Last year I challenged myself to run 100+ miles and I am happy to report that I reached my goal! I created this challenge to keep myself active and to reach longer and faster running times. I have never considered myself a runner nor have I run regularly, so running 2 miles per week seemed to be a reasonable goal. I did not count unmeasured runs, 1/2 miles, hikes, walks, running on an elliptical machine, or bike rides.
Here’s a recap of the experience:
I started out the challenge on fire! My 1-mile runs quickly turned into 2 and 3-miles and I began running 2-4 times per week. I found myself looking forward to running and craving to get out and release those endorphins! My peak was from April-June, when the semester at one of the schools I teach at ended and I had two extra days open up. I settled into a great routine in which I would start my day off with a big green smoothie and take a run about 1-2 hrs later, around noon. Instead of running just 2 miles per week, I was running 4-8 miles and was propelling right past my goal. By June I had already reached almost 70 miles. I was looking forward to surpassing my goal of 100 miles by 50-100 miles. I was especially looking forward to the summer and all of the 5k races I would be doing…
Then, in late June, I began a very intense program for my master’s degree. I went from running 20 miles in one month to running 1 mile in July. I began eating less raw food and not getting the sleep that I had been getting earlier in the year. My anxiety and stress levels were also heightened.
After my summer courses ended, I had two weeks off before falling head first into the next semester. I knew I was behind and needed to get back on track. I managed to slip small runs into my weekends and eventually got to my goal of 100 miles by the end of December.
PR’s from 2013
1 mile: 8:38
2 miles: 18:04
3 miles: 27:27
While I am disappointed that my momentum was halted during the second half of the year, I am glad that I reached my goal. I am proud of myself for being able to reach the goal while being a full-time grad student, teacher, and working at my internship (student teaching). I learned a few important things about my body and mindset that I thought would be worth sharing.
1. Diet- this strongly impacted my stamina and mindset. Eating a fully raw or 2/3 raw diet gave me so much energy. Starting the morning with fruit and greens was filling and energizing. If I ate a bad meal in the evening, I would certainly feel it the next day.
2. Sleep- Not only do I need 8+ hours of sleep per night, but I need to go to bed earlier. Sleeping in makes me sluggish!
3. Mindset- This is key.
+ Shaming- First of all, I learned that shaming myself for not eating perfectly only weighed down my endurance. Yes, my body will reap the effects of a poor quality meal, but my mindset must be forgiving and optimistic!
+ Intention- I began thinking about certain people in my life and/or issues that were bigger than myself during each run. It was meditative. I laughed, smiled, and cried during my runs. During my longest run of the year, I focused on someone who is dear to my heart. I thought about what it would be like if they could run and what I would do if they were running alongside me. During that run, I not only ran the furthest distance of the year, but I also ran the fastest 2-mile, 3-mile, and 5k ever. I felt light and grateful.
4. Music- I had never run with music until this challenge. My oh my, does it make a difference. I started with a large collection of songs, but found that I am quite picky when it comes to music while running.
Here is a list of somes of my favorites:
“I Wish”- Stevie Wonder
“Pretty Young Thing”, “Billie Jean”, “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” – Michael Jackson
“Don’t Stop Believing”- Journey
“Soul Shakedown”, “Soul Rebel” – Bob Marley and The Wailers
“Pump It”, “Where is the Love”– Black Eyed Peas
“Bigger than My Body”, “Home Life”, “Only Heart”- John Mayer
“Starships”- Pentatonix cover
“Hit Me With Your Best Shot”
Here’s to running another 100+ miles in 2014!
Still a grad student and now a full-time teacher.
Embracing it 🙂
Questions for YOU:
1. If you run, what are some practices/strategies that keep you going?
2. What are your favorite tunes to listen to while running?