It's official: Cory and I both won the 2013 Holiday Running Streak, and I can finally take a solid week off from running.
Last year's victory came with more of a sense of accomplishment, though: It was my first time, so I had doubts; Thanksgiving was earlier, so it took longer; and I suspect I did more longer runs.
I totaled 77.66 miles over 35 days, for an average run length of 2.2 miles. More than half of the days, I didn't break three miles (my mental milestone for a full run) — 16 single-mile days, plus three two-ish mile ones.
Cory and I agreed that we each had intended to rely less on single-mile runs, but this was definitely an example of life being what happens when you're busy making plans. Weather, travel, parties ... all legitimate reasons to not worry about getting more than one mile in.
And it's still a mile more than I might've run on the days when our highs were in single digits, when an ice storm struck Des Moines, when I spent all day unpacking my new apartment so I could cook for a Thanksgiving potluck at which I spent six hours, etc.
This year brought more fun in addition to more obstacles (and, um, six fewer days).
It's good to have online partners in this challenge, but it's more helpful to have a real-life partner with you — particularly on the days when you grumble that you really don't want to do this, and your partner reminds you there's always the option of just running to the half-mile mark though you'll probably want to keep going at that point.
(He's right, and he's actually punished for that because he is the one who wants to turn back at the half-mile mark, but you're loving the downhill route too much to remember how miserable the uphill return will be.)
The real-life buddy keeps you accountable when he's already gotten his run in for the day, while you've been procrastinating, or vice versa; and the real-life buddy will still laugh every time you're high-stepping through snow/tiptoeing around ice spots/rubbing feeling back into your frozen face and you say, "Man, this hobby sucks," or, "Why did we decide to do this stupid streak again?"
My real-life buddy and I concluded the streak together on New Year's Day, well before sidewalks were cleared in my neighborhood and also before most dog-walkers had been out to forge a trail for us.
It was like being a kid again, and we were already giddy at how close we were to finishing this streak when we heard honking and yelling — it was Zach and Chelsea, visiting friends waiting for us to get this one last run in so that they could see my new place and have brunch, driving somewhere to kill time by walking their dog.
Hooting and hollering about a quarter-mile from the end, no missed runs and no wipeouts at all? Sounds like a successful streak to me.