On Not Running Every Day

After 46 days and some really, really stupid runs, life got the better of me and I broke my running streak.  Here’s how it happened:

 

Saturday, up at 5:30 am on the train at 7 to meet my parents for a car hand off so that carless seanv2 clan can make its annual pilgrimage to the land of my childhood memories (Cape Cod).  I figured I’d get the run in on my way back, but – traffic.  By the time I returned to the city, friends with cute toddler were on their way.  Then E had to get her hair cut, then we had to get ready to go to a wedding.

 

Then, a wedding and reception with dancing and raw bar and two negronis and photos overlooking central park at night.

E and I out on the town.

E and I out on the town.

We were back home by about 11 o’clock and there was still time to get it in. But we were a little tipsy and E was pretty opposed. She gave me the serious you-are-fucking-crazy look.  And she was right.  So I took the day off.  And then the next day. And the day after that.  First run back was this morning. 5.5. miles around the park in 45:39.

Frankly, it was probably for the best. My left foot was giving me some problems and couple of days of seem to have helped. The key now, of course, is to not let the days off pile up.  So its back on the wagon with new rules for a little mini streak: run every day, each day must be at least three miles. Streak ends when I get injured or am on track to complete 2000 miles for the year (currently I’m 518 miles behind schedule).  Lets see how it goes.

On Running Everyday

Yesterday was a tough one.

Monday night, the little dude refused to sleep.  He woke up at midnight, and again at three, and again at four thirty.  Object permanence, they say. When my alarm went off at 5, instead of getting in a quick mile before heading out to travel to D.C., I hit snooze.

That was stupid.

Logically, I knew another ten minutes of sleep wasn’t going to make any difference in my day, but in that moment, my sleep deprived brain would accept nothing other than another ten minutes in bed.

So, 5:15. Up, shower, shave, coffee, suit, and out the door to catch the train to D.C.  All day in our nation’s capital in meeting after meeting. Ended up in a bar in Du Pont with an old friend watching the U.S. lose.

Back on the train.

Cold sandwich, beer, spy novel. If only I could sleep in public places. Into Penn Station at 10:40.  Fuck it, cab it home. Back in BK at 11:15.  Kiss the sleeping wife. Kiss the sleeping baby. Change and head back out.

“I’m going for a quick run” I tell a sleeping E.

“You’re insane” she replies.

Yes, maybe I am.

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What’s the point of dragging my exhausted ass to run a mile at 11:30 at night? There are no health benefits. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’d be better off, physically, if I just went to sleep.

But this isn’t just about the physical, is it? It is about running as a refuge, as a thing you can control and do for yourself. It’s a place to reflect — even if its just for eight and a half minutes. Hell, you can do it everyday if you want to.

And its about more than that, too, right? Its about wanting something, and playing tricks with yourself to make sure to get there. Its about ensuring that because no excuse is good enough, the training always gets done.  The miles always get logged, and you get where you’re trying to go little by little, day by day.

Its obsessive, sure, and many runners better than me don’t need to run everyday. But here’s what I’ve discovered – to get what I want out of running, both psychologically and physically, I do.

So there I was, at nearly midnight, with the people leaving the bars, and the guys on delivery bikes, and black cars circling for fares.  There was no place I’d rather be.

One point four miles. Eleven minutes.

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Running Streak

By and large, runners achieve their best results with a smart balance of easy runs, difficult work outs, and rest.  That has never worked for me.  What always screws me over is the rest.  I take one day off  — it turns into two.  Two turns into three, three turns into a week and suddenly… I’m building from scratch again.  This pattern has been even more pronounced since Levi was born three months ago. It has got to stop.

So, what to do? I’ve decided, at least for the time being, to reinstitute a running streak.  I know it isn’t the healthiest of ideas, but it has worked for me in the past and it has become clear that if I’m going to get in any kind of consistent mileage, I am going to have to force that consistency.

Today was day eight.  Yesterday, only one week into this thing, was the first totally stupid day.  I got off the train a stop early and ran (literally) an errand (and a mile) while dressed in street clothes and wearing dress shoes.   It was dumb, and people looked at me funny, but I’m glad I did it.

I think I’ll run again tomorrow.