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Run Streak

Posted by Ashley Vander Meeden, Contributor | 01.03.2020

Running

 

I like setting goals. And even more so, I like completing goals. They motivate me. Whether in my personal or professional life, I'm the type of person that loves to check things off a list (though I do it digitally now). It's no surprise that I'd be motivated by fitness goals too. My bucket list is almost 100% physical goals (with the exception of travel goals).

 

I'd like to say that I'm the type of person that is motivated to run merely by the thought of running. I am not. In high school I ran cross country and track for the camaraderie of the team. While I didn’t always push myself to my highest potential, I had a blast goofing off, eating ice cream when I should have been running, and all sorts of shenanigans. However, when it came to race day, the fierce and stubborn competitor in me always showed up and gave it my all.

 

Once my shoes are laced up and I'm out the door there are lots of things I enjoy about running. I crave the outdoors. I listen to podcasts, music, or run silently. I enjoy having hour long conversations with friends or getting to know a coworker over big life questions while running mile after mile. Running gives me a way to clear my head. And, there is nothing better than running through the mountains surrounded by nature.

After high school I mostly stopped running. Without teammates by my side it just didn't make sense to do. Now and then I'd use some good old fashioned goal to motivate me to run again. These goals came in the from of forking over the cash to sign up for a race. When I was younger I winged a few of these races with next to no training, and horrible results, but I wasn't going to not finish and waste the money.

 

Flash forward a bunch of years, two kids, 3 marathons, and 8 half marathons later. For a personal goal at work in December of 2017 I set a goal to run every day for a month. A run streak. Officially a run streak is at least a mile everyday (according to an association that I don't belong to) and that was my plan. It was winter and like every winter I was feeling super motivated mentally because of the thought of spring, but the cold days had my body unmotivated to follow through on getting outside.

 

Running Up Hill | JAX Goods

 

My runs varied that first month, 1 mile here, 4 miles here, another 1 mile there. There were certainly days where I didn't want to run. I ran in the cold, in the snow, and if I really procrastinated during the day, I ran in the dark after the girls went to bed. As I mentioned before, goals drive me (and I'm stubborn). There was no way I was going to myself fail on this goal.

 

When I finished the first month, I celebrated the victory. I decided to put it on my personal goal list for the next month at work. And the next. After 3 months of my run streak it seemed a little silly to put it as a goal, but that didn't mean I was stopping. I was inspired by the stories in podcasts about people running for a year, or even for years and years and years. My run streak had become a habit. A good habit and I wasn't going to stop. I didn't officially tell anyone that early on that I was going for a year, but that's what the goal became.

 

I continued to run every day, no matter what I had going on. It had suddenly become this non-negotiable thing in my life. My daughters and my husband knew that I was going to run every day, no matter what we had going on or how I felt.

 

One of my most challenging run days came on a Trail Run Adventures trip to Ecuador. A runcation! This trail running trip was a perfect way to keep a run streak alive. We ran every day, usually about 6 miles and the experience was unbelievable. My expectations were blown away by the uniqueness of seeing a country from the trail. Five days into the trip and I had been experiencing the usual stomach issues that international travel can inflict on me. I figured it was nothing that a little Imodium couldn't keep under control. When I woke up on Day five I had a nauseous feeling that nagged at me all morning. All day I spent napping, never straying too far from my bathroom. The day had been a rare planned rest day so I wasn't missing much. Most people went out for 3-hour horseback ride. Whenever I was awake throughout the day I had two things in the back of mind, the first was that the next day we had planned a climb up El Ruminahui, a 15,000'+ extinct volcano. I knew that if I was sick all day I probably wouldn't be able to do the hike. I had never been up that high and I had really been looking forward to it. The second thing I kept thinking about was my run streak!

 

Around lunch time I forced myself to eat two servings of Clif Shot Blocks. I went back to sleep for a bit and when I woke up again I rolled out of bed to attempt a slow 1 mile run. Though it was ridiculously slow (probably a combination of feeling sick, high altitude, and tired legs), Day 315 of my run streak was a success.

 

Husband and Wife Running | JAX Goods

 

The day I hit my 1 year run streak was a work day. The forecast was for rain in the evening. Originally I wanted to run with my husband and daughters, but I was afraid to put off the run with bad weather coming when I knew the girls wouldn't be up for toughing it out. So, just like I started, I ran day 365 by myself. I took a long lunch and ran 4 miles on a trail near the office. It felt amazing as I looked back at the year. I had run in 3 different countries (USA, Canada, and Ecuador) and 7 states (CO, IA, NJ, OR, CA, UT, WA). I had ran fast (for me) and slow (and very, very, slow sometimes). I ran in snow, rain, cold, hot, wind, and everything in between. I ran a mile at a snail’s pace the day after I rode my bike a century. (I also ran a mile that morning before the 100 miles on the bike). I ran by myself, with my husband, with each of my daughters, with friends, with coworkers, and with strangers turned new friends.

 

I thought I'd stop when I hit the one year mark, but I didn't. I just kept going. When I hit year two, I didn’t even consider stopping. One day before my two year run streak my husband hit one year of his run streak. He silently started a streak and somehow this has become a family affair.

 

In the second year I ran in 3 different countries (USA, France, and Portugal) and 8 different states (CO, IA, IL, KY, WY, MT, OR, WA). My husband I took another Trail Run Adventures run vacation, this year to Madeira. I also completed 3 half marathons and one 50k. The run streak was now a part of me and a part of my everyday. As I write this I'm at 751 days. I know run streaks aren't for everyone, and there will probably come a day when I have to stop, for whatever reason, but even still, I encourage everyone to find a goal that motivates them, hopefully something that is good for you, whether physically, mentally, emotionally, or socially. Whether the goal is big or small, commit to it and set yourself up to succeed.

 

Originally Published: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/run-streaks-goal-setting-ashley-vander-meeden/




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