When I announced my intention to participate in Holiday Running Streak this year, I still had about a week and a half to go before the official start on Thanksgiving Day. As it always happens, the big day rolled around in no time, and here I was, embarking on a new running challenge: to run every day, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, for at least a mile. I was a little nervous because we were supposed to travel to our friends’ house in Panama City Beach, Fla., to spend Thanksgiving and the following couple days. Would they think that I was weird with all of my running feats? Thankfully, everything turned out just fine, and our friends were very cool about everything.
I used to live in Panama City Beach a few years ago, and while I’ve never wanted to go back all that much after leaving, there’s been at least one thing I’ve missed: the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen, with powdery soft white sand that looks so much like snow! There’s a beach not far from where we live in Alabama, but it can’t hold a candle to the one in PCB! We took a lovely beach stroll on Black Friday around sunset, and this is where this picture came from.
But back to my running streak: I’m going to write weekly updates about how this challenge is going to share the experience and whatever wisdom I might acquire along the way. Feel free to ask any questions you might have!
Holiday Running Streak: The Beginning
The first four days of my running streak went surprisingly smooth. I was worried that running in a different city might be kind of challenging, but thankfully I remembered the streets of Panama City Beach very well, and almost all of them (at least where I ran) had sidewalks or wide enough shoulders. I ran past a couple places where I used to work in my early twenties, so this was like a run down the memory lane for me! (Okay, this might sound a little cheesy.) My GPS died early on during my very first run, so it’s kind of hard to determine the exact distance of every run. Here’s my estimation:
Thursday (Thanksgiving Day) – 3.5 mi
Friday – 4 mi
Saturday – 3 mi
Sunday (we were back home) – 3 mi
My Strategy: To avoid running long every day, especially at the beginning of this running streak. There are at least two reasons for this. First (a physical reason), I don’t want to overdo it, especially since I’ve never run EVERY SINGLE DAY for more than a week. If I want to avoid accidentally injuring myself, I need to learn how to take it easy.
Second (a mental reason), I’m still kind of burned out from running a marathon last month, and all of the long runs that preceded it, so I don’t want to develop resentment for running while I’m doing this challenge. That would be no fun!
The Hardest Part: The first three days of my running streak we had untypically cold weather – untypical for at least our region on the Gulf Coast – so I had to man up and get out of the door in the morning while the temps were still at around 32°-35° F. Thankfully, we tend to warm up considerably after a few minutes of running, so I learned that running in the cold weather wasn’t so bad.
The Easiest Part: It’s possible that the running itself was the easiest! After making sure I got up fairly early, and convincing myself that the cold temperature and winds outside weren’t very scary, the quick runs were over before I knew it. Sure, this may sound like I’m bragging a bit (Yeah, right – running’s so easy for you, missy…) , but I’ve got to admit that the amount of preparation for every run, both of mental and physical kind, can be pretty overwhelming for me (Okay, just do it Alina! Man, my stomach is growling, how am I gonna run hungry? Gotta use the bathroom one more time...). That’s why once I actually get out and run, the running itself seems much easier, at least mentally. As a result, I always end up telling myself after a run: That was easier than you expected, right?
First Week’s Mileage: 18.25 mi (estimation, including a 4.75 mi run on Monday before the streak officially started).
What I’ve Learned So Far: This whole holiday running streak just might be doable! For the first four days, I was glad to start the day off right with my morning runs, and they seemed to boost my mood for the rest of the day. I might have not yet learned the secret of people who run every single day, but I might be on the right track!
Stay tuned for more updates on the Holiday Running Streak – plus it’s never too late to start your own running streak with me!