39 days of constant running (37 at the time I write this) has taught me more than a couple lessons. Lessons about running, lessons about stamina, lessons about perseverance, and lessons about myself.
I was uncertain how much pressure I could put on myself during this streak. I was afraid if I risked injury, I wouldn't be able to begin marathon training in July. (OMG that's this month, guys!) I was afraid if I pushed too hard or too far, I wouldn't be able to make it without a rest day.
|Every. Single. Day. BOOM!|
I realized I'm stronger than I think. I learned that I can transcend discomfort and pain - like during the week I was dealing with shin splints before they miraculously went away - and go beyond my goal. I was ready to call it quits there, and I'm so glad I chose to keep going.
I learned I could set my goal for 3 miles and then tack on one or two more if I was careful about my pace early on.
|Negative splits and an additional mile? I feel like a beast!|
I learned that focusing on short distances for awhile can drastically improve your pace...I can now run a mile well under 9 minutes without even feeling like I'm working for it; before the streak, that was unheard of.
I learned (or relearned) that working out consistently makes me sweat like a bear. It's downright embarrassing.
|Mm, nose sweat!|
I learned that when I set a goal and don't want to miss it, I'll do anything, including running at nearly midnight or running through a torrential Florida downpour, lightning included.
|After a full day in the airport/on planes, people!|
I learned that refrigerated towels are a luxury I don't want to live without.
|This is so glorious, it needs a new word to describe it.|
Mostly, I learned that the limits I've set on myself in the past were simply abstract creations that I put in my own way. If I want something, I can achieve it. Will this lesson stick with me? It's hard to say; some days you feel like Superman (or Superwoman) and can run a fast four miles without a thought, and others even two miles seems daunting.
But the more times you force yourself to face the daunting reality of...whatever...the more successful you'll become. There were days when I was too sore/too hot/too tired to do much more than a mile, but I went anyway and always felt better afterward. Eventually, you remember that, and your current discomfort makes you crave a run even more.
|This may be my new mantra.|
We learn something from the hard runs. Life is a freaking classroom, people. I couldn't plan a lesson as flawless as this run streak.
And now, with the streak due to end in two days, I find the most valuable gift this streak has given to me was a renewed sense of belonging. I am a runner. I belong here. And I feel confident and ready to tackle marathon training. This challenge set me up perfectly to take on the next.
And when in doubt, I can now look back on countless difficult runs during these 39 days alone and think, "Hell, I can do it. I can do anything."
What have you accomplished that you never thought you could?
What has running taught you?
What is the craziest weather you've ever run in?
*If you didn't click the link for Remy's "So I Went for a Run", do it. It's so heart-wrenching and inspiring. Here it is again.