On Day 7, I felt like Superwoman, running a 10k along the beach, with five 200-metre sprints tucked into the back end. Immediately after, my partner and I took a 6k walk to the farmer’s market, which I had scouted on my run. I felt so awesome that I took over carrying ALL six bags of fresh Gulf seafood and Florida produce while my partner ducked into the wine store. And if that weren’t stupid enough, 50-something Superwoman decided she should run the last block back to the hotel while carrying those six bags. Third step in, pain stabbed into my back, just above my left buttock, and I knew immediately my running streak was over.
A mere week in.
Next day, I woke up feeling like a magician’s prop — the one that gets sawed in half, only for real. I considered hobbling out a k just to keep the run streak going but that went against my deepest values as a runner — which, as ultra Pam Reid put it in my book Older Faster Strong, “I run to protect my running.”
Heck, even attempting a running streak in the first place cut against the the principles that successfully took me through my Older Faster Stronger super-fit year. And that is to take a balanced approach to running, with rest days and cross training and yoga, to run in a way that would enable me to keep running into my 90s and maybe 100
So what possessed me to attempt the streak? A new running adventure? A regime to keep me disciplined through a winter and spring that would take me away from my running club and a running program? To discover the meaning of running?
Oh yes, I wanted something from that streak — maybe a touchstone to get me through this next year of incredible change in my life, a new direction in writing but, much more than that, building a new house on an island a few hours away from my best running pals and the best running club in the world. The move is months away and I know we’ll stay in touch, run together when I’m in the city and when they visit, yet I’m already feeling the deep loss of daily commune with my running sisters.
Damn it, maybe this run streak/injury has given me something after all — realization that this loss will be huge and I can’t just plug in a daily run to fill it. That I can’t run away from that pain but must figure a way to run with it.