On the Run: A Year Long Streak
On the Run: A Year Long Streak
By Alexis Mercer
A year of running. August 14, 2021 I set out for a run and it turns out it was the start of something much bigger.
For a while I had been training for the occasional race here or there but not every day. In fact this had been the case since 7th grade when I joined the track team, later to join cross country and then as an adult as a recreational runner (with the few years’ hiatus from running more than on a volleyball court when I played at Hope).
One other time two years prior I had started a run streak and gotten over 100 days in when I had to have surgery to remove skin cancer. The dermatologist’s face as I asked him “so I can still run tomorrow, right?” after he stitched me back up was clear: the run streak was over.
Because of this, I had been hesitant to try again. I wasn’t interested in having something come up that forced me to end a streak. If I was going to end it, I wanted it to be on my terms. A choice I made; not someone or something else.
The urge to try again, however, had been pulling at me for a while. So that day in August after the run I made the decision to give it another go. Could I make it a year? The only parameter for such a run streak is that you have to run a minimum of 1 mile each day.
Today, August 14, 2022, I ran 20 miles on the North Country Trail with my friend David. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t even know today was the one year anniversary. I knew it was getting close, but it wasn’t until I went to write in my runner’s log that I thought to count from the end of July. An entire year of running!
The process has changed me for the better.
Only one day comes to mind when I am certain I never should have run a mile. I was sick with a nasty cold (no, not the C word), it was freezing outside, and even getting off the couch was a struggle. I put on my running clothes when my husband asked what I was doing. “Going for a run.” His reaction was what I expected: dismay and disbelief at my stubbornness. But hey, I made it. And then slept the rest of the day and night.
My favorite runs? The crazy weather days when very few people would even consider going outside to do something like run. Pouring rain? My favorite. Windy to the point of questioning my sanity? Lovely. Snow storms? Enchanting. Hot and muggy? I’m a survivor.
Since I don’t do treadmill running (kudos to you if you are a treadmill fan, it’s like watching paint dry in my mind), I saw 365 days of weather and made it through all of them.
I can do hard things.
Running every day also provided me the opportunity to explore the places I visited throughout the year.
Philadelphia, New Jersey, Tennessee, Florida Keys, Ohio, Indiana, the Upper Peninsula, North Country Trail, Appalachian Trail, and many, many places in Michigan. Every time a new trip presented itself, I had the joy of finding somewhere to sneak in a run.
The part that was the most life-changing was how I made the effort to make sure I got the run in every day, no matter what. Sometimes that meant waking up at 4:30. Other times it meant running at 10:30 PM after my kids were in bed. If I was with my daughter at a volleyball tournament in Cleveland, it was checking the map and finding a route to run in between games on a Saturday. A long day of soccer tournaments for my sons? I ran miles on the country roads of Cedar Springs while they napped in our camper.
Excuses weren’t allowed. Everyone has the time, it is deciding what to do with it. This was important to me, so I made it happen.
Today’s run was extra special as David and I had the opportunity to train together for our upcoming 50k trail run. We took it nice and easy and finished feeling great with a swim in the Muskegon River! It’s not often I run with someone, so enjoying the miles on my year anniversary was perfect in every way.
Tomorrow? I’ll be out for a run.
Some "sweaty selfies" from my year of running.
8/22/2022 08:49:16 am
Way to go, Alexa! I have not seen you in years (since our days on Hess Lake), but the minute I saw the headline, I thought it had to be you. Congratulations!!
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