I've been streaking!

   I've been streaking! Some of it has even been of the running variety! Recently I ran the St. Paddy's 8k (Put on by the NoG Run Club) in Raleigh, NC. While the organization, the race, and the whole event itself were fantastic, the run for me was miserable. Coming off yet another injury that that led to the need to rest my hip flexor, then hamstring, then knee, I spent the past 5 months running less and less each week until my total weekly mileage was reduced to zero. But since so many of my friends were running the event, and it always promises to be a good time, I got registered and was on my way.

   I didn't think much of it, except for the fact that after a miserable race time and performance I lamented to a very fast friend that I had won first place male (while wearing a kilt) during last year's race. At first she made a face and then flat out said, "No." Uhhhh...what? I proceeded to make the same incredulous face as when the kid at the local burger place asks me if I want to super size my combo. I'm sorry, what human being in their right mind is going to turn that offer down?? I went ahead and reaffirmed that I was indeed the winner, and then offered photographic evidence on my phone. After a few minutes she looked up at me and said "Give me a break! Since I've met you you've done nothing but be lazy and eat Taco Bell!" 
Shhhhhh, my love. No one blames you.

    What I didn't realize was that instead of putting in the work that I used to day in and day out as an amateur runner who was continuously inspired by both the elites and the everyday people grinding it out, I was coasting on the reputation of a guy who used to be a daily participant in the grind. Somewhere along the way I had stopped putting in all the work, using plague of injuries as an excuse and just trusting that everyone knew what I had in me. Hearing those words from someone that didn't know me before the injury was as much of a shock to my system, and ego, as man turning 40 and seeing his body in the mirror for the first time since he played quarterback in high school.

   Apparently the shock was shown thoroughly enough on my face that she looked at me and said, "Want to know the secret? Run every day for three years." While she said it absentmindedly and proceeded to go back to her beer, I took it to heart as a challenge. While I wasn't sure I'd make every day for three years, I was up for giving it a shot and could already see the beginning of a Rocky-like training montage of getting back into running shape forming in my head. 

I was kind of hoping being offered the secret would have more of the ominous 'shady character in a trench coat' overtones 

   So thats how I got started on this little streaking adventure. As of writing this, I'm just shy of 40 days of streak running, and wanted to share some of the things I've learned so far from the experience. 

   First things first, lets establish the 'rules' I'm operating on here. Every day one non stop mile. That's it. It doesn't matter if its a six minute mile or a ten minute mile as long as I keep running and don't stop.Having to do just one mile makes it mentally easy to get out the door, because by the time you want to stop, you're already done. In fact, the day after the race was only two extremely slow miles because I was so sore from the race everything hurt and I was going to die. Which leads me to my next point.

   For about the first two to three weeks everything is going to hurt and you're going to feel like you're dying. One of two things are happening here. Either A) you're really dying, in which case I'd like to remind all friends and family members that I am not, in fact, not a physician and that following any and all advice presented in this blog is akin to taking political opinions from your Facebook newsfeed seriously. The second, and probably more likely option is that your body is trying to fake you out and make all attempts at getting you to resist further exercise. This bit of lesser known science is backed by the new Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, as she points out that long ago the bodies of our ancestors needed to save and store the energy for outrunning dinosaurs.

The seal makes it official 

   Not to worry! After your body finally acknowledges that this won't be like that time you tried salsa dancing, kickboxing, or Indian food, and you're actually going to stick with this, it begins to get with the program and get a little stronger. The resistance stops a bit and the stride begins to feel natural out the door. Thats not to say that you won't be sore or tired, but you'll experience a significant reduction after the initial shock wears off.

    There are other side benefits too. If you've been running for any length of time at all, you know that one of the hardest parts of running can be just getting yourself out the door. I've noticed with streak running that its a lot easier to stop skipping the runs when I don't feel like it. (Daily running is obviously an integral part of keeping a running streak going.) Before if it was late, or the weather was bad, or if I woke up from a nap- I would make an excuse and tell myself I would go tomorrow, or later. Knowing that I have to get my run in today helps push me out the door, while as I mentioned before, knowing that its only one mile makes it manageable. Quite often what happens though is that once a mile or two is accomplished I find myself delusional and thinking that another few miles wouldn't hurt. This kind of mentality helps make the weekly mileage add up quickly.

   Finally, one of the other benefits I've noticed from the daily run streak is injury prevention via changing my mindset. I often struggle with the thought that my speed is only as good as my last run, which has often led to running too fast, too often. This in turn would cause a chain of injuries. With streak running, even at low mileage, you simply can't redline everyday. You slowly become accustomed to going easier on easy days, and thus having the energy to go hard and all out on the days that you are supposed to. You know, like real training. Crazy, right??

Save the daily push for a part of your body that can handle it. Like your liver, for instance

   Whether or not you choose to pick up streak running is completely up to you. For what its worth, I've tried a few times in the past, and might have made it a week or so. Having used it this time as motivation to get out of a slump and get out the door with an excuse to down a few more burritos as been the way to go!

   As always, thanks for reading and making it to the bottom of this one! Theres no reward here, so I apologize for dredging up any memories of childhood where you did the same with you cereal box, only to find that someone already got the toy at the bottom. Don't forget to come back and check out next week's edition as I review the Tar Heel 10 Miler!

Pepperidge Farm ALWAYS remembers




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