Wednesday, February 11, 2015

I guess I've always had some OCD. I can remember counting the number of Christmas trees as I was going to swim practice from home on 77th Place and Hamlin to Curie High School on Chicago's Southwest Side. (234 was the most ever recorded - I reminded myself of the number by tying it to Marcus Allen's average yards per game at USC that year. Yeah, THAT OCD.)

I've also always kept track of things - like the mass of Sports Illustrated magazines I still have to this day, or the tally of hotels my wife Jill and I have stayed at it (221 as of February, 2015). It therefore stands to reason that both would find a moment to connect. For the time being, that moment is now.

I started running with some guys from West Bend, WI. Much better runners that me. I started running more often, and faster than I ever had. And then the moment arrived - one of the guys said the words my OCD and collective nature yearned for - "My run streak is 204 days in a row." What?!? You can run that many days in a row? Should I run that many days in a row? From November to December I ran 5-6 days per week to test my legs. They felt great, and then I thought, "I should try to run every single day in 2015."

It's a pretty crazy goal in general. Certainly conventional wisdom would never endorse that much running without days off. I don't disagree, but it's my body and I'll do with it what I damn well please, thank you very much. Now, before you think I just woke up one day and decided running for a year in a row was a good idea, consider the following:

  • 2015 will likely by my sixth consecutive year with at least 250 workouts (over 400 in a year twice)
  • I've run two marathons, did a Half Ironman, and cycled thousands of miles
  • Ran hundreds of miles - well over a thousan
It's still not ideal, and I don't recommend it. OK, qualifications and disclaimers aside, I'm trying to run every single day in 2015. I made some rules up to push myself, but I don't consider these hard and fast - they just are for me:

  • Each run must be at least 5k - the shortest running race distance (non-track)
  • The run must be consecutive - i.e., I must run 5k all at once without walking
  • There are no requirements for speed (or not)
  • The run must begin before midnight to could for that day
As I start this blog, it's February 11th, the 42nd day of the year. I've run every single day (the streak is actually 44 since I happened to run Dec. 30-31 too). In that time, thus far, I've run on a lake, at night, in snow, in below zero temps, on treadmills, and on the same day as I had a colonoscopy (that sounds much worse than it was). For the first time (maybe in my life), I exercised every day in a month (in Jan - it boggles my mind that I'll have to do that 11 more a row). I've already gotten to the brink of breaking the streak. It was 15 days ago - my shins hurt in a weird way. I decided to run slowly that week. It worked. They still hurt a little, but I had 15 workouts last week (9 running days, 6 stationary bike rides), so it's all good. I track everything on Strava -

I've also had a couple of days that I wasn't sure I'd have enough juice to run. Today was such a day. The 42nd day of 2015 started at 3:30 a.m. EST, involved a 4.5 hour drive, 8 hours of work, 2 hours of music practice, and then a 10:45 p.m. 5k on a Hampton Inn treadmill. Were it not for the streak, and a kind switch to CST, I would have never gone running today. As it stands, day 42 is in the books.

It was an easy run, those are rest days now. Felt good.

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