Wednesday, 2 January 2013

mile a day challenge / review

Way back in November, I decided to join in Elise's challenge to run a mile a day for 40 days between Thanksgiving and New Year. I started this challenge knowing that I could comfortably run a mile. My motivation was to develop a bit of discipline in exercising through the Winter, when I find it all too easy to look outside at the rain and make the choice to stay inside where it's warm and cozy, rather than face the elements and push myself a little.
{the run where it was below freezing}
{the run where a lady asked if I was ok because I sat down on the pavement to take my photo}

In some senses, I haven't completely 'succeeded' at this challenge; there were a few occasions where I did not run. The reasons spanned from not having a single minute to spare between the moment I woke up, to the time when my head hit the pillow at the end of a very long day, to being unwell and physically not able to run. While I didn't want to be quick to make excuses for not running, it was a lesson in itself to have a little grace in those times where I physically could not run. Equally, I was not so bound by the mile a day goal that I was unwilling to go beyond a mile. Some days I ran 2 or 3, comfortably going beyond what I had set out to do. I ended the challenge, having run more than 40 miles, and I am quite simply, glad. Glad that I made the choice to pull on my running leggings and get outside, knowing the temperature was below zero; Glad that I kept on making that choice again and again until it became a natural part of my day to get outside, if only for ten minutes, and just run. And I will keep on running. Perhaps not every single day, but consistently.
{the run which proved to be the perfect remedy to clear my head and get some perspective}
{the run where Hey Ho by the Lumineers added a bounce to my step}

Half the fun of this challenge was taking a photo at some point on my running route each day and sharing it on Instagram, along with many, many other people around the world who also participated in running a mile a day. I love looking back at the photos and remembering what I was thinking or feeling on different runs, or the songs that became synonymous with some of the runs. I also loved that I got to run in two different cities (Bristol and London) for this challenge - I valued the variety that running in London added to the challenge and kept me a little bit more motivated. What has been even more inspiring is that a few people have been inspired to try the challenge for themselves after seeing photos of my feet on Facebook every day. Something I am constantly learning about myself is that I work far more effectively alongside others than I do on my own, and I have found this to be just as true in this challenge, even though I have mostly been 'alongside others' in the virtual sense, sharing my daily running photos and seeing those of others using the #mileday, running in snow and sun, depending on where in the world they were running. Knowing that there were many, many other people who had pledged to keep on running a mile a day helped me to keep going on those days where running was the least appealing thing to do. And on those days? I never regretted having made the effort.

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