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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.


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