Seven Quick Takes: What Last Summer’s Running Streak Taught Me

IMG_0133Welcome to Seven Quick Takes, hosted at This Ain’t the Lyceum. I haven’t participated in this in FOREVER, and I admit that I actually went to look at Kelly’s site to be sure it’s actually still going on. Head to Kelly’s blog to find more Quick Takers at the link-up.

Last summer I went through the Couch to 5K training program (Ct05K) a second time after seeing another mom do this following the birth of her eleventh baby. I honestly hadn’t thought about repeating the program, and I don’t know why, because it was a pretty good idea. I started it on May 31, and decided I wanted to run every day in June to see if I could do it. The longest run streak I’d ever had before that was 6 days, so this was going to be a huge stretch for me. The rules I set for myself were that I needed to run at least a mile each day, and walks were not going to count for the run streak. I could run inside or outside, depending on the weather. (Thank God we are members at the YMCA, or I wouldn’t have made it.) I learned some things during this amazing streak.

  1. Knowing I was going to run no matter what meant that I actually was going to run. I know this sounds stupid, but if you don’t have a schedule for it, sometimes you just let the day get away from you and never get out. That really works for anything you’re doing, whether it’s running or homeschooling or writing or whatever it is you want to do. When I knew I’d be running at least a mile, I made sure I figured out when I was going to do it. Even if I walked the dog around the block and through the woods (which was typically a little more than 2 miles), I still made sure I went around the block at least once for my own 1.5 miles. (Yeah, my block is enormous.)
  2. Sometimes you have a really crappy run, but that doesn’t mean you’re a crappy runner. There were days when I felt like my legs were made of lead, and they never loosened up no matter how long I was running. That stinks, especially when it falls on a specific workout day. (Cto5K is a three-workouts-per-week program, with gradually increasing difficultly over a nine-week period.) If I needed to do a 30 minute workout and my legs felt like that, it was hard to finish it. But I did it anyway. Sometimes you have to push through, and that alone proves you aren’t a crappy runner.
  3. The day after a crappy run, you usually have an awesome run. This is the other thing that proves a crappy run doesn’t make you a crappy runner. Usually, a day or two after The Worst Run I’ve Ever Had, I would win up having The Best Run I’ve Ever Had. I’d want to run for days! I’d feel like a gazelle as I ran down the Greenway. (Even if I know somewhere in my head that I actually look more like Phoebe.) The great runs totally made up for the crappy ones.fwsujouitpsty
  4. It started to become fun. After a couple of weeks, I really wanted to get out and run. I couldn’t wait to go out and hit the Greenway or run down the street towards town. I looked longingly at my running gear, waiting for the chance to get out and run. The streak wasn’t a burden after a while. It was a joy! Not only that, but my mental state was much better when I ran consistently. That runner’s high carries over throughout the day, and it makes for one happy mom.
  5. I didn’t want it to end. When I got to the end of June, I looked at my schedule and realized I had another run for Cto5K the next day, so I ran on July 1. On July 2, I felt funny not gong for a run, so I went again. Then it was Cto5K time again. And when I looked at the calendar, I realized that I wanted to keep going. I wanted to run through the entire Cto5K training! That was when I decided to do just that: keep the streak to the end of Couch to 5K. I wound up with a 69-day run streak in the end, and on day 70, I forced myself to NOT RUN. It was really, really hard.
  6. I am capable of more than I ever thought I was. Remember in my introduction? The longest run streak I’d had was 6 days. This streak was more than ten times that, and I felt GREAT. I had logged a total of more than 180 miles (though there are a few dog walks in there) over the two months. I’m not sure I logged that much the entire first year I ran! Starting this basic training program again meant that I could work on improving my pace and endurance, and I wound up being able to keep a pretty steady 10:30 pace while conversing with Nathan! The first time I did Cto5K, I would have been excited to keep a 12:00 pace consistently. Anything lower than that was amazing. Yesterday, I ran 5.25 miles, walked about 1/3 of it (my return trip was all uphill and into 10-20 mph winds), and my overall pace was 11:30. That run streak last summer is what has set me up for this.
  7. I’m going to do it again, but I can’t until summertime. The run streak took a lot of time, which is in short supply during the school year. But I definitely plan on trying out another streak this summer. I felt great, it made me healthier, and, let’s face it, dropping three sizes last year didn’t hurt. (Yeah, that’s another benefit.) Plus, the more I run, the more I get to eat and drink beer. And that’s truly a big part of why I run. Or at least it started to out that way. Now, I run because it’s fun, too.

Have you done something that you never thought you could?

Tell me about it! What’s been your big accomplishment?

©2017 Christine Johnson

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