October 27, 2022
I wanted to make sure I was correct so I counted and recounted and counted again.
Yes. Today was the day. I had it marked on my calendar so I assumed it was, I was sure it was, but I needed to check and double-check, and triple-check just to make sure.
I had to be certain about this.
300 consecutive days of running!
I have not yet reached my goal of running every single day for an entire calendar year, but, boy am I getting closer. 300 days!
300 days in a row.
It’s obvious that I love running. I do it every day.
Until this year, I ran a few times a week. During the marathon training period, I might run five or six days a week, but I never did seven days. Until this year, I was a guy who ran most days. And it was great and it was good and it was wonderful.
But I wanted to try something different, something ridiculous… something that I’d never come close to accomplishing. I wanted to see if I could run every single day for a calendar year.
And I’m doing it.
There’s only 65 more days to go!
The toughest day to run this whole year might be in a week and a half, on Monday, November 7. That will be a difficult day for me to run, I just know it.
The day before, November 6, I’ll be running the New York City Marathon – 26.2 miles over the hard, difficult, and unforgiving streets of New York City. In that race, we also have to cross five bridges, and if you’ve never run one of those bridges, let me just say, they aren’t easy.
I showed my wife the Queensboro Bridge the other day when we were driving in Manhattan. “See how high that is,” I said. “We have to run up that thing.” That bridge, also known as the 59st Street Bridge, comes as Mile 16 approaches. The finish is a long way off…
The New York City Marathon is a marathon… it’s tough. It’s unforgiving. I’ve run many marathons (this will be my 23rd) and the NYC experience is much different than most. It’s just a challenging race on a challenging course. In short, it beats me up, every year.
In many ways, the NYC Marathon is more than a race – it’s an experience. It’s transformational. I look forward, with unbridled enthusiasm, to the race every year. I have written this many times before, but that race has become part of who I am as a human being. I am the NYC and the NYC is me. That all sounds hyperbolic, but it’s not. As the autumn comes, as November arrives, I can literally think of nothing else. I’ve been running marathons since my first NYC in 2002. The years I don’t run that race (for one reason or another) leave me with a genuinely empty feeling inside (not unlike the feeling I get each year as the Yankees’ baseball season ends).
One year I was a marshal at the finish line. That was a great experience, but it wasn’t the same. I’ve run Chicago, Philadelphia, Marine Corps, the Lehigh Valley, Baltimore, Walt Disney World… they’re all great, but none are the New York City Marathon.
I simply love that race. I love everything about it.
Maybe what I love most is the cheers, from strangers, millions of strangers, as I run by.
It makes me feel like a hero.
But there is one thing that accompanies that race, no matter what shape I’m in when I run it. Pain. Soreness. Stiffness.
Getting to and from the race encompasses buses, crowds, walking, moving… it’s almost like doing a marathon before and after the actual marathon. It ain’t easy.
In addition to the euphoria that comes from finishing is the absolute exhaustion from being part of the whole experience. 50,000 runners, millions of spectators, crowded city streets, getting to the start, and somehow getting home again. It’s rough.
(I wouldn’t change any of it for the world, but that doesn’t mean that it is easy.)
The next morning, the day after the race, and for the whole next day, or two, it’s a challenge to even walk, let alone run.
I’m not sure how I’ll get though my run on Monday, November 7.
But I’ll do it.
I have to.
I have no choice. I’m running every day this year.
People sometimes ask me how I made the decision to exercise or run every day. “Aren’t there days you just want to take a break?” they ask. Of course there are. Of course. But I just can’t do it.
I made a commitment to myself that I would get into shape and stay in shape. The way for me to meet that goal is through daily exercise. I know that one day off can lead to two and I just don’t want to get into that pattern. Good enough never is. This year I set the additional goal of daily running to my stated goal of daily exercise.
I wanted to see if I could do it. I wanted to see if I could run every day. Every day. For a whole year. No matter what. No matter how tired or sad or busy I have been, I have made the time to get some miles in. (It’s always easier to run when things are bright and sunny. And I am blessed that most of my days have been…)
The end result is that I feel great. I’m running as if I were ten (or more) years younger. I’m getting it done.
I made my choice. I don’t make a choice each day. I made my choice last century. Since that choice was made, it is less difficult to exercise daily. The question isn’t “Will I exercise?” The question is “Which exercises will I do?”
This year, the daily answer (in addition to other exercises) has been to run.
I’ve now reached Day #300.
Before this year I had never even run 40 days in a row. I tried this once, a few years ago, and quit in February. And now I’m at Day 300.
I knew I could do it. At the same time, I also hoped I could get here. Life has a way of throwing a ton of challenges in our paths – and this has been a year for me like none other.
But here I am.
I’m on my way!
(And you know what, if I can do this, anyone can. It doesn’t have to be running. It can be anything. Set a goal and work with determination to reach that goal no matter what it is. You can do it. You really can!)