Previous best was 9:02, current best is 8:59. Hey, I didn’t say it was  a big victory.

Rest time is over.  I have this little 50k trail race coming up in exactly 83 days. I think I am ready mentally and physically to embrace this challenge.  Ready or not, here I come.

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Ottawa Marathon Training Plan / Week 25

I am nearing the end of this awesome journey.  It is my second marathon and I am looking forward to running the Ottawa Marathon in less than four weeks.  This plan is developed by me, for me. The backbone of this plan is Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 Marathon Plan with liberal input from Owen Anderson’s “The Science of Running” and Alan Culpepper’s “Running Like A Champion,” with solicited advice from a running friend. It is a learning experience for me and I am blogging to keep myself accountable and to keep a record of training for future review.

20170501_143426Monday: Explosive Strength ( as last week )

Actual:  Postponed until tomorrow because of inefficient use of my time today.  I enjoyed a lovely run in the rain with a buddy though.  Garmin had technical difficulties but I think I ran 5k.

Tuesday : 7k Easy Run

Actual: Group Run 7k, followed by 3k walk with injured runner.  And of course, yesterday’s workout had to be done today.

Wednesday : 60 minute cycling

Actual : My bike needs to be tuned up as the gear box doesn’t work. It’s ok on a flat route but the hills are killer.  So I did this workout  on a stationary bike.  Warm up 2k run, 10 minutes easy cycling, 30 minutes @90-95RPM, cool down 10 minutes easy cycling.

Thursday : 5k run / Core strength

Actual : Done, and Done!

18268557_10154432999915913_5340173812604229281_nFriday: Rest Day

Actual : Today is Run Streak Day #888 and my Run club planned an event to celebrate my addiction.  The Start / Finish Line was at the local pool hall and we played a game of 8 Ball afterwards. It would have been rude not to run, so I did 8.88k.  Tomorrow I shall rest.

Saturday: 7k Easy Run

Actual : After yesterday’s unscheduled 8.88k I decided to forgo today’s scheduled run.  With heavy rain in the forecast, I did 2k in the gentle morning rain to satisfy my requirements for my run streak.  This is a better plan anyway as I have a 10k race tomorrow.

18360689_10154379451577461_1572207127_nSunday:  10k Shoppers Run For Women

Actual :  It was hot and humid and it was my 3rd fastest 10k.

Summary:  This was a Recovery Week. Weekly mileage was a mere 40km,, considerably less than the 50-60 that I have been logging.  Next week will be my final Big Week Before Tapering begins. I have mixed feelings.. on one hand I am glad to be nearing the end of this journey… on the other hand I will miss the structure of this training program.  Mostly I am glad that it is almost over.  Lawn bowling season is nigh upon us and I don’t have time to do both.

Cheers, y’all. !

Eight Eight Eight

It seems surreal that I have run 888 days in a row.  Eight. Eight. Eight.  That is huge!

… but it is also No Big Deal.    Running is just something that I do every day.  It has become a habit and my day is not complete until I have completed my run.

18300831_10154432999960913_6291063913904635067_nI didn’t plan to become a chronic Streaker.  I only planned to run every day for the month of December ( 2014) . It was hard!  Really, really hard!  I was counting down the days until I could take a day off.   A few days before my streak was scheduled to end, a work colleague challenged me to run every day in 2015.  We have a competitive relationship, so I couldn`t say No. And that is how it started.

There were several times when I should have quit as I was plagued with chronic minor injuries at first. If I had been doing this on my own, I would have gladly quit and been proud of myself for the effort.  But I couldn’t quit and admit defeat to my coworker.  So I kept going.  He eventually had to stop after a few months due to injury so I won the challenge but I didn`t have a good reason to quit so I kept going, and going, and going…..

18268311_10154432999970913_136473842119246876_nAnd that bring us to Day 888.  My Running Group has been wonderfully supportive of my addiction and they often plan special events for milestone days.  On May 5 we met at a local pool hall and did a little run, followed by pizza and 8 Ball.  They even presented me with some cool 888 Bling. I love this crazy bunch of runners.

What`s next?  Who knows?  I am just taking it one day at a time, one step at a time.  Running every day is a habit and literally has become No Big Deal for me.  I will keep running every day until the day that I decide that I am not going to run that day.

Cheers, everyone!

February in Review

Only 28 days in this month, but I managed to pack a lot of activity into it.

Cross Training- We have been blessed with snow, and lots of it, and I took advantage of that and did some snow shoeing.  Whew! That is tough work.  I have also been focusing on core strength training a lot this month. A friend and I attend CxWorx at Goodlife Fitness twice a week.  It is great to have  an accountability buddy.  The abs are shaping up nicely, but you can’t see them because they are still covered with some nice soft padding.

Other cross training has included rowing, stationary bike, and elliptical, plus some running specific strength exercises.

Run Streak –  Despite the unsettled weather in February, I ran outdoors every day except one.  On that day the streets were not runner friendly and the trails had not yet been cleared, so I did some intervals on the treadmill.

Marathon Training –  I took one week off because I needed the mental break.  I don’t think this harmed my training, as I was able to regain my focus easily the following week.

Races –  Hypothermic Half Marathon.  My goal was to run the entire distance without stopping to walk.  Goal achieved.  This is the first time that I have not stopped for a walk break. My “A” goal was 2:22, my finish time was 2:29.  I am not totally devastated by this time.  For one thing, the distance was measured wrong at 21.6km. #bonusmiles

-The other event that I did was the Coldest Night of the Year.  It is not a race, but is billed as a Walk, to raise awareness and $$$ for at-risk youth. I ran / walked with a friend. Sometimes its nice to just enjoy a social run.

Mileage – As every month draws to a close, I keep one eye on my stats to make sure that my running mileage totals more than 100 miles. February is a short month so it was no surprise to realize that I was going to have do some longer runs in the final days.  On February 28 I needed to run6 miles to total 100.  Two 5k runs took care of that.. or so I thought.  As I was rechecking my totals the next day, I realized that a snow shoe workout was accidentally counted as a run.  Total running mileage 97.4 miles.  Ooops !

Here’s hoping the March will be gentle with us.  Is anyone else training for a Spring marathon?  How do you manage the training in winter months?

 

Ottawa Marathon Training, Week 14

Spoiler Alert: I took the week off.

20170219_160106.jpgEvery Sunday evening I sit down and review my training plan , check my work schedule and family commitments and fine tune my plans for the upcoming week.  On Sunday February 12 I also kept one eye on the weather forecast.   A blizzard was expected to start in the wee hours of Monday morning and continue for more than 30 hours. Another severe weather system  was expected to move in mid week.  It wasn’t going to be a good week for running outdoors.  I have been doing a lot of my quality runs on the treadmill at the gym but knew that it might be  hard to make it to the gym this week.  Besides my body was fatigued from previous week’s Hypothermic Half Marathon, combined with snow shoeing and hard training……. so I decided to just take the week off.

Upon the advice of a friend, I had started my training plan two weeks early so that I would have that extra cushion of time in case of illness / bad weather. . The most challenging part of training for a Spring Marathon is that you have to train in Winter Weather.  On the east coast of Canada we get a few good snowstorms and on this particular week, we got one blizzard and one nor’easter. It seemed like a good time to take a break.

 

Not sure what Reduced Visibility means?  These two photos were taken seconds apart from my doorstep.  Where did my daughter’s truck go in the second photo?

In hindsight, taking the week off  proved to be a good idea.  During Monday’s blizzard the streets were declared closed except for emergency use only.  Ditto for Thursday’s nor’easter. If you live in snow country then you know that it takes several hours ( days?) to clean up after storms like that.  It is harder to run outdoors the day AFTER a storm because of the slushy snow on the streets combined with high snowbanks that limit visibility. My municipality does a great job of clearing walking trails after a storm and often have them cleared within 24 hours, but in the meantime it can be challenging to find a safe place to run.

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I should mention that I didn’t take the week off from physical activity, but I only did what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it, instead of what my Schedule dictated.  The previous week I had  missed one key workout on the treadmill so I did get that done. .  I did make it to the gym twice for cardio. Snow shoveling is a good cardio workout too. And I went show shoeing which was very intense.  And of course I still ran every day because that is  what I do.

20170217_091821.jpgJust a side note regarding my Run Streak:. I still ran every day , even during the storms, but I only went as far and as fast as I wanted.  In case you are wondering I have a plan for stormy days.  My street is a court and it just over  400 meters around.  All I have to do is run around my street 4 times and I have my mile done and I am never far from home.  It is a quiet street with little traffic so it is a good option. On Monday I was able to get out before the storm was too bad, and on Thursday the storm was expected to wane by late afternoon so I just waited it out.

Though I enjoy the discipline of training, it was nice to take  a mental break for one week.  I am glad to be back at ‘er this week though.

Cheers, my friends!

777 Consecutive Days of Running

20170114_203520My run group is pretty amazing.  The name of our Run Club is Riverview Running Idiots.  I have written before about some of the fun and silly things that we do, all in the name of Running.  It is great group and I am thankful for the encouragement and support that I have received from them.

 

When I started my Run Streak, a few of the club members cautioned me about injury  caused by overuse.  They insisted that Running Every Day could not be done safely. Only a couple of them supported my endeavor and wished me well.  I kept running every day but kept quiet about it  because there were so many Negative Nellies  that kept telling me I shouldn’t be doing it.

Fast forward 500 days.   I proudly and publicly ran my 500th Day on a regular run night.  The naysayers could not argue with the success of my run streak , especially as I was fortunate enough to remain uninjured.  Since then most of the run club members have  embraced my streak and are eager to help me celebrate milestones.  Day 666 was especially cool.  ( a run in the graveyard at night, dressed like a demoness… how could it NOT be cool . )

15940331_282598315488234_107995805885787348_nJan 14 was Day 777 of my Run Streak.  A couple of people in my run club used the milestone as a good excuse to participate in  some shenanigans.  We met at the local Casino to start our run at 2:07 pm. .   It was cold that day , about -12C ( 10F) and windy.  We have a lot of fair weather runners who only come up when the temperature is above freezing but a few of them came out that day to show support.  That was very cool and I really appreciate it.

This is picture of the 5k and 7.77 k’ers.  There were 12 others doing a longer distance.

 

 

15966271_10154029331776916_1146345180209245319_nDistance was 7.77 km.  A few people opted for 5k .  Some  people wanted to incorporate this into their Long Slow Run so they started  earlier and met us at the designated time.  Kudos to them for running 20k or more on this cold day.

Afterwards we enjoyed a lovely meal at the casino restaurant.  My run group presented me with a bottle of wine and some 777 Bling. They are already talking about 888. .. if I am still running then. Oh, the pressure!

It was  a great day and I was glad to share it with this crazy bunch of Idiots.

Cheers!

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