If my math is correct, this year there are 35 days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day — a period defined by the terrifying gluttony of rich holiday meals, office parties and tins full of sugary treats. I often say with only slight exaggeration that if I ever become diabetic, the holiday season will be to blame (do you hear me, dear mother-in-law, with your irresistible butter cookies and chocolate-coconut bars?).
So it was with keen interest that I stumbled upon this essay in Runner’s World by the terrific writer Marc Parent about doing a daily running streak through the holidays:
Four weeks into the streak I had hit a rhythm. You do almost anything every day for four weeks and you start to get good at it. I no longer got tired on a run. I found out legs don’t hurt on days off when you never take a day off. You never feel guilty about the run you don’t take when you take them all. You don’t have favorite running clothes—you have whatever is clean and whatever works, which is whatever you happen to grab when you reach into the drawer. (…) Once I came home after an exceptionally cold run and looked in the mirror at the icicles on my eyelashes and thought, I am officially as crazy a runner as anyone I’ve ever made fun of. Then I took a hot shower and dressed up and looped a belt around my waist and hooked the buckle on the smallest hole—a new hole on a belt I’ve had for more than 10 years.
Turns out Runner’s World challenges readers to embrace an annual Holiday Running Streak and pledge to run at least one mile every day between Thanksgiving and Jan. 1, 2014. “If you do this Streak, and do it smart, you’ll emerge from the holiday season unscathed, and maybe even fitter than you were before,” the magazine writes.
So with this blog post, I hereby pledge, with the Internet as my witness, to run every day starting on Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, at least one mile, come hell, high water, snow, ice, “wintry mix,” gale-force wind, hangover, food coma, scheduling snafus or general laziness.
I have no illusions that this will be easy. Although I am an avid runner, I have never attempted a daily streak, and my calendar for the next 35 days is filled with things like my son’s birthday, visits with old friends who live out of state, a friend’s 50th birthday party, parties with relatives, Christmas dinners with both sets of parents, and hosting my brother and his family for a week. There will be near-daily temptations to stay indoors.
Yet I also know what’s coming: an avalanche of sugar and fat, dressed up in adorable holiday tins or in chilled cocktail stemware. And I like crazy things, like running in blizzards or jumping in lakes in December.
I start tomorrow with the Turkey Trot 10K in Detroit. I’ll report back here periodically to share nuggets of newfound wisdom or tales of zaniness. You can also follow other run streakers on Twitter using the hashtag #RWRunStreak.
Who’s joining me?