Wednesday, February 29, 2012


From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day I participated in the Runner’s World Run Streak, which meant that I committed to running (OK, there was some walking too) at least one mile per day for each day for a total of 40 days.  It was an interesting experiment for me. 

One of my biggest discoveries throughout the process was that once I got myself motivated enough to change my clothes and get on the treadmill, I was home free.  Most days I would keep going after my mile had passed.  The hardest part for me was getting off of the couch, or out of bed, or away from the open bag of peanut butter M&M’S and telling myself that I was going to make my mile happen.  The mental challenge was far more difficult than the physical one. 

Of course, some days were harder than others.  On Christmas Eve I ended up switching my heels for sneakers but leaving on my tights, skirt, and sweater and walking my mile on the treadmill between Christmas Eve Dinner and our Christmas Eve 11 p.m. church service.  One day I had to get up before work to get my mile in, which wouldn’t be a big deal for anyone else but considering I find getting out of bed to be the hardest part of my day, it seemed like an exceptional achievement.  The break in my routine felt refreshing.  In a goofy way I felt like it opened my eyes to other possibilities in my life. 

Knowing that I had to get my mile in made me a better planner.  With holiday parties, work, family events, etc. I had to actually put the effort in to think about how I was going to spend my day.  I found that the most challenging days for me were actually the days when I didn’t have a ton going on and could really run my mile whenever.  The days when I only had 15 minutes to fit it in it was done and over and I was onto the next thing.  But the days when I could do it whenever I procrastinated forever.  You know that saying that work will expand into the amount of time that you leave available to do it?  Some days that mile took me 8 hours.  Not because I’m the world’s slowest runner, but because it took me 7 hours and 52 minutes to get my butt on the treadmill, and 8 minutes to run once I got there.

I do think there’s something to this whole planning thing.  I did find at least 15 minutes each day to get my run in, and I routinely work 10 hour days, have an hour commute each way, go out to dinner with friends and family, watch stupid television, and eat frozen yogurt.  I also really enjoy sleeping.  If I can find 15 minutes to run, can I find 15 minutes to prepare healthier foods for the day?  To write?  To blog?  To do something nice for someone else?  To call a friend that I haven’t talked to in a while?  To meditate?

What would you do with your found 15 minutes if you could get your brain out of the way and be motivated enough to do it?

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