Thursday, December 29, 2011

Year End Exercise Challenge/Running Streak Update

Day 42.  I never thought I'd make it to day 42.

I'm a mere 3 days away from ending my running streak and I've learned a lot about myself and my body along the way.  See, I started this streak back in November after reading about the Runner's World run streak challenge which encouraged runners to run at least a mile a day from Thanksgiving Day though New Years Day.  Being an overachiever, I started up the streak a little early, while in Boston for work. (what better place to start a run streak, eh?)  When I first blogged about this challenge, I encouraged people (readers of my blog, people in my life) to try to exercise daily until new years.  Sadly, besides my friend Kali of finishingfirsts, I don't know anyone who has been able to streak for this long.  (she's actually going for a year long streak - you go girl!)  But I can understand why it's easy to fail at a challenge like this.  Free time is pretty limited around the holidays, and unless you're as obsessed with running or exercising as I am, I can see how it would be easier to sit on the couch than hit the streets or the gym.

But I'm so glad I did this. 

Me and my inspiration for streaking, Kali from finishingfirsts

I had a stress fracture earlier in the year that sidelined me from running for 3 months.  And in terms of rest days, 3 months seems like an eternity.  I promised myself when I was immobile that I would take every opportunity I could find to run once I got better, and that's what I've been trying to do.  And although I haven't really made any fantastic improvements in per run distance or speed, I do feel like my daily running has helped me get back to a place where I can train for another race.  (hello, 50s for Your Momma 50K that I'll start training for in January)  My weekly miles have crept up over the past 41 days and I think my endurance is steadily improving.  Although I haven't lost as much weight as I would have liked during the streak (about 5 lbs.), I do feel like I'm on the right track to getting my body back into long distance running shape. 

Has this been easy?  Hell no.  Some days were rough.  I've been out in rain, sleet, snow...and perfectly sunny 60 degree days.  I've been slow, slower, and a couple times I had to walk.  But like the famous running poster says, I was still faster than anyone sitting on the couch.  During my journey I've also pulled just about every muscle you could pull, thought I'd re-broken my ankle, and irritated my IT band.  I think I was less sore during marathon training, to be honest.  Which brings me to the number one thing I've learned:

For me, and my body, I need rest.  I can trudge along and run day in and day out, but my body hates me for it.  And not in a good way.  For me to be able to improve my distance (which is vital in training for anything) or speed (I had my slowest 5K ever in November) my old bones need a break.  And a break is what I'm going to take next week.  Although it might be tough, I'm going to take a week off and then hit the ground running to train for my next big race.  If I can not injure myself in the next few days. (for the record, if all goes as planned, at the end of the streak, I will have run a little over 3 miles per day on average, and roughly around 140 miles)

I'm looking forward to starting my next challenge - 50K training.  Are you challenging yourself to do anything int he new year?

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