Skip to main content

Running Streak: Month Five

  • Ran in one state
  • Ran in one city (well, Meridian and Boise)
  • longest run: 7 miles
  • shortest run: 1 mile (minimum requirement to keep the streak alive)
  • total October mileage: 62 miles. I am beyond pleased with this number. I got off to a very slow start, mileage-wise, running only 10 miles in the first 8 days. A couple of 7-milers in the last week helped out a lot! 
  • total streak days (at the end of October): 153 (goal is 273, on February 28th). Obviously this means I passed the halfway mark this month. 
  • total streak mileage: 315 miles. Even with a bunch of one-milers, I am still averaging just over two miles per day.   
  • I believe I ran all 31 days by myself. 
  • fastest mile: 8:42. (see story below)
Last month I wrote about the pleasant surprise of running faster in September than I had all year. I was thrilled with my 27:22 three-miler in September. Still, in my typical guardedly pessimistic fashion, I did not expect great speed in October. Beyond my normal low expectations, I was also feeling under the weather most of the month. I have been beset by a sinus-type of headache (hormones? stress? allergies?) for weeks now, and the first nine days of the month were really miserable. On the evening of October 9th I was suffering mightily from a particularly bad version of this headache, and I was contemplating my ninth run in a row that would be a slow one or two-miler. For some reason, as I began to get ready, I had the instinct to put on my watch. In spite of my head, I decided I was in the mood to run a little faster and a little further. 

I knew it was going to be magic within the first 20 steps. (Some of you know about my magic runs. Some of you know why they don't happen so often any more. I may write a full entry about this phenomenon someday.) Still, for the first half mile, I was just thinking "maybe I'll break 27:22." At the first intersection my split was 4:36, not blazing fast for me, but it had potential. The shock began at the next intersection (half mile): 4:21. As I waited for the light to change, I kept checking the math in my head, trying to believe that I'd broken 9 minutes for this first mile. As I took off for mile number two, I was feeling great and pushing the pace, but still, when I saw the next mile split was 8:42, I was so stunned. That was only a second slower than my fastest mile of the year. And I was still going strong!

As it turned out, I smashed my 2013 three-mile record by almost a full minute: 26:23. I ran three sub-9-minute miles. And best of all, when I looked back at my running logs I discovered this was my fastest three-miler since 2001, when I was marathon training. When I was 37. And now I'm not--37, that is.

I can't escape the notion that this blog is all about tooting my own horn, and for that I am sorry. But for this, I am not: I hoped this streak would keep me moving, but I never once imagined it would allow me to run as fast as I did more than a decade ago--especially with so many slow one-milers. 

There is a lesson here, a sermon, perhaps. (In my dreams, it's a TED talk). There is something profound to be said about consistency, about commitment, and about running lots and lots of short, slow runs that lead to longer, faster runs. It's a lesson I need to learn over and over.

Thank you, God, for legs that can run.





Comments

Popular posts from this blog

This is My Story

In the spring of 1986 I told the story of my brother’s proposal as a part of my lesson on Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29 — a lesson that I was delivering in my English methods course as a senior at the University of Idaho.

Ten years and hundreds of students later, I was still teaching a version of that lesson to my freshmen at Kellogg High School, and the story had grown to be a more integral, a more intentional, a more dramatic part of that lesson. This story brought some sort of magic to my classroom. Students leaned in, faces and postures transformed, and sometimes tears welled up in their eyes. It was the best day of the school year.

When I moved to Timberline High School in the sixteenth year of my career, I was reluctant to bring my sonnet lesson to this new venue. Moving to a new school had brought an unexpected dip in my confidence. Storytelling calls for a certain amount of vulnerability, and I just wasn’t sure I had enough courage to go to that vulnerable place. One day I took the r…

Reflections on Running: Part One

Once upon a time, a girl started running. She was nursing a broken heart, and she needed to do something hard and rewarding. (Is easy ever rewarding? Hmmm, I wonder.) She stepped out of her back door and ran until she estimated she had gone as far as she could go . . . and still make it home. Later she discovered she had run just a little over a mile on that day.
Over the next three years she ran, sometimes with consistency — three or four days a week — sometimes with month-long gaps in between, and, during a particularly satisfying stretch, 5-6 days a week, training for two marathons in one year.
A pulmonary embolism in year six (and a scary doctor) slowed down her progress, and a demanding job made it easy to spend several months each year not running.
But still . . . every time she saw a runner on the road, she looked longingly. She remembered the joy of listening to footfalls landing, one after another, for miles and miles and miles. She remembered the rhythm of breath and beats an…

Surely God is in This Place

A friend wrote today to tell me how our music had been a "necessary balm" during her stressful week. She described some of the events of her week, and I would have to say "stressful" is an understatement. Still, I was delighted to hear that our music had brought her some peace in the midst of it all.

But it was her final sentence that has lasted throughout my day: surely God is in this place.

I had checked my email, while my students watched a short film clip, and when I read that phrase I felt it down to the soles of my feet. I felt its impact so profoundly that I had to put it away for later. The lights were about to come up.

So tonight I went to her message again: surely God is in this place.
Surely God is in this place.

Of course I know this. I know He is an omnipresent God. I know He is sovereign. I know He has me (and He has you) in the palm of His hand. I know it.

But somehow my friend's words--coming as they did after a story of mishap and injury--helped me k…