on (run)streaking

Thanks to burnout and work travel and a million other reasons/excuses, I pretty much stopped running after the Berlin Marathon and felt absolutely no desire to resume running. Despite practically ugly crying in the middle of a Mexican Sam's Club/Costco/BJs over Shalane Flanagan winning the New York City Marathon, I didn't feel inspired to run, which honestly made me question whether or not I still had a pulse. 

I mean, ok, I did run. Like, once a week. And while those runs were a lot of fun, I was also (literally) painfully  aware of just how out of shape I was. If I thought I didn't have a pulse, I was quickly reminded of it when I would redline on a stupid easy run and wonder if my heart was about to burst out of my chest, a la Spaceballs. Humble pie, yum yum yum, barf. To go from running a marathon PR to having to walk&wheeze on a 3 mile run within 6 weeks is a little soul-crushing - but the only way to fix that is, duh, to go for a damn run, and I really didn't want to.

 If you look carefully, you can see a few holes that required a little bit of jumping, also, that river looks much less stressful once you're done, which is probably a life metaphor (or something)

If you look carefully, you can see a few holes that required a little bit of jumping, also, that river looks much less stressful once you're done, which is probably a life metaphor (or something)

Just as I was starting to get comfortable wallowing in self-pity and adjusting to my new identity as a 'former' runner, enter the Runner's World run streak challenge, which started on Thanksgiving and ended on New Year's Day. The challenge? Run a minimum of 1 mile, every day, and that's IT. Every day I could feel a tiny little spark of accomplishment for just 10 minutes of work - which is also the amount of time it takes for my coffee maker to make a full pot, so a win-win, really, because hooray for instant gratification! And coffee. Oh, and fitness.

Maybe it was the cold, maybe it was the return of endorphins, maybe it was too much/not enough coffee, but somewhere in the last 40 days, that tiny spark of accomplishment eventually added up and something clicked again, and for that I am grateful.

So, here are some notes/photos over the last 40 days of running, which is to say, if you've made it this far - I hope you give running just a mile every day a shot. Even if it's 3° outside, because that makes 32° feel so much nicer if it ever happens again. Even if 1 mile never manifests into 10 miles, because 1 mile is still better than 0 miles.

Day 1: Kinda-drunk Thanksgiving treadmill miles, followed by chocolate cream pie and Thanksgiving dinner round 2 (but who's counting)

Day 5: procrastination logic: if I run to yoga from work (.6) and then back, well, TECHNICALLY this is a whole mile - also, now I can get there in less than 5 minutes which is great because leaving on time has never been my forte 

 Day 10: because it's much easier to run around for 15 minutes than it is to wait for fries to bake

Day 10: because it's much easier to run around for 15 minutes than it is to wait for fries to bake

 Day 13: best way to continue this streak was getting back into run commuting, also getting home faster is always a win

Day 13: best way to continue this streak was getting back into run commuting, also getting home faster is always a win

 Day 19: first, but not last, icy eyebrows 

Day 19: first, but not last, icy eyebrows 

 Day 35: chocolate milk post-run is good for you, which means hot chocolate is too, right?

Day 35: chocolate milk post-run is good for you, which means hot chocolate is too, right?

Day 7: tried to take the bus to acupuncture, but the bus never came and I didn't want to be late, also I forgot gloves and it was cold, I should have just run to acupuncture to begin with

Day 16: overheard some guy tell his friend that my light-up running vest was "a nice set of lights" but also did not try to talk to me and for that I am grateful, also yes, this vest is the best!

Day 21: late runch, 25° (but sunny!), fueled by Christmas cookies and cider, holy crap running in the daylight is so nice!

Day 24: flew into Copenhagen this morning and I really thought today was the day this streak was going to end, but here I am, running in circles and weirding out the nice people who live in this neighborhood... where the hell is this AirBnB that I literally left ten minutes ago? Also, Copenhagen is warmer than Boston

Day 25: forgot running watch, battery is at 20 percent, vacation has just started, oh no. Ran to Assistens Cemetery to say hi to Hans Christian Andersen and gave up on finding Neils Bohr until I saw an owl on a grave and was like: hey I like this owl, who dis? oh, I FOUND HIM (doesn't everyone wander around graveyards with their college bff?) Also, Copenhagen is warmer than Boston

Day 26: battery at 10 percent, only slightly (definitely) disrupted daily commuters on their bikes when we found this public park that had all sorts of swings and sculptures and PALM TREES. Also, Copenhagen is warmer than Boston

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Day 28: today I ran a star, and then a circle around the star, saw the Little Mermaid, ran a little more, 43° and sunny makes for a very warm day to this girl. Also, Copenhagen is warmer than Boston

Day 31: waited until 10PM (warmest part of the entire day) so there was less ice but that also meant running in a "wintery mix" which I hate - DID I MENTION COPENHAGEN IS WARMER THAN BOSTON

Day 32: slip slidin' away for 8 miles which is honest to god kind of a Christmas miracle because when was the last time I ran this far? PROBABLY BERLIN... definitely Berlin

Day 33: because today is Christmas and on Christmas you wear a Santa hat on your run. Wait, I think I remembered this Love Actually quote wrong? Wore a Santa hat, which was surprisingly very comfortable and also festive and made three people laugh - the only other runner I crossed paths with, the man clearing snow on the bike trail (thank you for not hitting me AND clearing the path!), and a man walking his dog

Day 38: isn't 16° supposed to feel warmer than 9°? ALSO HELLO 1,000 MILES, maybe next year I will record all of my miles? Also I think I am going to never leave my bed again if I ever warm up

Day 40: I'M DONE I'M DONE I'M DONE - now what?