100 Days..Done!

Back in May, Runner’s World issued a challenge to run every day from Memorial Day to the Fourth of July, which would be 40 days. The only stipulation was we had to run at least one mile each of those days. I decided I needed some motivation, so I took that 40 Day Running Streak Challenge. I found it to be very motivating, while at the same time rather challenging. The first two weeks my legs screamed that they were tired; they were used to a couple of rest days per week. After those first two weeks, I began to settle in, and my legs began to relent and accept that I was not going to bail on this challenge. 

By the end of the 40 days, I felt that I had accomplished a huge goal. In five years of running, I had never run more than seven or eight days in a row. I felt great, and I wanted others to have that same feeling of pride in knowing they could do something they might not have thought possible (or even wanted to attempt). I didn’t want to limit the 40 days to running, so I put out my own 40 Days of Fitness Challenge. It began the last day of my original challenge, so if I went one day past everyone else, I would have completed 80 days of running. Wow! Once I got to 80 days, I could have stopped. Then I thought 100 is really a nice round number. I bet I could run 100 days straight, which would really be an accomplishment. And so I did. 

Since school began, it hasn’t been as easy to work those runs in. I had gotten so far, that I wasn’t about to make excuses at that point. I also felt like my running had improved, and with some important races on the horizon, I wanted to continue to build my speed and endurance. There were days that my run consisted of a one-mile run with the dogs on our gravel road, but even those runs proved to be enjoyable. Well, they were enjoyable after the first tenth of a mile; that’s when the dogs were all excited about going on a run and they jumped all over me while howling. I’m sure it’s quite a sight! My long runs have been only five or six miles. Without having a true rest day, my legs wear out rather quickly. Now that I will be taking rest days, I am anxious to see if my long runs are easier. I’m running a 10K in Chicago in a few weeks, so that’ll be the true test of what the past 100 days have done for me. 

Today was my 100th day. I planned to run with my friend Debbie this morning because my daughter had a golf match after school. I didn’t even look outside when I got up, so I was surprised to see lightning and feel the brisk wind as I dragged my butt to the car before dawn. Once Debbie and I arrived at the gym and checked out the radar, we decided it would be in our best interest to stick to the treadmills. I guess I’ve been pretty fortunate that in the previous 99 days, I only had to rely upon the treadmill one time, but I certainly didn’t want my defining run to be indoors. Thankfully, we only had to run three miles because I really can’t run on a treadmill much further than that. When I completed my run, I felt that I should’ve earned a medal or some kind of bling. I did something I’d never done before, or even considered for that matter, and there was no finish line, no medal, no shirt, no crowds cheering my through the finish line. Nothing. Just the feeling of accomplishment that comes with meeting a self-imposed goal. I’ll take it! 

I will likely run tomorrow, making my streak 101 days, but that’s only because I teach an early class, and always run after that class. I plan to take a break from running Thursday and Friday, and then go for a long run Saturday morning. Admittedly, it will be difficult to not run. It has become part of my day, and I feel the need to figure out just when I can work a run in. I will abstain, however, because I want to run well in Chicago. It might be the only time I ever run a race in my favorite city; I don’t want to blow it. I am also running that race with my fast-running niece, and I don’t want to be the pitifully slow aunt. 

 

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Stop Eating Crap!

The title is directed at me.  I am sure that you enjoy a nice healthy meal and you eat veggies and fruits for between-meal snacks.  Me?  I eat crap.  A lot.  I have no self-control when it comes to eating.  Just in case you think I am exaggerating, here’s a rundown of yesterday’s intake:

  • Breakfast – chocolate Donettes and Diet Pepsi
  • Snack (for the drive to Owensboro) – Twix and Diet Pepsi
  • Lunch – O’Charley’s – Shared an appetizer with Addison – chicken strips, potato skins, and fried cheese wedges (it was awesome!)
  • Snack – Cheez-its
  • Supper – Peanut butter and jelly
  • Snack – more Cheez-its

Do you see one healthy item on that list?  The thing is, I know that I need to eat better.  When I go for a run, I can immediately tell that I have eaten crap all day, and that I have chosen my beloved soft drinks over water.  I feel heavy and yucky.  I ran five miles last night, but it never really felt good because of what I had put in my body all day.  After my run, I decided ‘No more!’  I was going to do better.  I would make better food choices so that when I run or do Zumba, I actually feel good.  I will eat better so I can help others, especially my family and my students, live a healthier lifestyle.

I have to drop Addison off at the high school at 7:30 in the morning on my way to teach summer school.  Rather than get up ten minutes earlier so I can eat something at home, I have gotten in the bad habit of running in the convenience store that is located – conveniently – across from the high school.  I am in there daily.  This morning I made my stop, bought a Diet Pepsi and …Poptarts!  I could not even make it until 8:00 am before I was ingesting crap.  I can justify anything; I needed breakfast, and I would do better the rest of the day.  I had to run in the grocery store to get some milk after school, so I also bought a bag of Baked Lays.  Again, I justified this purchase because they are better for me than real potato chips.  So, lunch consisted of a turkey and cheese sandwich (not bad), and Baked Lays (could be worse).  I also had a 20 oz Diet Pepsi and a Diet Mt Dew today.  Suffice it to say, when I went out to do a 3 miler while Addison was at her tennis lesson, I felt every single baked potato chip.  So what was next?  I had to get gas at my favorite convenience store, and I bought chocolate milk rather than a soft drink (baby steps), and animal crackers, which are low fat (darn, I am good at justifying my rotten habits).  Yesterday I actually apologized to the clerk at the store for being in there buying junk all the time.

Addison just texted me to see if I wanted to go to Zumba tonight.  How could I say no?  After putting all of this down for the world to read, I feel guilty.  I will go to Zumba; I will work extra hard; and I will work off those stinkin’ baked Lays.  The question is…what will I do tomorrow?  How can I change my eating habits?  What will cause me to make that change once and for all?  I KNOW what is good for me.  I KNOW what I should be eating.  I don’t eat because of some underlying issue.  I eat crap because it tastes good.  It’s as simple as that.  I would much prefer a bacon cheeseburger and fries over a salad with vinegar.  Fruit or cake?  Give me the cake.  Perhaps I should make it my summer mission to find healthier versions of some of my favorite foods.  But then I would have to cook.

The fact is, I want to run better, and in order to do that, I will have to eat better.  I am also supposed to start teaching Zumba classes as soon as I have my choreography prepared, and I can’t exactly teach fitness classes when I eat crap.  That would make me a hypocrite.  Starting right now, as I type these final words, I am going to promise you that I will try harder.  I will work to bypass the candy isle; I will eat breakfast at home; and I will drink more water.  What about you?  How are your eating habits?  Are you proud of how you eat?  Do you have advice for me?  Do you have some tasty recipes to share?  If so, leave a comment.  Help me out, People!