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