New Year’s Runstreak
Following Andrew’s lead, I’m going to attempt my first run streak. For the month of January, all 31 miserable days of it, I’ll be running at least two miles every day and hoping to accumulate 20 miles per week. At some point each day, I’ll be updating this blog post with a short note about how my run went, along with any photos I may have taken during the run.
I’m not making this easy for myself, either. On the morning of January 1st, I’ll be recovering from seeing The Afghan Whigs ring in the new year at Bogart’s in the chilly climes of Cincinnati, OH. After my New Year’s Day run, I’ll be loading up and driving the 10 hours back to Savannah. Goals aren’t any fun if there isn’t some adversity along the way, right? I’m already dreading this.
I’d love to have you follow along with me. If you want to be a virtual running buddy, leave a comment below and keep us updated on your progress.
Okay, a lot of what I wrote day by day is kind of tedious, especially towards the end. Here’s the gist: It’s pretty horrible at first. Muscles that haven’t hurt since you first started running start flaring up again. You find yourself trying to cut corners. But then, two weeks in, things turn around. You look forward to the run. You have fun. Here are my stats for the month of running every day.
Distance: 75.6 mi
Duration: 11 hours, 23 minutes, 32 seconds
Calories Burned: 9,384
On the day after my runstreak was supposed to end, I ran a 5K and had a personal record. So the runstreak actually went 32 days.
2.3 Miles in Cincinnati, OH in the College Hill neighborhood. Wasn’t a great start to this run streak. It was hovering around 30 degrees and windy, with lots of snow on the ground and icy sidewalks. Luckily, not much street traffic being New Year’s Day and all. The first mile was a nice time. The second was much slower. It probably didn’t help that I spent the previous day sledding, then staying up until 3AM watching The Afghan Whigs perform at Bogart’s and then had two big sled crashes that morning. Also, I waited until the start of the UGA/Nebraska bowl game, so I was distracted and ready to be done early.
2.3 Miles in Savannah GA at Daffin Park. Conditions could not be much different from yesterday. A humid 60 degrees after an 11 hour car ride at 9 PM with a stomach extended from three consecutive fast food meals. I would have run in Cincy before I left; but it was 18 degrees. How people run in that chill all winter I do not understand; but greatly appreciate. I need a longer, more productive run very soon.
5K route in Ardsley Park, Savannah. Sore from last night’s outing but it went much smoother than the previous two runs. Average pace; but not a lot of motivation. Overcast and drizzly while listening to the latest episode of Star Wars Action News. Now you know that I’m a huge nerd. Looking forward to picking up some 4+ mile runs over the next few days, weather permitting.
3.7 miles or so from Ardsley Park to Forsyth Park. A nice route down Barnard Street, then a loop inside the park and back on Bull Street. Some leg stiffness at the end of the run; but no soreness leading in like yesterday. A bit slower than I’d like; but at this point, I’m focused on completing the streak, not earning any personal speed records.
A simple 2 miler through the neighborhood went well, despite a trip to the bar last night and the smell of bacon beckoning as I headed out the door. Maybe I can do this after all.
So bored. Too sore to want a longer run, but bored with my usual haunts. Need to find some running buddies pronto. Another 2.3 miler. Loving the updated Runkeeper app. It has a view that compares the current week to the previous. I am destroying last week.
Really missing my rest days. Starting out sore, ending sore. Second mile was a constricted hobble more than a run. Need to find some new calf stretches. Regardless, I’m a week down.
A good bit slower today; but I got in four miles, which felt great. Looking forward to another short run tomorrow, possibly sprints.
Actually worked in some sprints today. I think (hope) my muscles are slowly adjusting to this increased frequency of activity. I’ve completely dropped the 20 miles per week goal and am just focused on every day, at least two miles, without hurting myself.
Another two miler. The first felt pretty good; but the second was very tight. A long hot soak helped the muscles relax. Tomorrow should be my first day wearing compression socks. I’m looking forward to seeing if those help with my calf tension.
Evening run in the large neighborhood park. Compression socks were a bit of a bust. My calves hurt regardless. They also lack any cushioning on the heel, which I’ve come to count on. Worst average pace of the month, by a long shot.
Zig zagged through the neighborhood to get my two miles with no appetite for extra. I think running on the weekends is the hardest for me. I have found some really nice statuary and landscaping I never noticed before.
Much better. Ran a lap and a half around Lake Meyer. The change of scenery was welcome and my pace was greatly improved. In the mid 70s, so very warm for Jan; but better than snow!
Back to tight legs and shuffling more than running. I put in three miles, for better or worse, in 100% humidity just missing a brief rain shower. I can’t believe I was initially worried about it being too cold for a run streak. 65 and flat out hot this morning. It’s getting easier to get out there; but the lingering soreness makes the rest of my day not much fun.
Almost half way there! Seriously – who wants to go for a run tomorrow? While I’ve really enjoyed taking some new twists and turns around the neighborhood, I need to spice things up. A running partner might help with that. Or, I’ll get up early and drive myself out to a trail route. The first mile and a half felt good. The last half felt some tugging on my hamstrings (a first) . Time to change up my stretching routine again.
Literally ran in circles to mix things up and get my two miles without straying too far from home. A lunch-time run, it was in the heat of the day (80 degrees!) and I sweat like a maniac. Also, I listed to the Doppelgängers episode of This American Life which discussed hog rectum being used as imitation calamari. Don’t listen to that while hungry and exerting yourself.
Definitely more than halfway there now. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. An early morning run, the streets were more active with other runners than I’ve noticed through this streak. It was still dark and had the appeal of running in a new place. The temperature was cool and I felt like I was flying through the first mile. Then I checked my pace and saw that I was 45 seconds off my target min/mile. I finished my two miles at about the same pace; but with a lot of soreness in my legs. Walking has actually been difficult today. Remember rest days? Those seem like great ideas.
Got into a fight with a bank security guard over whether or not I could run on a public sidewalk. Sigh.
Ran with my wife along the Intracoastal waterway to Savannah State University. Perfect weather and great company. Ran her pace, but was a nice change to have a partner.
Forty degrees with a light wind is my sweet spot. Shorts, long sleeve tech t and a spring in my step. Solid time, felt great.
Staying at a Jacksonville airport area hotel, so opted for the treadmill. Hot, humid workout room with no view or inspiration. Bleh. Definitely headed back outside tomorrow. How do people use those things?
Still in Jacksonville, I headed out onto the street and ran through the office park adjacent to the airport. The warehouses and abandoned office buildings were pretty depressing and would make a great set for a zombie movie. That said, my pace was okay and the cooler temperatures continue to make my workouts feel easier than in the heat of summer.
Back home in Savannah, I mixed up one of my regular 5K routes to shave off .75 of a mile and run down a street I don’t normally hit. I was so surprised by the variance of architecture, including one house that was made from shipping containers. In our mish-mash ‘hood of brick cottages, georgian mansions and even the random spanish colonial, this house stuck out like a sore thumb. Regardless, it was very cool and hip, even if the area didn’t support the design.
An early morning neighborhood run that took me down a few different alleys and behind a high school football field to watch the sun crest over the horizon. Nice and cold but short 2 miler.
More neighborhood house spotting. This time to a corner with two Spanish colonials that look more like Disney-fied versions of Floridian conquistador outposts. One of which was Pepto Bismol pink and really stands out from the red brick craftsmen. Gotta love diversity.
Great run. Some times you don’t even notice breaking through a wall – but today I really did. The strides were long and almost elegant as I racked up my best 5K time ever. This really felt like a turning point. Nothing special, just my standard neighborhood 5k loop. But, the weather and my attitude were both great for a Saturday run.
Yesterday’s success bled over and I had another solid run. Not as fast – but still a time that made me happy, even if my distance was a half mile shorter. Gotta keep fresh for a race on Feb. 1. No rest for the weary.
Last week! Too bad it didn’t start off with a stronger run. Woke up super tired and had to get going earlier than I would have liked. Was also fairly tight for the first time in a week and uninspired. Two laps around the park next door (boring) while I listened to Mark Hamill on The Nerdist podcast.
Backed off a bit and ran a little slower on purpose. I’m starting to worry about my Friday race. I want a solid run and don’t want to hurt myself in the lead up. Overall good, neighborhood run.
Two and a quarter miles at (for me) a VERY fast pace. Working on my splits and intervals and trying to “feel” my sweet spot for the 5K this weekend. I’m hopeful I can train my body to auto-adjust to the right rhythm so pacing won’t be too fast or too slow. Ran with my 5K “race day” music and added 30 second speed bursts every 3 minutes. Calves were a bit tight. Last day tomorrow!
And just like that, we’re done. In the beginning, I thought I was going to die. But here at the end of the month, it seems like it has flown by. All of that initial calf pain has dissipated and I’m a little big melancholy that this experiment is coming to the close. I’ve considered extending the streak; but the logistics of making time every day to run and the concessions made by my family to facilitate my extra running time do add some extra stress. My run today was a light one down some of my favorite streets. I didn’t push, as I have a night 5K tomorrow and wanted to save up. I had a nice stretch over the last minute where I proved I had plenty of gas left in the tank.
It hasn’t always been exciting; but I’m appreciative to everyone who has followed along and offered encouragement. If I can do this, you can too!