ICYMI - I somewhat spontaneously decided to complete a 30 day run challenge during the month of June. There are a lot of reasons why I did it - to feel healthier, to give myself some mental relief, to get out of the house a little bit. Well, the results are in: I completed the challenge on June 30th, and, frankly, I feel a whole hell of a lot better than I did on June 1st.
Aside from all of the physical and mental benefits, I can honestly say that my favorite thing about completing this challenge was that I did something for myself. There wasn’t a formal sign-up sheet, I didn’t get a medal, and I wasn’t going to disappoint anyone if I didn’t do it. It was just for me - and let me tell you, it was 100% worth every second.
Here are a few things I learned over the last month of running:
1. People are nicer than you think:
With everything going on in the world right now, it’s been really easy to lose faith in humans. Are people even nice anymore? Well - based on my experience, yes they sure are. I can’t tell you the number of times random people cheered me on or gave me a thumbs up or just said “great job!” I NEVER would have expected people to yell out of their car “Way to go!” as I was clearly struggling along. People don’t do that except in the movies. But they did. It was wild - it’s nice to feel like we’re not as doomed as it sometimes seems.
2. Flipbelts should be a running requirement:
I used this Flipbelt on every run, and it was SO nice not to have to carry my phone when I ran. It’s super comfortable and easy to take on and off. I forgot I was wearing it most of the time. HIGHLY recommend this one!
3. It’s okay to not feel great all of the time:
I’m learning that I have a tendency to want to feel amazing all the time, but the reality is that that’s not always possible. Every run I went on was different - sometimes I felt like an Olympic sprinter; other times, I was surprised I could even move 30 yards. It’s been nice to realize that Olympic sprinter days are easier, but the sluggish days are the ones you end up feeling the proudest of. Realizing that it’s okay to not feel your best all the time has been liberating. There is probably a deep, eloquent Buddist proverb that could synthesize all of this, but you get what I’m trying to say...
4. Running in the rain is basically spiritual cleanse:
I got super lucky with the weather over the last 30 days. It was either sunny and warm or slightly overcast for 28 straight days. But then - on day 29, the skies opened up. When I looked at the hourly forecast, there was no getting around it. I was running in the rain. Day 29 wasn’t too bad - it was basically misting the whole time. I actually started to enjoy it by the end. But on Day 30 - it literally down poured. I was completely soaked the second I walked outside. I didn’t bring my headphones; I didn’t listen to a podcast; I just ran. I could see people in their cars clapping for me as they drove by. One woman even rolled down her window and yelled, “You’re crazy!! Way to go!!” (See, people are nice.) At one point, I was just smiling and running (Yes, I’m serious. I probably (read: definitely) looked like a looney tune.) By the end of my run, I felt like a different person - I literally felt cleansed and happy. And I also knew that I could take the next day OFF!
I tell you all of this not to brag about how cool running is, but with the hope of maybe inspiring you to do something for yourself over the next month or two. Commit to doing something for 20 minutes every day for 5 days, 10 days, 40 days, whatever! Just try it and see how you feel - if anything, you’ll walk away with a restored faith in people, and you’ll feel a little more comfortable in your jeans.