I’ve run at least a mile outside* every day since 11/22/16. That’s 876 days and counting.
Yesterday was my 875th day, and I did a little more than a mile (26.2, to be exact), running the Boston Marathon.
I wasn’t sure I’d be extending the streak to Day 876, but Rosie and I slogged along for a slow, sore mile this morning.
In celebration of the streak being still alive, here are 20 things I’ve learned on my run streak:
- You can always find time for a mile. It takes about 9-10 minutes for the actual run, plus let’s say 5 minutes to put on your running clothes. That’s far less time than it takes to watch one episode of the Big Bang Theory, and hopefully less time than it takes to successfully convince that one friend of yours (ahem, Jonah) that actually watches the Big Bang Theory that it’s not remotely funny.
- One of the things that drew me to running is that you don’t need any “stuff” besides a good pair of sneakers. (But if you do want to treat yourself, I recommend these bone conduction headphones.)
- Speaking of sneakers, it’s a good idea to get fit for a pair of sneakers that match your running style. I go to Marathon Sports in Brookline and they have you run up the street and analyze your gait. That’s how I found my Saucony Freedom ISO’s, of which I’m now on my 5th pair. Sure, you can get cheaper sneakers at TJ Maxx, but running with the wrong shoes can lead to muscle stress and injuries. (I mean, obviously you should still buy shoes at TJ Maxx, just not running ones. And also this skirt, but Jesus, this isn’t a TJ Maxx post, guys.)
- You don’t have to be “good” at running to be a runner. There’s no team to make! One time our run group had an argument over who was the slowest runner. “You’re slow, but I’m realllly slow.”
- It’s easier to run every day if you make it a routine. On Tuesdays and Fridays when I have bootcamp, I run to bootcamp (it’s almost exactly a mile) and hitch a ride home with one of my sweet bootcamp friends. (Shoutout to Nancy, Brenda, Kristin and Barb!) Other weekdays, I walk my dog Rosie for about a half mile so she can take care of “business,” and then we run a mile together. She usually takes an additional pee at the half mile turnaround point; I think just to remind me that she’s a dog. On weekends, I go on longer runs with friends. There were probably about three times during the past two years where I couldn’t run in the morning for some reason or another, and found myself having a glass of wine in my pajamas in front of the TV only to realize I hadn’t run a mile. Changing out of jammies, dragging yourself away from the Bachelorette, and taking yourself on a buzzed run in the dark is one of the cons of the run streak.
- Running outside every day is good for your health. In these 2+ years, I’ve had a couple of bad colds and two minor GI viruses, but nothing bad enough that I couldn’t get out and run a mile either in the morning or at night.
- Although I must admit, running with “the runs” is not ideal.
- Running won’t make you skinny. At least, not running alone. I weighed the most I’ve weighed since pregnancy during my marathon training, but I also wasn’t exactly eating “right.” Unless nachos is eating right, in which case, I was definitely eating right.
- Running is a great excuse to to get into audiobooks and podcasts. My favorites so far on Audible are Michelle Obama’s Becoming, David Sedaris’s Calypso, and Educated: a Memoir by Tara Westover (although the narrator of the latter was a little annoying). Best podcasts: Armchair Expert with Dax Shepherd (especially the John Gottman episode on marriage), Pod Save America, Lovett or Leave It, The Moth, and my secret guilty pleasure, Organize Your Life with Clutter Coach Claire Tompkins. (I will be writing a whole other blog post about my ironic obsession with OYLwCCCT.) During Bachelor/Bachelorette season, I also indulge with Here to Make Friends.
- For anything longer than 5 miles, it’s infinitely better to run with a friend or several. I’m so grateful for our amazing Power Within run crew that meets most Saturday mornings (and often on Sundays) for a long run and a cathartic airing of our grievances about anything (cough, husbands) and everything (cough, cough, kids). It’s pretty much Festivus all year!
- If you don’t have good tunes, audiobooks, or friends with you, running is a great way to clear your mind, or entertain yourself in other ways. For a short period of time, I tried really hard to create a phallic run route.
- The running community is an amazing one. You’ll never find a group of more supportive people. They turn out for me in running and in life.
- When you find your run crew, cherish them like the sweaty gems they are. They will bake you “marathon muffins,” deliver swedish fish “fuel” for you mid-run, run to brunch with you, listen to your woes about how nobody in your house can load the dishwasher even remotely right, and make you believe “you’ve got it” even when you’re not sure you do.
- There be pervs. Sometimes they are a bit of an ego boost (“I’ve still got it!”) but mostly they’re just creepy. Men of the world, if you think a jogger’s butt looks nice, maybe just keep that shit to yourself. And under no circumstances should you ever drive slowly next to a woman running.
- I learned how to blow a snot rocket! Well, I sort of learned. Sometimes I try and something goes wrong and I end up with a giant booger hanging from my nose, that I have to wipe on a leaf or my pants. It’s as attractive as it sound.
- Wear a hat with a brim when it rains (actually, have to give my running coach Diane credit for that life-changing tip), wear a visor in the sun, and layer up in the cold. I’d rather look like a lose-cruise in two pairs of pants and ski goggles then feel cold. I love these cheap Goodr glasses for bright days too.
- Bikers get angry when you run in the bike path and then ignore them when they say, “On your left!”. (I’m sorry, bikers, I was listening to Jon Favreau and it was before I got my fancy bone conduction headphones.)
- Run at your own pace. One time I tried to keep up with my friend Barb during a 10k. I ran with her the first three miles, then spent the next three swallowing my own barf.
- Don’t assume cars will stop at a crosswalk or at a stop sign. No matter how much nachos you eat, a car can still crush you.
- After 2 1/2 years of running every day, you may still not love running. I’m not sure I do. Is that uninspiring? I mean, I like it, I just don’t like it like it. I guess what I’m saying is it’s not nachos, and it never will be.
*One day in 2018, we left Mexico around 5 am, and then had a series of flights, arriving back in Boston around 7 pm. I knew after driving back from the airport, figuring out dinner, and putting the kids to bed, I wasn’t going to want to run a mile, so I did my mile at the Houston airport, running through all the terminals like a crazy person. It wasn’t technically outside, but we’re going to count it, k?