Streaks

My Journey to 1500 Days of Running. Part 1

Last week I wrote about why you shouldn’t run every day.

I’m sure most of you had this reaction.

Today marks my 1500th day straight of running at least six miles.

Three years before the streak started I ran two miles in the snow at a 12-minute pace.

In 2016 I got a Fitbit and took the 10,000 steps a day suggestion to heart. I determined the easiest way to get 10K steps was to run 6 miles a day.

I had no intention of being a better runner, I just wanted to be healthier. After three days my friend noticed I had a small streak going and challenged me to run 100 days in a row…

After the steak reached three weeks, I felt I could try race speed. I made up my own personal 10K and ran at a good rate. I now knew it was possible to run every day and still push it some days.

I decided to run a half marathon on day 48. The days leading up I simply just started running my six miles at a slower pace. The day before I actually split my running up into two separate runs. The plan worked.

Even with a strong half-marathon, I was still focused on just finishing six miles a day. I took to the Pokemon Go craze and would play while I was running.

I would run mini laps around gyms while battling

100 days came and went without any fanfare. I felt great, I knew I wasn’t going to stop any time soon. My weekly mileage stayed in the low 40s for the rest of 2016, occasionally¬†I would throw a long run in.

Come April 2017, it was time to run my annual University of Illinois race. I decided to just go for a half marathon. To my surprise, I created a new PR and was closer to getting sub-seven-minute miles. Everyone has their own measures of success, mine was to generate a Boston marathon qualifying pace. For 35-39-year-old males, a 3:05:00 marathon is required. That’s 7-minute miles for 26.2 miles.

I refused to accept the fact that with proper training I could qualify for Boston and be a real runner. I was too focused on successfully completing a year of running six or more miles without injuring myself or going into a state of depression.

On my anniversary I wanted to set a celebrate by setting a new goal.

I would now run seven or more miles a day.

I had been regretting not setting 10k as my goal, but as a true American, I continued to defy the metric system. I focused on getting long runs each weekend and consistently getting 60 or more miles in a week.

I ran over 3000 miles in 2017.

In 2018 I failed to fully commit to marathon training. I signed up and put in the necessary long runs, but never did any intervals or hills or pushed myself. I doubted my abilities. When April came around, I decided I would shoot for a target heart rate of 170 (my max HR is 200) and hope for the best.

I was still 20 minutes away from qualifying.

I continued to wonder, “What if I put in the work?”

While I had passing thoughts about qualifying for Boston I was ignoring that I had run every day for two straight years. I refused to accept that as an accomplishment. It was just something I did.

My journey continues in future posts.

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