Tuesday, August 23, 2016

On 1,000 Days Of Running Toward Your Passion

Not every mile is remarkable, but this one was. In a way, all miles should be remarkable.

Today's first mile was not unlike any of the past 999 days -- my legs were moving, my arms swinging and like most first miles, it feels anywhere from perfect to plodding.

Today, for my 1,000th day of consecutive running,  I marked the 1.61 km point with a tap to my heart with my right hand, as much as feasible in mid stride flying through to 1.62. I was running my fastest split. Of course I was.

This post isn't about the beautiful revelations you get by running every day. I've done that. This post is about skirting convention, about commitment, about longevity and about finding passions in your life and sticking to them.


In 2013, in a lot of ways, running saved me. I ran to get back my shape I had lost the prior two years. I ran away from the sadness of losing my mom and a long-time relationship. The miles through that year gave me a new sense of purpose that by the time I had hit November, I had rediscovered my love of faster running, and of racing. By the time I had done Chicago or, as I call it, The Comeback, I knew I wanted to kick up a gear.

By the end of 2013, I signed up with my now current coach and friend Rejean. I casually told him I just started a Runner's World run streak that started on Nov. 27. He shrugged his shoulders and as my first training plan, he had a run for me every day. Now we are here 1,000 days later.

I'm not sure what phase of the running boom we are in right now. I've read articles about how running has peaked past its second running boom ushered by the likes of Hal Higdon and John Bingham and lingered on with the formation of running blogs a decade ago, social media five years ago, and with club running and the more recent corporate sponsored movement propelled by the desire to reach young people and stamped by Nike, Reebok, New Balance. Now, running combats against spin classes, CrossFit, obstacle course challenges and bootcamp.

My 1,000 day running streak 
 Today, running can be about vanity, I have a view that running tends to be inward. No one runs your miles for you. No shoe, no logo, no hashtag will make any of that easier. The #nodaysoff movement I've seen pop up over the past year is measured by the easy/hard running conversation. Others talk about balancing running with other sports, finding ways of creating a more perfect athlete.

I got back into running to get back into performance. In these almost three years, I've logged 11003 kilometres (11 km a day average), run 20 races and seven marathons. I've thrown down five Boston qualifiers, run my fastest marathon at age 40. I've never felt better about running.

Running every day taught me that the outcome will not always about the pursuit of PRs. That drive can force you out of love with running. My 11 years of marathoning taught me it is easy to be overtrained, that life will at times will ask you to take away from the roads. Life happens, but so can running.


When I read about other streakers, those who been at it at jaw dropping amount, I see a possible path for me to follow. The path means that family, changes of jobs, life stages, other passions will inevitably come calling. When my mom was in her final year, I felt that call and I never regret releasing running for other things. Now, I know it's possible to fit in that mile.

That mile has meant early wakeups, 5 a.m. coffees, 6:05 a.m. run appointments with friends. That mile has meant repeats on a track or a hill or a progressively faster 35 km long run. That mile can be run solo or with a group of like minded individuals who cheer each other on. That mile has meant many new friendships, ones that probably wouldn't have been forced on this solo sport. For that, why would you not want to run every day.

Forcing myself out to get that mile every day has changed my life and my life outlook. I don't hesitate to push myself out the boundaries I set every day. I think it's possible to balance life, work, love, relationships, responsibilities.

My daily runs have transformed my days. I wake up early, I eat healthier, I feel stronger with more endurance, and I make that commitment. Unknown to me 999 days ago, I sleep so much better and that has been a huge benefit.

It may seem so minuscule, to put aside anywhere from 15 minutes to a few hours a day for your passion, but I meet so many people who love to cook, or get back into fitness, or write and read. They have aspirations and lists to fulfill. They have places they want to see and they want to do. I say, pick your passions, and do them. Time isn't fleeting but if you let slip a day away from the things you love, it will soon become two, or three, then you'll stop.

No matter what you goals are, or passions may be, you can't ignore them any longer, I have this one advice.

Never stop running.