...starts with a single step - as long as those steps are cushioned in running shoes and supported with cross-training, yoga, and a healthy diet! Whew.
This past month (May) was National Runners Month, punctuated by June 1st - National Running Day! In honor of these great events, I set out to run every single day in May - plus the 1st of June - for at least 2 miles.
So I'm sure you're wondering: did I do it? For the most part...yes! Read on for my top five experiences and reflections over this 32-day running challenge:
I missed one day. Truth is, it wasn't even a good excuse (I was at the spa with girlfriends and then surprised by dinner by my boyfriend), and it was right next to the finish line (May 30). At first, I was completely angry with myself - but then, I realized that the only person who would judge me for missing one day of running (again, with 31 other quality days!) was me - and sometimes we are our hardest critics. This was a great lesson in doing the best we can - without wasting negativity on the things we cannot do.
I got really sore (but not as sore as I thought!). There were some days that the two miles were all I could muster; others I was flying through 7-8 miles like it was nothing. I definitely needed to do more stretching and yoga along the route - this is the lesson learned here, that just running every day is not enough without a balanced cross-training program - but I was pleasantly surprised at how much the body adapts to a great deal of running in a fairly efficient way.
I did more than I'd planned. I set the two-mile minimum as a way to make sure I felt like I'd really "run" that day, without feeling overwhelmed and overcommitted - but in the end, I averaged over 5 miles per day! The lesson here is that you shouldn't be afraid to set specific, achievable goals - but you should also be prepared to exceed your expectations and go above and beyond when you're working hard and making progress toward a fitness goal.
I became a tourist in my own city. Determined to break out of my regular neighborhood 4-miler (which, by the way, I did return to at several points during the month for familiarity's sake), I planned new routes, ran new streets, explored new territory. I had gorgeous runs through the hoity-toity neighborhoods of Beverly Hills and enjoyed the lush, tree-lined streets of Raleigh-Durham. I set my iPod to "shuffle all" and even explored new musical landscapes to boot (who knew that Sousa could actually be powerful running fuel?). The lesson I learned here is that it is relatively simple to feel refreshed and renewed even when you're pounding the pavement day-in and day-out - it just takes a bit of planning and an adventurous spirit.
And finally, I am relieved it's over. I am a die-hard runner - I've done marathons, triathlons, 200-mile relay races, and everything in between - but even run-lovers like me need a break. A good lesson here is that in fitness, as in life, there can be too much of a good thing - and we all need to break out of our "regular" exercise ruts and try something new! I won't be running today (June 2nd) but after receiving a pair of Vibram FiveFingers for my birthday, I'm already itching to try them out in my next run - after I get myself to yoga, of course.
The total stats ended up like this: 27.67 total hours of running (whoa, that's over a DAY!) for a total of 184.4 miles and an average distance of 5.76 miles/day (including the day off - double whoa!). I feel like I really did something significant and oddly enough, can't wait for next May to do it all again!
Next stop: marathon training for December's Rock and Roll Las Vegas. Catch up with you soon, bene-fitters!