It all started on my Bachelorette Party in June 2014. I was in the process of tapering for Grandmas marathon which was 7 days away! I kicked off my bachelorette part with a 5k with some of my bridesmaids! It was a lot of fun- especially because I won and gained a shiny new PR of 19:56 😉
Later that night, we all cleaned up and downtown Minneapolis. The first bar we went to was CowBoy Jacks.
Note: I am not wearing shoes on the riding bull.
It was all fun and games until I fell off the bull.
I instantly felt a sharp pain in my foot. When I looked down there was blood EVERYWHERE. What happened next was a whirlwind, but I ended up in the ER. My foot was sliced open from broken glass on the riding bull platform, and I had glass stuck in my foot.
In the ER, My foot was given 2 shots for “numbing”. They then began digging around the massive cut in my foot for glass pieces. Once they found all the glass, I was given 10 stitches and told not to run until the stitches came out 2-3 weeks later.
I was completely devastated. The entire time this was happening I had one thought: “I wont be able to run Grandmas”. I think I was more heartbroken than I was in physical pain.
I was unable to run Grandma’s Marathon that year due to this incident. When I was able to run again, I NEVER wanted to stop running or take my running for granted again. I even signed up for a marathon in the middle of July (1 week before my wedding) I actually WON the marathon for women with a 3:26 time
Needless to say, I was riding a running high. I didn’t want to stop running, ever. Before I knew it, I realized it had been WEEKS since my last rest day!
Once I discovered that I was on a 40+ day streak, I didn’t want to stop. I wanted to see how long I could go. It felt so easy. I felt that I could run forever.
Those feelings soon stopped, but I continued to run because I “had” to. Taking a rest day meant I was quitting. It meant I had to start over. Why would I stop now? I couldn’t. I wouldn’t. I had to keep going. I had to push aside the excuses. I was on a run streak!
“You don’t have an excuse. You have ran through worse”
What’s interesting about a “run streak” is that the LONGER you go, the more invested you become. The long you do it, the harder it is to stop. For me, I wanted to keep going, but I wanted to stop at the same time. I reached a point where I wished it never started in the first place.
Flashforward to June 2015: I hit 365 days of my run streak.
At this point, I can tell you my feelings were the following about my streak:
- burnt out
- desire for a break
However, I had just ran for 365 days in a row. I couldn’t just stop there.
But if I couldn’t stop then….
When would I stop?
I began to feel that there would be no valid excuse for stopping. The exact essence a “runstreak” is that you run no matter what. You ignore any and all excuses to take a rest day. I had made it so far and ran through SO many excuses. I realized there would never be an excuse so great that I couldn’t run. I realized breaking my streak would take a SERIOUS effort on my part.
Still, days went on. I hit day 400, 450, 500, 550. I ran two more marathons (3:14 & 3:24)
I think some of my worst feelings about my run streak came the day after a marathon.
There is really not a worse feeling in the world than racing a your heart out for 26.2 miles and barely being able to walk the next day but forcing yourself to waddle/run 1 mile because you have a “run streak”. I ran after all 6 of my marathons during this streak, and I hated it every time.
December 2015 rolls around, and I STILL have this streak going. I hit day 550 on 12/13/15 and I could have cared less. There were many days in the fall 2015 that I woke up feeling perfectly fine, but I would say to myself, “Let’s just end it today. It’s stupid”
The next day, 12/14/2015 I woke up with the flu. I was throwing up and had a high fever all day. The flu had not stopped me in the past. I had ran EVERY. DAY. for over 1.5 years of my life.
That day, as I lay in misery. I decided it was over. 550 days, and I am done. I went to bed that night with peace knowing that I was “free” from the streak. I no longer had to run when I didn’t feel like it. I no longer had to run the day after my marathons, long runs, etc. It was such a sense of relief. I woke up the next day with a new sense of self as a runner.
My run on 12/16
During every workout or long run, I am able to think about the “light at the end of the tunnel”. I always think, “push hard this week- you get to rest on Sunday!”. It’s such an amazing feeling to be able to rest and allow your body a chance to fully recover from all the hard work you did during the week.
When I was streaking I used to say, ” My rest days are Sundays, I ‘only run 1-2 miles’ REALLY slow”.
That statement is laughably FALSE. Running 1-2 miles is NOT rest. I know some people out there are 1000+ day streakers, but I don’t think I have any desire to have a run streak ever again.
Why a run streak is not for me:
- I have an extremely obsessive/addictive personality
- I have an extremely high level of discipline so it’s hard to “quit”
- I have a tendency to push myself too hard on “easy days”
- I race 3-4 marathons per year and NEED adequate rest
- I have a tendency to be competitive with other streakers
- I have a tendency to burn myself out and push myself over the limit
Knowing the above things about myself, I am able to really challenge myself to address my weaknesses. I think a better challenge for me in 2016 is to take a rest day every week. I cringe at that thought although I have taken a rest day every week since my streak ended.
The sum it up:
I never set out to “start” my runstreak- it just sort of “happened”
It became obsessive, and I felt I was not allowed to stop
I will continue to incorporate true rest days and LOVE it 🙂