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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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?

 

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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Treadmills Runs are Runs too.

This is the 9th week of my Marathon Training program and as I review the last few weeks I see one recurring theme.  My workouts are being compromised by the weather.   The weather is not a surprise. I live on the East Coast of Canada after all.  The only thing predictable about Winter is the unpredictability of the weather.

I should backtrack here and remind you that I am a Run Streaker.  Today marks the 773rd consecutive day that I have run at least one mile.  Within that streak is another streak, a streak within a streak you might say.  Until yesterday I ran 495 days outdoors regardless of weather.  There is something exhilarating  about running in a blizzard and I have embraced the Bad Assery of running in cold, heat, rain, wind, ice, etc. Sure I have done some training runs on  a treadmill ( like maybe two) but always got outdoors for a one mile run  too. Until yesterday.

Yesterday’s Training Plan called for   a 10k Tempo run.  The streets are slushy/greasy/slippery.  There was no way that I could do a Tempo run safely or efficiently.  My options were to

  • take my training indoors .
  • reschedule
  • cancel the workout

c12_-kaxuaivhmkI decided to take my training indoors.  I run occasionally on a treadmill but it has been several months since my last session. To my surprise I loved it.   My treadmill tempo pace was slower than my outdoor tempo pace but it felt like the same effort and I worked up a good sweat.  I did cut my run short because I didn’t want to overdo it my first time. ( I did 7 instead of 10k,  my longest treadmill run to date)

I was glad that I chose to run indoors.  Currently I am reading “Run Like A Champion” by Alan Culpepper.  I doubt if I will ever BE a champion but there are a lot of insights in the book that have been helpful.   Culpepper speaks of the Flow of your training and how important it is to stick with your plan to maintain Flow. ( while still balancing other aspects of your life. ) The eye opener for me was when he spoke of the Weather . It is his belief that your training plan should be challenging enough  that you don’t need to be fighting the weather as well. And he is right!  For the last couple of weeks I have been fighting the weather. It has been getting tiresome running in the relentless wind and my hips are getting sore from shuffling through slush and snow.

It was a mental struggle for me to ditch my outdoor run in favor of the treadmill.   For over a year I have done my running outdoors and am proud of the mental strength that allowed me to accomplish that.  My Run Streak is still intact at 773 days but my outdoor Streak is over.  It was the sensible thing to do, and I ended it on my terms.

Last night when I left the gym it was a lovely evening with the stars shining brightly and mild temperature and I just stood there for a few moments enjoying it. It was one of the nicest evenings that we have had for awhile and I was tempted to go for a one mile run to enjoy it.    Then I looked down at the ankle deep muddy slush and got in in the car and drove home.

The End.

Streaking for Dummies

My name is Diane and I am a Streaker. It is an addiction.  I have run every day since November 30, 2014 and I can’t stop. Nor do I want to stop.

With the conclusion of the Runner’s World Run Streak a couple of days ago, there is a whole new batch of new Streakers who have successfully ran 39 days.  Some of them love it so much that they plan to continue. A few  have asked me for advice and here it is.

DON’T DO IT!  STOP WHILE YOU CAN!

For those of you who don’t want to heed that advise I have made a list of things of things that I have learned.  You can learn from my mistakes. Caution: Streaking May Be Addictive.

  • One Mile a Day. That’s it. It doesn’t have to be fast.
  • Treadmill miles count.
  • Don’t run the same run every day. Vary your pace, intensity, ground surface, route, elevation.  You don’t want to use the same muscles every day.
  • Plan ahead. Schedule your run into your day. Just like you don’t skip supper, don’t skip your run.
  • Life happens.  Sometimes your plan goes awry. Be flexible, but get it done before midnight.
  • Midnight runs are a good strategy.  Start your run after the clock strikes twelve and then go to bed.  When you wake in the morning  your daily run is already done.  Take the day off, and schedule the next day’s run late in the day to maximize your Rest Time.
  • Follow the 80 / 20 rule .  At least 80 % of your runs should be easy.
  • Do not increase your weekly mileage by more than 10%
  • Involve your friends.  Plan some of your runs with running buddies to stay motivated.
  • If you have more than one pair of running shoes, let them  rest at least 24 hours between runs.
  • Cross training : biking, swimming, walking , etc
  • Yoga is your best friend.
  • Seriously, you can’t do enough Yoga.
  • Core Strength, make it happen
  • Find support through Social Media.  There are dozens of FB pages dedicated to people who run every day.   I recommend “Streak Runners International” and “2017 Running Streak Challenge”
  • Listen to your body. If it says “No Way! ” Listen to it.  Injuries suck and it would be stupid to aggravate an injury for some silly little run streak.  ( do as I say, not as I do. )
  • Have fun with it but remember that some days will suck.

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This is a  picture that I found online. It is a runner with no clothes on, which has nothing to do with my post.  There is no indication that this man runs every day but I thought it was a cool pic.

I recommend Streaking for many reasons and will write a separate blog post on that topic at a later date.   Keep in mind that we are all different , and we all have different strengths.   Some people are designed to run fast, others are designed to run far.  And some of us are foolish enough  to Run Every Day.

RSD #667

Cheers!

Oh The Weather Outside is Frightful, so I’ll learn to love the Treadmill

Yesterday was like a Snow Globe.  Big fluffy flakes of snow floating gently down to gather on the ground.  Underfoot conditions were a bit tricky but I managed to run a very slow 6km.  The snow was pretty and the run  was slow.

Today the temperature  dropped to -15C with a Real Feel of -36C. Yikes!  It is weather like this that separates the Streakers from the Regular Runners. And it is weather like this that is playing havoc with my marathon training plan. It is not even officially Winter yet and already the weather has forced me to alter my Plan several times.

This is not my first winter for running but it is my first winter for Training and I am beginning to realize that there is a big difference.  I have a feeling that I am going to learn to love a Treadmill.   Run safely, my friends.    ddd