What I Learned From Streaking

I often work out with a local training group, appropriately named RunStrong. Recently our coach issued several #NoExcuses challenges to begin the following month. My first instinct was to pick the one I KNEW I could accomplish. But then I got to thinking about it…

If you only attempt things you know for a fact you can do, is that REALLY a “challenge?” The point is to push yourself outside of your comfort zone because THAT is where the real growth happens.

If you know me AT ALL, then you know I like to run. However, you might be surprised to know that I do not run every day. Although I do enjoy running, I’m also a big fan of “Rest Day” or more commonly in my case: “Rest DAYS.” My typical routine is to run a day, rest a day, run a day, rest a day, and so on. I have been known to throw in some cross training* occasionally, but mostly I just #RunRestRepeat.

So, that all being said: one of the challenges Coach Jeremy offered was to run every day during the following month. I begrudgingly accepted this challenge, mostly because I had an overwhelming desire to mix things up, but also because I was curious to see what might happen if I stepped outside my comfort zone.

Now, I have THREE daughters, ONE granddaughter, FOUR cats, ONE Jack Russell Terrier –AKA our Jack Russell TERRORIST– TWO jobs, TWO classes at USM, ONE boyfriend (Have you MET Opie??) and a running ton –pun totally intended– of responsibilities and commitments pulling me in all directions. Every. Single. Day.

So… “Sure, I’d just love to add a little fuel to that fire! I don’t have quite enough going on.”

It’s kind of like willingly choosing to wear WHITE PANTS. “Why yes, my day is not nearly challenging enough on its own. I’d really like to take care on all of my tasks, struggles and obligations –you know– WHILE WEARING WHITE FRIGGIN PANTS.”

Multiple times, I had to get up before 5 a.m. to get my run in. Multiple times, I had to wait until after 7 p.m. for the heat to subside. Multiple times, I literally had family and friends waiting on me because I “had to get my run in!”

But guess what!?

I DID IT! Cue the choir!

I ran a mile (or more) per day every day that month for a total of 50 miles EXACTLY. What.

A few days after the streak ended, Opie asked me what I felt I had gotten out of completing the streak. I didn’t hesitate when I answered, “Just knowing that I could do it!”

You see, for me, the biggest running challenges I face are mental more so than physical. My body can… my mind is where the challenge comes in. I’ve heard it said that “Running is nothing more than a series of arguments between the part of your brain that wants to stop and the part that wants to keep going.”

I have to agree whole-heartedly with this statement. But I’m not only referring to the mental battle that takes place DURING THE RUN, there’s also some mental prep that comes into play PRE-RUN as well. Committing to lacing up those running shoes EVERY DAY and getting myself out that door was more of a challenge for me than actually running the daily mile(s). The thought of dedicating that time from my day, every day, gave me more mental strain than physical strain.

But finishing that month long running streak awarded me a true sense of accomplishment. To know that when I put my mind to it, when I accept a challenge, when I really commit to a goal… I am able to rise to the occasion. Well, confidence like that is priceless.

Wonder what I’ll take on next…

Happy running, friends.

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