The past few days, since last Thursday in fact, have involved no running at all and lots of soul searching. It has felt very strange, not running – after doing at least 2 miles every day for the previous 218 days.
The week before I was asked how long I would carry on the runstreak for and answered that I didn’t see any reason not to carry on for as long I can run – I had no intention of giving up – ever.
Unfortunately, it just wasn’t sensible, or even possible to keep going…
I started the runstreak on 1st March 2012, with the intention of running every day for the whole of March, after 30 days I was just enjoying it too much to give up, so I cracked on. I got involved with a bunch of other runstreakers on twitter, all of us egging one another one, then, to my surprise I started getting faster…
For a few years I had been hovering around the 8 – 9 minute / mile mark, but that pace seemed to increase. I found myself doing 7:30 minute miles and then more recently a flat out 5:08 minute mile, and a 19:13 parkrun 5K. Things were just getting better and better, I ran at 7:15 pace for 12 miles and didn’t feel too bad – It was invigorating, I was feeling great and pushing the pace in just about every run.
Reflecting on it all now, I can see, that is where things went wrong. It’s clear to me now that too much speed work, pushing my body too hard, with no recovery time was what brought the initial injury to my foot, trying to ignore it made it worse and then cranking out a fast parkrun 5K was what finally pushed it over the edge.
On the Thursday I had a painful lunchtime run 3 miler along the River Thames, I think knew then that it was over, but I told myself I’d try a late night 23:50 one miler on the Friday and then immediately follow it with a 00:01 one miler on the Saturday, giving myself maximum rest with the shortest effort. On the Friday, I was feeling bad with stomach problems anyway but come the time, there was no way I could have run on my foot, I’d have given myself a real/serious injury if I’d tried. So, reluctantly I decided to take a week off, no running at all, let the foot get better and then start from day 1 again.
I’m disappointed, somehow feeling that I’ve ‘lost’ 218 days, but I know that’s not true. Also, even though it’s only been a few days without running, I kind of feel as though I’m no longer a runner, which is not true either.
On the positive side, I’ve gained a lot in that time, I know I can push on and run a a few miles even the day after having run 75 miles, I’ve gained some great speed, I shared comments and thoughts with some great like-minded people, I’ve dropped 4 inches from my waist and the two most important things – I’ve drastically improved my health and I’ve enjoyed myself every day.
This time next week, I’ll be toeing the start line again as a run streaker again (albeit with a smaller tally), I am already itching to get my shoes back on and get back out the door. However this time I hope to be more sensible, less gung-ho and to enjoy it just as much.