What I've Learned From Running Every Day Since August 29, 2017

health life running self improvement sports Feb 02, 2021
What I've Learned From Running Every Day Since August 29, 2017

Hurricane Harvey.

A storm that people in the Houston area will never forget.

It made landfall three times in six days and lasted a record 117 hours, stalling over the Texas coast for four days. It caused more damage than any other storm up until that point except for Hurricane Katrina.

The storm dumped 1 trillion gallons of rain on Houston in four days. At its peak on September 1, 2017, one-third of Houston was underwater.

Prior to the storm, I was alternating running and riding my mountain bike six days a week while taking one day off.

According to my spreadsheet, I rode my bike on August 24.

On August 25th, I wrote, “Hurricane Harvey Day” but I still ran 3 miles at 7:34 am.

On the 26th, “Lull from the rain” and I ran 3 miles at 10:27 am.

Then on Sunday the 27th and Monday the 28th, I wrote “Hurricane Harvey”.

It was during these two days when our street flooded with three to four feet of rainwater, that I happened upon an article on Runner’s World’s website with a title along the lines of, “What I learned from running at least one mile every day for 250 days”.

I remember thinking to myself after reading the article, “I could run a mile a day.”

Where I live — on the west side of Houston, the rain had pretty much stopped by August 29, 2017, so I decided to go running.

I logged 2.50 miles at 2:17 pm. My running log says the winds were gusting out of the north at 25 miles per hour. Day 1.

Apparently, I felt great because I ran 3 miles on August 30. Day 2.

I hit day 50 on October 17th.

Day 100 on December 6th.

Day 500 on January 10, 2019.

Day 1,000 on May 24, 2020.

As I type these words, my streak is 1,249 days old.

Not running to impress

I run every day (now at 5:15 am, just 15 minutes after waking up at 5:00 am) because I want to and I enjoy it.

It’s not my goal to impress anyone other than myself. I’m actually shocked I’ve not missed a day since I started.

In case you’re wondering, I am often asked if I’m considering running a marathon. The answer is no. Why? Because to train properly, you have to take rest days.

Rest days for me are when I run just one mile instead of my usual three miles, which I do after I have reached my yearly goal of 1,000 miles; something I’ve done in both 2019 (1,026.86) and 2020 (1,072.52).

Plus, I limit the number of miles I run because as a daily runner, I have to be careful to avoid injury.

What I listen to when running

It varies.

Currently, I’m listening to podcasts but I’ve also listened to audiobooks, my Christian hip-hop playlist on Apple Music, and even…nothing.

What I’ve learned from running every day

There are several lessons I’ve learned over the course of 1,250 days.

  • Even though I didn’t think I could keep this streak up, I realized all I have to do is run today. Tomorrow is another day. I can’t run tomorrow today.
  • Listen to my body. Some days I run fast, others not so much. If I feel less than 100%, which happens from time to time when you’re 55-years-young like me, my pace is slower. Feeling 100% is a rarity, now that I’m older. I’ve run when I felt like crap, even when I had a thrombosed hemorrhoid!
  • No excuses! Aside from health issues, I’ve run when it was hot, (I live in Houston, Texas), cold (it can get in the 20s here; the worst times were when it was in the low 40s and raining…but every day means every day), and in the pouring rain (it wasn’t raining when I started but I didn’t check the weather before I left that day).
  • Track the stats (I’m a data nerd) but don’t obsess over them.
  • Be proud of myself for running every day for 1,250 days. Most people don’t exercise in any way, shape, or form. I don’t feel 55!

My motivation for running

Shortly after I started running, my mother was diagnosed with late-onset Alzheimer’s Disease.

As her only child, I had the opportunity to speak to her neuropsychologist. I told him I had found an article on Runner’s World and…

He interrupted and said, “you want to know if you continue running if it will mitigate your chances of getting Alzheimer’s.”

Apparently, he’s a mind reader too!

I told him “Yes.”

He proceeded to tell me that, while there are no guarantees, the answer was yes. “We’ve been telling people for years that diet, exercise, and sleep are the keys to better health.

As I reflected back on my mom, she wasn’t ever very active except for her Jazzercize phase in the 80s. It wasn’t her fault. Back then, only athletes were told to work out.

Not only do I run every day but I’m being more careful of what I eat (I’m not perfect, I do eat stuff I “shouldn’t”) and I only drink water.

But every day I run, I think of my mom.

Her Mom died of Alzheimer’s and, in all likelihood, my mom will as well. Right now, she’s like a 3-year-old trapped in a 74-year-old body. Mom’s still here physically but not mentally. I miss my mom so much.

I hope you enjoyed this article. Thank you for reading it. 

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