I've run at least one mile every day for the last fifty days, halfway towards my goal of streaking for 100 days.
first off, I told you on day eleven that I was never going to talk about the streak again, not until I finished it. at the time I felt, as I sometimes do, that talking about it was somehow going to jinx it, and preferred to keep it to myself. except actually I talk about the streak all the time. I'm comfortably far enough into it that there's no chance I'm going to break it out of laziness, so I no longer feel touchy about it.
I started this streak after several weeks off. I ran hood to coast in late august with almost no training, and then didn't run again for three weeks. when I finally started back, I happened to run two days in a row, and I thought, maybe I should just keep going. in that first week, which began on a thursday, I was full of enthusiasm and ran sixteen miles.
those first two or three weeks were kind of exhilarating -- every day came the thought, "I'm going to do it again!" and I kept a careful tally of my streak total. but they were also hard as hell. I felt nearly every day like I was towing a barge. in the spring, after several months of running consistently, I felt fast. now, I felt heavy and slow and clumsy. I had to force myself to overcome the most basic of runner problems: overtraining. I had to run shorter distances or risk injuring myself and ruining the streak. I learned the basic mileages around my neighborhood: a mile and a quarter loop from my house to bybee and back; two miles to the duck pond; 3.7 miles through the wildlife preserve.
In the beginning, when every run felt awful, I knew I just had to keep running and let my body catch up. I finally began to feel better in the third and fourth weeks. On day 28, I ran the first of my two miles that night at a 6:46 pace, maybe my fastest ever.
my weekly mileage continues to average very low, at about a half-marathon a week. the breakdown:
week 1 (days 1-4): 16.41
week 2: 16.05
week 3: 12.4
week 4: 11.5
week 5: 15.2
week 6: 16.77
week 7: 11.7
my total accumulated streak distance, since september 16: about 106 miles.
I have a complicated relationship to the streak. I often hate it. week four, when I ran only 11 miles? it was because I was working 12-hour days at the office, frantically finishing up the hansel & gretel music before rehearsals began. I ran the 1.25 mile loop nearly every day that week, covering just the bare minimum to keep me going. I hated the streak on those days. but the streak is tremendously freeing, too. it completely eliminates the question, "am I going to run today?" after 50 days, there's not a question of whether or not I'll do it. I don't have to summon motivation in the same way. the question shifts: "how far am I going to run today?" "when am I going to fit it in today?" "am I going to take it easy today?"
I've run several times in the dark, having missed all daylight opportunities. the other night I realized I hadn't run while I was at the barn working; I changed into running clothes there and when I got home, I got out of the car and immediately went on my run without even going inside, afraid to wait any longer. I've run several quick one-milers in between work and other events. several weeks ago, I was nearly late to my friend kelly's wedding (herself a streaker; she just broke day 300) because I had to run beforehand.
the streak has been hard on my body. I have recently seen a chiropractor for the first time in my life. in the mornings, getting out of bed, I am nearly always sore somewhere. I'm desperately longing to up my mileage, but right now I don't trust my body to comply. too many things hurt: IT bands, left calf, psoas, low back, feet, left hamstring. I have to tell myself what a good base I'm building, but it's true that a mile and a quarter barely makes me break a sweat anymore, and no longer feels satisfying except in the "another day down" sense. funny how running every single day makes me feel as though I miss running. will I get back there?
by chance, the hundredth day is christmas eve. I have thought nearly since the beginning that I would likely continue past day 100, but these days I'm unsure. the complicated relationship: I love the streak. I am afraid if I stop streaking, I might not have the motivation to keep running like this. and after all, it's just a mile a day! just one mile. this is how people go on streaking for 10, 20, 30 years. I can't imagine the day I decide, today is the day I'm not running. it's already a huge decision, after only 50 days. and it's just one mile.