In March of this year, I started running.
My running history is sporadic, to say the least.
Before the age of 29, I wouldn’t run, even if chased. There was no way my lazy ass would have even considered it. Runners were crazy people who moved their bodies for enjoyment, and those people were not my people. I was happily in the couch-potato crowd, not really knowing or caring there was any other way to be.
Then, you know, babies and stuff. I changed my eating habits to be a good example, lost some weight, and then, well, the next logical step was to join a gym so I could move a bit more.
Funny things happen when you start moving more and surround yourself with people who actually enjoy exercise. Those people tend to inspire you, and your body starts to crave more movement. There’s definitely a bit of a domino effect in play, and, well, that’s the story of how I ended up running my first 5k in a nutshell.
That first 5k happened in 2008, and there was no going back to the couch after that.
I was hooked.
I ran consistently for the next five or so years completing a couple of marathons, around eight halves, countless 5ks, and even got into those adventure-style races where you get all muddy and complete obstacles.
If you know me, you know I thrive on experiences and trying new things. So, when a new gym opened in my area, I gave it a shot, and before I knew it, running was slowly being replaced with weight lifting and CrossFit as my daily routine.
In 2012, my local CrossFit gym became a complete social and physical outlet for me. The more and more classes I attended, the less and less I ran.
I didn’t really miss it either. I was too focused on hitting PRs and learning about Olympic lifts until I no longer could.
When all the gyms were forced to close, I lost the one thing I did solely for me.
Other Moms understand this, I’m sure. I constantly juggle the needs of everyone in the household, but the gym?
The gym was mine.
My place. My friends. My time.
And now it was gone.
So, on March 17 of this year, I dug out my old running shoes. They were beaten up and dirty, but that’s the great thing about running–you don’t need much. A pair of sneaks, and you’re ready to go.
I headed out that morning around 7 am. It was hard. Being in shape and being in “running shape” are two different things. Running isn’t only physical. It’s mental.
I’d argue it’s more mental than physical.
After that run, though, I decided to start a streak.
What is a Running Streak?
A running streak simply means running every day, consecutively for a set distance or time. That’s it! And the great thing about a run streak is that you set the rules.
My goal: cover a mile a day. Ever day.
Some days I run a straight mile or longer.
Other days, I run intervals, either time based or distance based.
I hit the trails.
I explore the guided runs on the NikeRunClub app.
I ran my first tempo run a few weeks ago.
I even ran a fartlek without even knowing what a fartlek was.
Bottom line, I run. Daily.
I know it sounds impossibly hard to run every. single. day. But when you really sit back and think about it, a mile run, even on your absolute, worst day, wouldn’t take you more than twenty minutes.
You can walk a mile in twenty minutes.
My current average is just over a ten-minute mile. So, in essence, I committed to doing something for myself for at least ten minutes a day.
Why do I even bother?
Well, because I’m worth ten minutes a day.
I’m not going to sugar coat things. The last nine months have been hard. They have been hard on everyone. I am struggling daily to find the motivation to get out of bed, and I know I’m not the only one.
But you know what happens when I wake up and stare at the ceiling, trying to remember what day it is?
Someone needs something from me.
The kids need me. My students need me. Clothes need washing. Bills need paying. The dog has to go out. The cat needs food. The garbage is overflowing. I can keep going here, but y’all know. You’re dealing with it too.
But do you know what happens when I go out on a run?
I leave it all behind—all of it. And for ten minutes or…. two hours, I’m out there in the fresh air, and no one can ask anything of me. I’m alone and, right now, it’s the only way for me to be alone.
I’m not exaggerating here when I say my run streak helps me stay sane in this completely insane world.
There have been days (more than I want to admit) when I did NOT want to go out for those ten stupid minutes. And on those days, it’s the streak that pushes me out the door.
I know it’s silly. I know it doesn’t really matter to anyone whether or not I go out for some stupid mile run, but again, funny things happen when you start moving more.
Momentum has taken over.
Now I want to see how long I can keep this up.
Today was day #252. I ran a local trail and enjoyed every moment of being out there.
Tomorrow I’ll probably just lightly jog a recovery mile around my neighborhood.
Regardless, I’ll get it done. It’s hard to come up with excuses when you’ve already proven to yourself you can take at least ten minutes, even on the shittiest of days.
It’s even harder when you know that ten minutes always makes you feel better.