Yesterday was a shambles day. Nothing is broken. Just a streak.
And so I thought about the streak, and what it meant to me, and how it breaks my heart to end a thing that seemed to be going so well for so long, and then I realized that it had to end. I never realized this when I loved beautiful women with big brown eyes and warm, salty tears whetting my favourite shirt. I always held on too long; I always got dumped. I've never been good at the end. Yesterday was the end.
I ran 59 days into this year, some days only a mile or even a few steps less, some days more than 20k. A couple of weeks ago, I ran on a trail in hopes of getting some fun running into the routine, and to start getting an idea of the different pace and movement required to run on trails. I loved it. Even after I turned my ankle four times in less than ten minutes, I loved it. Trails are amazing. And they're at the heart of running, running for the sake of it, and running like humans always have: on dirt, wild, free. Weeks later, my ankle still bothers me. I've been to physio. I've changed and re-changed my shoes. I've gone through rolls of tape. The only thing I did not exhaust this whole time was my denial. I ran 59 days, and almost half of them were on a bum ankle. That is stupid.
So I broke my streak yesterday, and it's been weird ever since. I joked that my body would break out in hives and go into some kind of gross physical withdrawal once it realized it had passed a 24-hour period with no run. My body breaks out in grossness of all kinds anyway, particularly when running all the time, so I haven't found anything new to report since breaking the streak. Except my lower body hurts a lot less. And I'm dying to go for a run.. But in order to deal with the mental withdrawal of not running, I figured I could start writing down a few things I learned during the streak, and then, by breaking it.
Lessons from a 59-Day Running Streak:
- People will root for you.
- People will question you for doing it.
- People will question you for ending it.
- Intelligent people will tell you to stop doing it, and you may or may not listen to them, likely to your own demise.
- Durability will increase until it does not.
- Consistency works both ways - health will persist in a streak; so will an injury.
- Changing shoes can be a great idea.
- Blisters do not heal effectively or quickly.
- Tape is better than blisters - use liberally.
- Sugar is an inflammatory food and should be avoided as much as possible.
- Fuelling is important, even if it's just for a mental lift or a goal to finish the last few kilometres to work.
- Commuting by run is an excellent way to continue a streak.
- Doing intervals throughout a streak is really, really hard. And it's impossible on a crap ankle.
- Pre-scheduling physio that is easily-accessible (nearby and after work) supports the working body and prevents injury.
- No streak is worth continuing if it's also maintaining a chronic injury.
- Run slow.
- Don't always run slow; it's not fun to always run slow, and a streak has to be fun sometimes because it can be not fun a lot of the time.
- Run with friends. Use the streak as an excuse to get together with people for a run - anyone can run with you during a streak run.
- You will get passed by other bald guys wearing Boston jackets; do not pursue them.
- Your streak is yours, and it exists in comparison with no one else's, just like your entire damn running career and life.
- When you want to the least is when you have to the most.
- A run will fix most any attitude problem you get, unless your ankle is part of the problem.
- You will not know when to stop. Your body will know. You must listen to your body.
- Not everything can be healed with tape and some physio; some things take time, and it's the most expensive thing you have to pay.
- People are watching you and what you do and this will inform what they do; be smart about this.
So now the city is covered in wet, clean snow, and I have a birthday girl in the house, and the cake is made and the laundry is going. It is Friday. And today, I will not run.