Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Streak

Last time I posted I was in the early days of the Runner's World holiday run streak (#RWRunStreak for those following the tweets) and then I got so busy with running and holiday travel that I never had a chance to write again. Here's what went down:
I ran for 41 days straight, at least one mile per day from Thanksgiving morning until Jan 6th. On the 7th, a Wednesday last week, I hit the stopping point. It came naturally, I didn't plan it nor did I mourn when it happened. Wednesday was always going to be my toughest day, but I'd been on vacation for a few Wednesdays (Christmas and New Year's Day both fell on Wed) and last week I had returned to my usual long, busy Wed and without running on the treadmill before work, I was stuck. It was single digit wind chill outside and my cold-induced asthma lungs and I weren't risking it. So that was that. I had already hit 107 miles by Jan 1st,the original end point, so the rest was just gravy. I'm not even sure what the final tally was.
What I am sure of is how much I enjoyed the streak and what I learned from it. I always fancied myself to be a runner who needed plenty of recovery days, either swimming or on the bike or yoga, I wasn't running more than 4 days a week. I always assumed I'd self destruct if I tried running 6 or 7 days a week, but those fears were probably based on A. Nothing or B. My old, weaker self. Now that I've been strength training hard 2x a week (vs my old wimpy attempts 1x a week) I'm much stronger and able to handle the stress of more training. Yippee! This is excellent news for the upcoming triathlon season which will include not 1, but 2 half ironman races this year. As those guys on the TV show say, this myth has been busted, I can run way more than I gave myself credit for.
The second big thing I learned was that I have plenty of pockets of time in my week to get in an extra workout since this is the "off-season". I've always known that even a quick run gives me more energy and clears my head, we all know that, but it was really fun to get out and trot around the neighborhood on a random Monday evening and get in some crisp, cool air instead of sitting inside. I got to see the Hudson River sparkling on clear nights, crazy clouds on other nights, then fresh snow in a quiet park and so much more. I also really learned to appreciate the treadmill during the icy weather before Christmas and the single digit temps in early January. I normally never run inside, it's just too darn hot and I'm sweating all over everyone around me... It's not a good scene, but on days when the forecast called for icy drizzle or high of 12 degrees F in the evening, I got my ass up and ran at the gym before work, after work, in the evening, whenever. By the end of the streak I'd even done more than my minimal mile (usually a 15 min total between warm up, mile and "please god, let me stop sweating so much cool down), I even did a 6mi speed and hill run one evening when I knew group speed work was out of the question. The scary part is, I actually enjoyed it. No one was within sweat flying distance and I was able to hit my marks without worrying about tripping because it was dark or icy. I haven't been back on the treadmill since the streak ended, but the weather has been more cooperative, but I know it's there if I need it and it won't be too awful.
I'm looking forward to the Jackrabbit indoor tri series, I'm doing one on Feb 2nd and I'm excited to go back and try to repeat my performance from last year and get to the Championships again. I am also looking at a half marathon in late March, and with the streak under my belt I feel like I have a really solid base to start training. There's a big year ahead.

posted from Bloggeroid