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.