The more things change, the more the stay the same

Six years ago, I wrote this:

I have been a “runner” (I still have trouble with this word, but every book and article I read on the subject says anyone who ever runs, at any pace, for whatever reason, is a runner, so I’ll go for it) for about eight months now. While I still have extremely conflicted and complicated feelings about the actual act of running, after two 10k races and a half-marathon, I can say that I enjoy racing. I enjoy the night-before ritual of laying out the racing gear and putting together a pre-race meal, wondering if I should stick with the tried-and-true classics, or mix it up and go for a fancy carb-heavy Runner’s World-approved entree. I enjoy waking up at a ridiculous hour and heading to the race, coffee in hand, while the rest city is sleeping soundly.

It takes me back to the many, many years of playing basketball, where camaraderie was found in the craziness of skipping the late-night parties, the grueling workouts and the early morning wake-up calls, all to push your body to the limit for no other reason than you love the game.

Six marathons later, it’s still true.

I just ran, I ran all night and day

Photo: J

It’s been a while.

I’ve been running. A lot. In fact, I ran at least 5k every day between May 31 and July 1. While running this, I:

  • Did the 50k Ride for the Heart bike ride and ran 5k after
  • Ran the 10k leg of the Ekiden relay for Tribe Fitness
  • Ran Toronto’s first Diva half-marathon
  • Ran the Waterfront Toronto 10k
  • Ran the Pride 5k

It was exhausting. I was tired all the time. By the end of the month, I felt totally burnt out and had no desire to run. But it was also a valuable experience and I hope I can take these lessons forward into my next training cycle.

It taught me to prioritize running. “You have to run today. You have no choice.” I ran at 6am to yoga. I ran at 9pm on Friday night in the pouring rain. I ran to work. I ran from work. I had great runs and I had shitty runs. But every day, I ran. I couldn’t move a run or tell myself I could do it tomorrow. I had to do it. That day. Or else.

It also taught me something has to give. I can’t have a clean home, a fridge full of groceries, a demanding job, friends, train for a triathlon and run every single day. I needed to pick what matters in each moment – whether it’s a day, a week, a month, a year – and then forgive myself when I drop the ball on other things. (Like blogging, hahaha).

It reminded me you can’t do hard shit alone. You need a support crew. I’ve tried to runstreak before and failed, but it was because I did it alone. J, my running buddy, did the streak with me. Knowing she was out there running and texting her daily about my accomplishments and sufferfests held me accountable. Accountabilibuddies are real. Get one. We also ran with Tribe a lot, and they were a supportive, generous crew as we became increasingly whiny about the whole thing.

It also taught me that you can find strength when you dig deep. On day 16 of this run streak, I ran 10k in 50:02. On day 18, I ran 10k in 50:39. Neither was a PR, but both were solid performances on tired legs (and the second one was on a really hot day) and I felt like I could have done better, in a properly tapered and rested circumstance. I’m still chasing a sub 48:00 10k but I know I’m so much closer than I was even a few months ago.

So you want to do a runstreak? Find a friend. Focus on distance. Forget about pace. Forgive yourself. And foam roll (or do yoga) like a motherfucker.

Photo: Tribe Fitness