Wednesday, November 5, 2014

#streakingwiththeCOOLKIDS

When I first moved to Philadelphia, I left the idea of running back in California. I was so busy with moving and spending time with family when I first moved, that I didn't make any time for running. I was okay with that because those things are more important than running, to me. However, even when family left and I settled down into my new normal, running wasn't part of that new routine. I knew that if I continued to make excuses and push running to the side, I would have a hard time getting back into it. So, towards the end of September I decided that October would be the month where I dedicated myself to running again. I had been following @pinkcupcakegirl on Instagram for quite sometime, and she announced that she would be hosting a virtual running streak throughout October. Basically, everyday during the month you walk or run at least a mile. Anyone could participate, and you could share your adventures using #streakwiththeCOOLKIDS. I knew that this challenge of running at least a mile everyday was exactly what I needed to get back into running mode.
I was surprised that I was still able to run around the same pace as I could before (perhaps even a little faster), despite not having run consistently in over a month. That was good news, and I think that realization encouraged me to keep at it. I didn't have any set goals with this challenge, besides running a mile everyday. Even though I walk basically everywhere (thanks to big city living) and I easily walk over a mile daily, I felt it was important and necessary at least in my situation, to actually run everyday as well. I wanted this goal to be attainable for me. I knew that if I "failed" this challenge, it would make me even less motivated to run than I was at the beginning of the month. As long as I completed 31 miles by the end of October, I would be ecstatic. I think by having realistic goals (especially when starting back up), it made the process much more enjoyable and a lot less stressful.
Throughout the first week or so, I really looked forward to getting out and running everyday. The weather was still fairly nice outside and I felt so proud and accomplished posting my finished runs on Instagram. After a while though, I felt like sharing my watch pictures on Instagram was a little too redundant. Being the obsessive person that I am, I had already gotten through half the month of holding myself accountable in this manner, that I couldn't stop posting my runs this way. I'm sure it would have been a lot more interesting and less chore-like had I had prettier pictures like cool scenery shots or whatever to share. However carrying around my phone while I run is not something I like to do, and I rarely do it. So that idea didn't really work.

Also towards the end of the month, I started dreading having to run. More than a few times I would make up lame excuses as to why I couldn't go running throughout the day, which left me having to lace up my running shoes around 9 PM. While I hated this and I cursed myself every time for procrastinating, I still ran. Despite the time of the day and my mindset, #streakingwiththeCOOLKIDS forced me to get my runs in, and for that I am thankful. 
Basically, what I take away from #streakingwiththeCOOLKIDS is this: for me personally, the challenge of running a mile a day is great as a method of getting back into running. It holds me accountable and prevents me from some saying, "oh I'm too busy to run today, I'll just make it up tomorrow". Because I accepted this challenge, I had to complete it. Had it not been for the streaking challenge, I honestly don't think I would have run nearly as much as I did throughout the month. #streakingwiththeCOOLKIDS came at the perfect time for me and really helped motivate me to make running more habitual again. I also ran my fastest 10k which I wasn't expecting at all!

That being said though, I also took up an interest in zumba in October. Towards the end of the month, there were a handful of days where my legs felt so heavy and tired if I ran more than two miles and then went to zumba class. While I think it's definitely possible to run and do zumba (or other workouts) all in one day, I need to be smarter about how I exercise. I want to get better at running (faster and longer distances) but still be able to incorporate zumba and a little bit of yoga into my life. I believe the best way for me to accomplish this is by running smarter. I need to run less often, but make my fewer runs stronger. Having rest days throughout the week is an essential aspect of this concept, and is the main reason I'm sadly not participating in #streakingwiththeCOOLKIDS in November. As fun and encouraging as this challenge was for me in October, it no longer resonates perfectly (like it did before) for me. I know a lot of people would be able to run everyday in addition to other forms of exercise, but I'm not at that point.
In 2015 I hope to run another marathon. My first marathon (CIM in 2013) was all about finishing in the designated time limit of under 6 hours. I accomplished that and finished in 5 hours and 45 minutes. My goal for my second marathon is to finish in under 5 hours. For me, this is a pretty attainable goal as long as I train properly. To me this means that the rest of 2014 will be spent getting back into shape and resurrecting my "love" of running by making running more prominent in my life. Official marathon training will start January 1. November and December will be spent building a solid platform to start marathon training in order to make my time goal more achievable.

Thank you, #streakingwiththeCOOLKIDS for motivating me and making me interested in running again. Thank you for inspiring me and showing me that there are many more races to be run, and even more goals to be chased!