I headed into the final 15 day stretch of my October Run Streak Challenge feeling hopeful that my running habit would be solidified, & that it would become something that I could carry forward once the month ended. I am confident in saying that I have been successful on both accounts!
I hit the gym for days 17 & 18 with few problems, but faced a challenge on day 19. Having spent my evening helping with set-up for a grad fundraiser, & partaking in several delicious slices of the pizza we had ordered for the kids , I had to suffer through an extremely full mile at 9:30 at night. Days 20-26, went by without any significant hiccups, but day 27 brought another scheduling nightmare. I spent the day in Wainwright at a PD session, came home to change, rushed off to a special dinner meet holocaust survivor Eva Olsson (you can read about the amazing experience here), went directly from dinner to Eva’s evening presentation & then returned to the school to make sub-plans, as I was registered for another PD conference the next day! Whew! After all of that, I was emotionally & physically exhausted. I literally had not had a spare minute, but I made it to the gym at 10:00 p.m. & got ‘er done. I spent day 28 at a conference in Edmonton, then met up my Mom & brother, who came back to Vermilion for a visit. They drove along beside me as I took advantage of the beautiful weather for a night run. On day 29 we returned to the city, & I spent some time shopping with my Mom. Knowing I wouldn’t make it back home until after midnight, we measured out the distance in the Toys R’ Us parking lot, & I jogged 8 loops around the make-shift track in my mukluks. Having supportive people around really makes a huge difference because they help to hold you accountable to your goals, even in less than conventional circumstances! Days 30 & 31 were uneventful in comparison, & I enjoyed Halloween night, soaking in my sense of accomplishment for having completed my goal.
However, my feelings were obvious: I wasn’t quite ready to give up on my streak that easily. After all, I’d already ran for 31 days straight. Couldn’t I do a few more? So, I did. My streak officially came to an end on Day 40. While I was sad to see it go, I also felt an enormous sense of relief.
- The streak taught me that excuses about lack of time & energy are just that: excuses. They aren’t valid. If you decide you want to pursue a goal badly enough, if you care about something deeply enough, if you are invested in something passionately enough, you can (& you WILL) find the time to make it happen.
- The streak taught me that running is natural. A body in motion, stays in motion. Our bodies are meant to move. They are meant to carry us. They are meant to be strong. Running consistently feels so good because it’s what our bodies were built to do. It also helped me to maintain my weight without being constantly worried about the effects of indulging in snacks & sweets.
- The streak taught me that movement is medicine. Running is a cathartic exercise. There is both immediate & lasting relief in the steady regularity of steps, & in the rhythm of heartbeats. I began to crave my uninterrupted tine to run each day because it was dedicated to ME. My wellbeing & my body were put first for those few minutes, & I would put on a podcast, & lose myself in the act of running, untangling the knots in the fabric of my life that had accumulated throughout the day. I almost always finished a run feeling better than when I started.
What does one do after running for 40 days straight? Well, I have a weight-loss goals to meet before the New Year, & I still have three races to complete to meet my goal of 16 races in 2016. The last six weeks of 2016 will see me continue to run consistently, I promise.