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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Streaking: The Good Stuff

Running the 100 day streak certainly provided me with new ways in which I think about running and what my body is capable of on a daily basis. From those new discoveries, I have lots to share in terms of what I found valuable and meaningful about streaking, and what I think is potentially destructive and/or meaningless.

Because I find that while drafting this I can't be concise, I have decided to break this subject into two posts. So, to start:

The Good Stuff

First and foremost, the streak taught me a new kind of discipline.

Like most runners, I don't always want to run. Most days I do run because: I am following a training schedule, it makes me feel good, I want to burn off a burrito indulgence, etc. But, there have been days a-plenty when I should have run but chose instead to skip it. And those days I skipped weren't necessarily for good reason: Sometimes I skipped simply because I "didn't wanna!"

But, with a streak, there is no "don't wanna" opt out. "Don't wanna?" Too bad! Go do it!

So, within 100 days, I learned to run through nearly every potential roadblock: Bad attitude, fatigue, sickness, boredom, my child's sickness, travel, re-modeling, bad weather, and busy days. Therefore, I discovered that, really, there are very few excuses to avoid exercise, and fitting it in most often just demands creativity, flexibility, and discipline. Learning that I was capable of these qualities was immeasurably valuable to me, and it gave me the confidence to think like this: "If I can run through _______, then I can run through ________." Once I filled in the blanks, I figured out there was little that I couldn't run through.

Also, streaking helped give me a new appreciation for my body's strengths.

Running has always made me grateful to be physically strong and healthy, and it has enabled me to value my body for what it can do, not restrict myself to just thinking about how I look (although, it's my opinion that running only improves that perspective as well). But, streaking took this to a new level because it demanded that I run through fatigue and exhaustion, and it didn't allow me a day to rest. Thus, I discovered that I was stronger than I thought.

What I discovered was that I could do this, and this gave me a new appreciation for my body and its abilities. But, it also gave me a greater appreciation for the power of mental fortitude: It really is mind over matter on most days.

Lastly, streaking helped provide me with motivation to get out there and simply run.

Summer has always been a hard time for me to be motivated to run: There are very few races here that time of year, and the weather makes running difficult and uncomfortable. So, in the past, I've often seen my mileage take a nose dive in June, July, and August. But this year, with the streak, I had months that, for the first time in a long time, matched my winter mileage. And, streaking made meeting those mileage goals easy: I had just one, simple task. Run. Every day.

So, for the most part, I found the experience to be enriching and rewarding. And it is certainly an experiment I may consider tackling again, perhaps next summer. But, there were also drawbacks to the streak, and it's because of some of these drawbacks that I felt it was best -- for me -- to end the streak at 100 days. I'll discuss those drawbacks in my next post.

17 comments:

Nobel4Lit said...

This was a good culminating post! It makes me feel guilty about skipping my runs due to various ____ and _____'s. Except I just don't think my body would be up to it more than my mind!

aron said...

great post... looking forward to the next part too!

Katie A. said...

Awesome! I think you taught us all a lesson: it really is mind over matter, and when you want something badly, you will make it happen!
Can't wait for part II!

Ryan said...

I understand the importance of the streak. I have gone almost 700 days without running. Now that is an accomplishment.

lee said...

I still can't believe that you ran 100 days in a row!

MCM Mama said...

My longest streak was only 13 days, but I have to agree that streaking is definitely a good learning tool. Looking forward to seeing if your downsides are similar to what I felt.

I'm still impressed that you hit 100 days, even if I have zero desire to do so myself LOL.

Jamoosh said...

Let's hear it for streaking. The kind involving clothes of course!

Marlene said...

It sounds like you really got a lot out of this - some knowledge and experience that will only make you a strongerrunning in the, er, long run.

Wes said...

somebody said "you don't realize how strong you are, until you have to be." you set the bar high for yourself, and in the process, learned some great things about yourself. Well done!

Brooke said...

You're so inspiring and so right with all of your points about the good side of your experiment. Looking forward to part 2. Don't know if anything can negate all the good stuff that came out of your experience.

Putting this 100 days goal on my list of "Must Do's" for sure. Thanks.

TNTcoach Ken said...

Ah yes, the drawbacks..... That's what I want to hear.

Krissy said...

I am totally impressed with your dedication that is awesome. When I make a commitment to myself I too go at it 100% and you always learn how strong you really are especially mentally! What a great accomplishment.

Viper said...

Congrats on running 100 days in a row. It was great stuff. Wish I wasn't out of town when the 100th day was posted, but oh well. Cheers!

Amanda said...

That's an impressive streak. I definitely have lots of those "just don't wanna" days and I usually punk out and skip that day. Good for you for giving this a try. I'm looking forward to part deux.

Adam said...

I'm a big fan of routines (you know, cause I'm a guy). Being able to say that I've ran through XX and YY would be a GREAT motivator

teacherwoman said...

Great points!

Christine said...

I found your blog when looking up "running while pregnant" on google (for future reference...) Love your posts! Congrats on your 100th day- very motivating!