Where there's a will, there's (a determined runner who will find) a way.
I'm not stranger to streaking. It's happened for the past nine years with the RW Winter Run Streak. I also did the RW Summer Run Streak once (Memorial Day through July 4th). Most recently, I completed my third Week of Pi 7-day streak.
Ever since Thanksgiving Day 2020, though, I've also been #OptOutside streaking. Just last week, I passed the 500-day mark.
And I don't plan on stopping anytime soon...
While I respect this little milestone means more to mean than anyone else, I thought I'd share a few highlights, insights, and challenges. Who knows? It just may inspire someone else to embrace the great outdoors, on a daily basis.
So, how did I do this? The answer is quite simple: one day at a time.
Truth be told, this all began with that 2020 Winter Streak. After reaching the final day of that streak, New Year's Day 2021, I decided to continue getting outdoors, everyday. Although I had zero enthusiasm to run everyday, I did want to log some walking miles. Hence, the #OptOutside Streak continued on where the RW Winter Run Streak left off.
I didn't set any minimum requirements, I just had to make an effort to be outside for longer than walking to the mailbox. Since it was the winter season, I even counted snow removal as a qualifying activity.
Granted, many of those daily endeavors, in the past 500+ days, were runs. After all, I AM a runner. I not only love to run, but it feels good and it's good for me. Also, as a runner, there's usually a race (or several) in the near future, and the best way to prepare for a race is to run, am I right?
Though I may be a runner, I am not a high-mileage runner, nor am I a daily runner (except for that once-a-year winter streak). I cross-train on those non-running days, by way of strength-training. So, even though I was getting outside, on the daily, my end-of-year mileage still was in the "normal" range for me, and I didn't put myself at risk of over-training. A bonus? I think being outdoors, daily, upped my immunity since I wasn't cooped up inside round-the-clock. Other than some nasty vaccine side-effects (all three Covid sticks, plus the two Shingles as well), I have not been under the weather since before this Streak began..
Many of those #OptOutside days showcased biking (when it was warm enough). Sometimes, I rode a few miles at daybreak. Many times, I rode the #5at5 route, after work. Those five miles, on the bike, go pretty quick (and they're a great way to wind-down after a busy day).
There was some stair-climbing (in the warmer months). It's no secret that I love stair-climbing, and I'm lucky to have access to an 18-step outdoor staircase nearby, on the college campus.
And there was a lot of walking. Seriously, walking really is a no-brainer!
On occasion, there even was strength-training and yoga, on the deck (backyard) or the patio. It's quite a treat to take the weights, and the mat, outdoors in the early morning hours in the summertime.
Probably my favorite thing about being outside, on the daily, was the number of sunrises I got to witness firsthand. Sorry, but a sunrise looks much better in-person than through a window.
Being outdoors, also, allows for more appreciation of nature. There's nothing more tranquil than hearing the birds singing, as well as seeing and smelling the flowers.
In full disclosure, I have to admit that this wasn't always an easy daily conquest. Living in Iowa, I have the pleasure of experiencing the change of seasons. In other words, I see (and feel) it all, at least in terms of weather.
Often times, I had to stalk the weather and/or dance around the blizzards of Winter or the thunderstorms of Summer. There are many a day, in the winter, when the temps are in the single digits and the wind chill is sub-ZERO. Conversely, we also have many days, in the summer, where the heat index climbs well over 100F and the humidity is outrageous. Neither of these extremes make for ideal running conditions, but it is possible to take a short walk with the proper layers (in the cold) and with caution (in the heat).
There also were several walks in the rain, some of which were intentional. Honestly, if the temps aren't too chilly, the rain is pretty refreshing and can have a pretty calming effect.
Now that I've made it past 500 days, the big question is "How much longer?" Unfortunately (or fortunately?), I don't have an answer. I've made it through two winters (my least favorite season, don't forget!), so I can't see this ending any time soon. Day 1,000 is a long ways off (October 22, 2023), with another winter season to get through as well. Stay tuned.
Have you ever taken on a challenge similar to this? Do you try to get outside, everyday? Or do you white-flag it when the weather is extreme?