Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Running Streak - Day 100

My Experience Over the Past 100 Days

I made it!  When I started this on November 2, I aimed for January 1 - a streak of 61 days - and secretly hoped that I would make it past the first two weeks.  I was 182lbs and running without stopping 20 minutes (at any pace) was hard.  My legs were constantly sore.  My running clothes, and normal clothes, didn't fit.  I was stiff and uncomfortable all of the time.  I made it past the two weeks and after four weeks things started to feel better.  Running for 30 minutes was a stretch and my clothes still didn't fit, but my legs were not as sore and were not sore all the time.  Fortunately, the weather in Ottawa was blessedly warm and I could run in shorts nearly every day until Christmas.  I say "fortunately" about running in shorts because my running pants didn't fit.  Don't even talk to me about tights.  I popped a button on a pair of suit pants.

By Christmas, the number on the scale had not moved, but running for 30 minutes was starting to feel normal.  My average pace was not increasing dramatically, but my perceived exertion and my measured average heart rate was dropping.  Then Winter finally came.  I knew I had a good inventory of foul weather gear and I was sure that none of it fit, but I had no choice.  It was like slithering into sausage casing, but I got the stuff on and didn't let the cold, snow, freezing rain or bad footing stop me.  The treadmill was there when life got busy and the weather especially lousy.  Just after New Year I could button my suit jacket with my wallet in one breast pocket and my phone in the other, and it didn't pull around the middle.

By the end of January, I ran a 10km race at a pace that was around 1:00/km faster than I could run for 20 minutes in November, and at an average heart rate that was just shy of 20bpm lower.  The scale reads 175lbs.  (The number didn't budge until mid-January.)  My running clothes are not as tight.  My suit pants are getting easier to do up, and I didn't move the button when I sewed it back on.

Today, I am thinking about races and giving my body some shape - not just losing weight, although the scale reads 173lbs today and I plan to eat better.  No one has approached me (yet) to model athletic wear, but I feel much more comfortable in my running stuff.  My suits are starting to hang right.  My energy levels are higher and my mood is brighter.  Running is fun again.  My mind drifts to outdoor activities, not food or "inactivies" (i.e. television and the like).  The streak changed my body, but it also changed my mind, and I think that is the greater accomplishment.

Day 100

Day 100 arrived with more a whimper than a bang. I seriously wanted to get out at noon, but [insert same old song here] I had a deadline to get something complete and needed to work through and well past lunch to wrap everything up.  The weather was perfect.  I had everything packed and ready to go.  The schedule did not cooperate, and the optics of heading out for a run at 2:00PM are pretty bad.

How's this for celebrating Day 100?  I ended up on the treadmill for a 20 minute hill/speed interval session at 11:30PM.  It wasn't what I was hoping for, but hey, it counts.  In a way, it typifies the streak because I had to do things like this many times over the past 100 days to keep it alive.

What's next for me?  I’m looking forward to mixing things up more now: getting on the bike trainer (after figuring our how the Tacx software works), body weight exercises, “speed” skating at lunch (speedy for me anyway), and now that ice is giving way to snow, x-country skiing.  My yoga membership, which has fallen into disuse over the past couple of months, expires in April and I want to start practicing again.  I also have this half marathon training plan on Garmin Connect that I am using to train for a 10 miler in April.  That should give me a good base for the Summer when I have a road half-marathon in June and trail races of 9km and 30km in July and August, respectively.