In my last entry I was contemplating beginning a running streak. I shared about my desire to find the right fitness goal for approaching 50, and I posted this on Facebook, along with a request for input from my running friends, as well as anyone who felt like contributing to the conversation.
The truth is, by the time I had finished writing the entry, I had pretty much made up my mind to embark on this new running journey. Still I appreciated the input a great deal. More than one runner expressed concern for me--for the risks that come along with streak running. People correctly pointed out that runners who don't get enough rest are prone to injuries. I know that this is a legitimate concern, but it's not very high on my radar. First, I have long known that one of my two running strengths is my tendency not to get injured. (I'll buy a coffee--or a treat--for the first person who correctly identifies my other strength.) Now I don't mean to be foolhardy. I know I am getting older, and just because I have never been injured, doesn't mean I might not get injured. Still, I think I have a pretty good track record (pun intended), and I think I am pretty good at listening to my body.
Some other concerned friends suggested alternatives to my running streak, like picking a goal mileage for the months between now and my birthday or committing to run one race a month. I can't explain why, exactly, but in my current state of mind (and body), both of those sound harder to me than running every day. Okay, maybe I can explain why. It's because I am fully prepared to take advantage of the mile minimum element of this streak. Certainly I hope that most days I will surpass that distance, but if I only run 273 miles over the next 273 days, then I will count this streak a success, and I will know that I succeeded in running on many, many days when I would not otherwise have run. (P.S. As of day 5, I have already run 12 miles.)
The thing is, I have had a tendency to treat running as an all-or-nothing activity. Either I am running 3-6 days a week, training hard, getting in lots of mileage, and improving my stamina and speed, or why bother? And I am competitive enough that I really do love getting faster. I love doing long runs (8-10 miles is ideal). But, whether it's because I am just lazy, or because I am getting older, or because of the possibility that I have psoriatic arthritis (tests are inconclusive), I struggle with a great deal of fatigue. During the school year I typically nap two hours every single day. (I used to feel guilty about these naps, but my rheumatologist says this is probably better for me than anything he could prescribe, so there.)
So, running at least a mile, every day, no matter how tired or achy I feel, sounds like something I can do. It sounds like something I want to do. It sounds like a great way to get past the all-or-nothing mentality that so often keeps me sitting on my couch.
P.S. I'll write more another time about how my wise cousin Anita and my brilliant friend Fitz have given me some tools for dealing with the possibility that I may eventually miss a day.