Tuesday, January 12, 2021

A No-Stress (stress fracture) Streak


This may have been the least stressful streak I've ever done.

Why?

Coming off a stress fracture, my streaking strategy was to have zero expectations. Besides, it's not like I had any big races happening any time soon. 

So how did that work for me?  The short answer: Mission Accomplished! 

Maybe it was due to the fact that this was my eighth consecutive Winter Run Streak. In other words, once Thanksgiving arrives, my mind, body and soul just know to go with the flow and run every day until the new year arrives. This year was no exception. 

In a typical year, I'd probably be coming off a fall marathon, and on the verge of a well-earned off-season. There would still be plenty of fitness "in the tank," and a run streak was the perfect grand finale to a year full of running and racing. Well, we all know that didn't happen in 2020. 

With a mid-August stress fracture under my belt, my return to running was still in the early stages. My runs had been short (most were 1-2 miles), and my weekly mileage had been conservative (single digits, thank you very much). My Thanksgiving turkey trot 5K had been my longest run thus far, and there was no need to increase my "long run" distance much beyond that. Why not throw in a few daily 1-milers? As long as I kept them easy-paced, I didn't foresee any problems (and I had the sense to stop if things felt compromised).

So, onward, to 37 days of streaking. No aches, pains, discomforts. Decent weather, especially for Iowa. And a fun finish line on New Year's Day. All went well.


Here's a few nuances that made this a fun adventure rather than a daily obligation:

Most of the runs were easy and short. In fact, of the 37 streak runs, 18 of them were 1-mile runs and 11 were 2-milers. I was also committed to keep consistent with cross-training and walking to give my body plenty of non-impact exercise as well.

I was able to do all 37 streak runs outdoors. Seriously, I was incredibly blessed with awesome weather, and didn't have to take any of these runs to the 'mill. Of the eight winter run streaks I've done, the past six have all been run exclusively outside. Granted, some of the runs were chilly. Remember my saying that most of the runs were 1-milers? Yeah, well, I can withstand most anything for one mile, even cold and windy weather. Part of the intrigue with streaking is having the grit and discipline to just do it. 


Variety was key! I made it a goal to run a different route every day, and I made sure to vary the terrain. Some runs were flat, some were hilly, some involved laps around a common area, some were out-and-backs. Some were even worked into brick workouts with elliptical and biking components. Also, I varied the time of day as much as possible, and probably set a record for the most number of runches, ever, in December. 

There was a lot of fun with fashion. A perk of running selfies is an instant record of what was worn. With a handful of different holiday-patterned leggings, a few red and green tops, some strategic puffer vests and a few pairs of funky knee-highs, I was able to create upwards of 30 "holiday" running outfits. There even were several days where it was warm enough that I could wear shorts! Yes, in Iowa!


All told, my mileage for the 2020 Winter Run Streak totaled out at 70.5 miles. Nothing extreme; nothing crazy. Pretty conservative, actually, and that's just what my recovering foot needed. 

Anyways, I'm quite grateful all things worked out well. Admittedly, this was a bit of a risky undertaking, but my gut told me to give it a go. After all, I had the option to call it quits if things went south.

As mentioned, this was my eighth winter run streak. I first winter-streaked in 2013, and have continued every winter since (2014, 201520162017, 2018 and 2019). I totally respect that the notion of run-streaking doesn't interest everyone, and I'm not here to cast any judgements or persuade anyone to change their mind. Heck, I was very much a skeptic myself until I gave it a try. As much as I look forward to this yearly ritual, through the holiday season, I have no desire to do it year-round (but kudos to those who continue on).

Despite all that went down in 2020, this run streak was a perfect ending to a not-so-perfect year. It was nice to have at least one long-standing tradition hold in the midst of all the other cancellations. Running wasn't cancelled, and I'm glad my winter run streak wasn't either.

Any other run-streakers out there? If so, how long did your streak last? What made you start, and why did you stop?
   
I'm linking this with Kim and Zenaida for the Tuesday Topics Link-Up


I'm also linking with Debbie, DeborahLisaLaura and Jenn for the Runners' Roundup


By the way...are you following me on social media? 
Let's connect : Facebook Instagram  Pinterest Twitter

32 comments:

  1. Congratulations on completing the 37-day running streak, Kim!

    I'm especially impressed at how you managed to incorporate variety as well.
    That's not easy with short daily laps, but I'm sure it made it a lot more interesting. Runches are a great mid-day break!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love a challenge, so mixing up the 37 routes gave it a fun twist. I love my runches!!!

      Delete
  2. My favorite part of the recap is that you ran a different route each day. Now that is creative! What a fun look back and what a neat tradition to have kept going all of these years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad the tradition could continue this year. Keeping most of the runs short was key..and I honestly had nothing else going on ;-)

      Delete
  3. I've always admired your yearly run streak and I love how you mixed it up this year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kim!! While I would never streak any other time, I always look forward to this little winter gig. And, then I'm glad on January 2nd to take a day off LOL

      Delete
  4. Definitely not a run streaker...never have been and never will be. Maybe if I lived in a warmer climate or had pretty views nearby. Right now it takes too long to get on all those layers to get out there for a short run.

    That being said, I do try to be a streaker in that I either run or walk or hike (or two) EVERY DAY.

    Pandemic-inspired streak caused or facilitated by working from home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, Darlene, you're so active (on the daily), you're practically run streaking (just not in the running shoes ;-) I did a run streak in the summer once (June 2014?) and that was a lot of fun, too, but definitely a lot more sweaty.

      Delete
  5. Like you, I love run streaks (not throughout the year) but here and there to keep things spicy! 30 Holiday Themed Outfits... you are my kinda girl!!! Haha! Well done on another successful run streak. Looking forward to our week of Pi!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right!!!!! Keeping things spicy is a great analogy! I'm glad you'll be joining me for some Pi ;-)

      Delete
  6. So glad your streaking works for you, Kim! Every one has to find what works for them.

    For me Winter is a time to slow down, almost always -- just trying to hang with nature. :) I very much doubt I could ever get a streak done completely outdoors! We haven't had a lot of snow really so far (knock on wood!) but it doesn't take much to make a mess of the streets.

    Never say never thought, right? Streak on -- next year. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, streaking works for me because I know there's a finish line in sight when I start. I totally forgot to mention that the Streak also gets me through the Winter Solstice, and then it's all brighter days ahead ;-)

      Delete
  7. I think it's so awesome and I am so glad it was the recovery you needed.

    I'm not so great with the run streaks. I just started four days a week, and that's probably about my limit for right now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. With the stress fracture recovery going so well, and the timing of everything (with the low mileage), it just seemed like it was meant to be. I'm glad I took the chance and gave it a go!

      Delete
  8. Well done on your successful recovery!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Congrats! The only streak I've done was the 1 month in October. It was fun, but not sure if I'll do it again. Definitely not if I'm training for a race or trying to hit another running goal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd never do a streak in the middle of a training cycle either. But during winter? When there's nothing else happening, I'm down!!

      Delete
  10. I am impressed that you've done a streak for a few years. I love even more how fun you make it to be. As you know I am also streaking but it was mostly because I was already running 5-6 days per week. One or two more days wasn't that big of a deal. :-) I thought about quitting when we got snow and the cold weather but kept going. Still no idea how much longer I will go but for now it is going well.

    Thank you for linking up with us!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, in all honesty, these winter streaks are pretty easy because the mileage is so low. If I was doing more than 1-2 mile runs (for all of the runs), the streaks probably wouldn't be happening for me. My body wouldn't allow that LOL

      Delete
  11. If anyone is going to convince me to do a run streak it is you. Quite the accomplishment! I like that you know the number of different outfits. 😊

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stay tuned, there will be a Week of Pi streak happening in March (running 3.14 miles every day, for a week, in celebration of my Pi Day birthday LOL).

      Delete
  12. I know you love your run streaks and I am glad you were able to pull it off this year coming off of your injury. Nice job reaching your goals!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Deborah! I'm thankful the timing was on-point (and the weather!) to get this done. 2020 needed a grand finale LOL

      Delete
  13. Congratulations! That was probably just what you needed after your injury. My husband did a run streak over the summer and he loved it. He'll still go out and do 1-2 miles now on days where he previously would have done nothing. I've never done a run streak but maybe I"ll do it with him this year- his streak went from Memorial Day- July 4th. We live in Florida so summer is our off-season!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've done the Memorial-July 4th streak once (several years ago), and it was a nice way to usher in the summer. I do the same as your husband...just a short 1-2 mile run on days I'd normally not be running. Good luck if you give it a go!!

      Delete
  14. Congrats on your eighth runstreak! I agree, you need grit and discipline to make it through, but it sounds like you mix it up plenty to keep it interesting and fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Streaking, for me, isn't about fitness gains, but just the discipline to do it. Not everyone's gig, but it's a nice way to make it through the Solstice and kiss the year good-bye ;-)

      Delete
  15. Congrats on your run streak! I think it's great you were able to complete all of your runs outdoors despite the time of year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Michelle ;-) December was pretty mild this year...I'm hoping January and February follow suit (though there won't be any streaking through them LOL)

      Delete
  16. Well, my streak lasted about a week. I signed up for fun but I'm not really a streaker at heart.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Congratulations on the successful completion of another run streak! You are just amazing!!! Streaking just a few months after a stress fracture. You did it the right way - didn't overdo it. So cool that you were able to get your runs done all outside. You didn't have to use Milly!

    ReplyDelete