Streak Report 2011

Streak Report 2011 - 13 DEC 2007 though 12 DEC 2011 Statistics.

1460 Days in a row; 8,354 miles run; averaged 5.72 miles per day; 2925 miles in 2011; 9:00 per mile average pace= 75,186 minutes, 1,253 hours, 52.2 days of running time; 270+ days with at least 2 runs; 396 days deployed to Afghanistan NOV ’08-DEC’09 with at least 1 run per day; 195lbs on 13 DEC 2007-175lbs today; 60 BPM resting heart rate 2007-37 BPM resting heart rate now; 12 major events (26.2 miles or longer) completed prior to 13 DEC 2007. 34 major events completed during this streak: nine – 26.2 marathons; 25 ultra-marathons:  eleven 50Ks; two 40 milers; four 50-milers; five 100Ks; three 100 milers; 1452 racing miles. Climate & weather: coldest temperature run in -28 degrees below zero; hottest temperature-115 degrees; 3 continents; 4 countries; 18 states; 6 different time zones

Some Lessons Learned:

  • Speaking as an average runner and a mid-pack finisher in major races, you can run every day and improve at racing. I’ve improved in finish positions and time personal bests at every distance from 26.2 to 100 miles in 2011
  • Running every day validated my long distance racing lifestyle and created wife and family “buy in.”
  • Running and training daily created more base mileage that translated directly to racing success at every distance.
  • You can run the day after a major event; it’s not easy but speeds up the recovery process.
  • It is easier to maintain a racing level training daily than to build to a major race, drop off after, build back up, repeat, repeat, repeat…
  • Missing 2-3 days of training here and there became harder and harder to re-coop progressively past 40 than to run daily.
  • You make great friends all across the running community.
  • Dogs are awesome running and training partners.
  • Simplify your running log process to what works best for you and stick to it.
  • If you’re a runner, find a life partner that’s a runner.
  • 2-4 upper & lower body TRX / TRX Rip Trainer workouts weekly enhance & improve my running and are critical for overall total fitness. I run and I do TRX for PT. Hike too
  • I’ve run during all 1440 minutes of the 24 hours in a calendar day in few 100 mile events.

It only takes between seven to twelve minutes for anyone to simply run a mile; seven minutes if you’re really moving, twelve if you’re really taking your time. So in the bigger scheme of things, we’re talking about an average of nine minutes per day to qualify a running streak with at least a mile on a daily basis. Nine minutes out of one thousand, four hundred and forty we are allocated in twenty-four hours each day. I also am acquainted with a couple other runners maintaining streaks that are sixteen and thirty years long. From that perspective my four year streak is not a really big deal when I consider what it takes to maintain it and the 1460 days reached in four consecutive years. However, I started my streak in an effort to develop more training discipline, to become a better, more physically fit runner, better able to complete marathon and ultra-marathon distance events. Maintaining my streak has facilitated these goals.

In 2007 I managed to finish four ultra-distance events even though I had an unfocused training plan that usually worked out to three or four days of running each week when I could fit it in. That accumulated about twenty to twenty-five miles a week. Sometimes I’d get in more miles, sometimes less, but I remember a 30-mile week as noteworthy prior to my streak. I re-discovered that I really enjoyed completing longer events, crossing finish lines in longer races as I had completed a total of eight marathons prior to the four ultras in 2007. But that December I failed to complete the Hellgate 100K race due to the simple fact that I was significantly under-trained in terms of what was required to complete that event.  My lack of overall training commitment in 2007 was also reflected by the fact that I was coming up well short of my annual goal to reach 1200 miles. Again.  After some re-assessment, I decided that I really did want to pursue ultra-marathons and determined to finish out 2007 as well as I could by running every day the rest of that month starting on 13th of December.

Running is now a Lifestyle. I’ve learned a lot about running during this streak and even more about myself. You can run every day and improve in terms of racing at every distance. Running has become my lifestyle and that has been rewarding on several levels. Prior to starting my streak, running was just something I tried to fit into me and my family’s life as best I could. I was lucky in one aspect in that I was in the Army when I started this endeavor, and physical training is a real daily requirement. But, in terms of the extra training required to achieve the marathon and ultra-distance goals I wanted to reach, I did not start to reach 40 to 50 mile training weeks until I started running every day. Even more importantly, my family recognized my commitment when they saw me running every day in all types of weather. Running and racing then developed into part of our family life even though I’m the only participant besides our dog pack. I’ve had the opportunity to run in almost every environment; woods, mountains, major urban venues, trails, beaches, roads, desert, deep winter and perfect spring and summer conditions.

At age 46 when I started I weighed right around 195lbs; my average resting heart rate was not terrible, right around 55-60 BPM. Last spring 3.5 years into my streak, my fitness stats had all improved when I underwent my Army retirement physical; 175lbs, and a resting heart rate of 37 beats per minute. My cholesterol was infinitesimal and reduced by over 20 per cent in that period according to the PA as well. I’ve never had a history of any illness and few injuries even prior to my running streak, but my health has significantly improved. I have maintained this streak through a couple of ankle sprains, a short bout of what I think was food poisoning, and the start of a couple of colds that dissipated. I always feel better physically and mentally after I run, and often do my best thinking while I’m running. I’ve gotten a lot tougher mentally and physically as a runner and racer over this streak and that shows in my racing results at the end of this document.

I learned to log my running online this year after trying several types of hard copy logs over the past decade. I currently use DailyMile.com and Runningahead.com and this has been by far the simplest and most comprehensive means to log my running efforts. My DailyMile log has also turned into a daily journal of sorts that I always meant to start over the years.

Running makes friends and builds friendships. One of the best side-effects, if not the best besides overall health, is all the friends I’ve made relating to running and physical fitness. I have only had a couple of friends you could define as true training partners for any extended periods of time but have spent time running with a lot of different people in racing and non-racing venues and still maintain most of those relationships. My dogs are my ultimate training partners though and have been throughout this streak; we run together every day that I’m home. Even though Jake and Maui passed 1 ½ and 2 years ago respectively, I’ve still run many more miles with Jake the Wonder-Dog than anyone else, although that will eventually change. I get Fletcher, Maggie, Daisy, Simon and Gibby out on the trail or on the road every day that I’m not traveling.

Running is training and training is running. Four years later I still do not have a hardened training plan; I just run every day and the mileage builds from there. On days where I feel really good, I expand routes to longer mileage given enough time to do so. Some days I don’t feel too much like running and those turn into shorter, rest-type, recovery days. I pick up the pace and run harder two or three days a week and take it easier the remaining days of the week.  I discovered that by maintaining as little as 30 to 35 miles per week, I can comfortably complete a marathon on any given weekend or day between 3:55 and 4:10 overall with little to no debilitative effects.  30-35 miles per week is a short week now, and there’s seldom a week where I don’t get in at least one 10-mile run. When I have a long, long race in my schedule I ramp my training mileage up so I equal that race’s mileage distance for a week or two’s worth of running within 3-4 weeks out from the race itself.  The main training point this streak has taught me is to “listen” to my body. Run further and faster when I feel up to it, and slower and easier when I don’t. I have had several highly experienced runners tell me that I’ll never have my best race or best event until I stop running every day, and develop a training plan focused on one major event that also incorporates rest by not running every day. I’ve even had one person volunteer to coach me for free if I agreed to quit my streak. But, I run every day, including the day after every major event as part of my recovery. Prior to starting this streak, the thought of running the day after a marathon, or even for 3 or 4 days, was incomprehensible.  Now, I run every day.  And since I started running every day, those daily 9 minute, 1 mile streak qualifiers continually built up into larger and larger numbers.  

Numbers.

1460 straight days with at least a 1 mile from 13 DEC 2007 to 12 DEC 2011. In that time I’ve run 8,354 miles, an average of 5.72 miles per day.

My most constant running pace over that period is 9:00 per mile and at that average that’s 75,186 minutes of running since December 13, 2007; 1,253 hours or 52.20 complete days of running. As near as I can tell, there have been 270 days in that period where I’ve run at least twice per day including SEP 2010-AUG 2011 where I commuted to and from work on foot an average of 4 days per week.

I’ve run in at least 18 different states, 4 countries, and 6 separate time zones.  -28 is the coldest temperature I’ve run in, at 0200 in the morning in Minnesota during my first shot at the Arrowhead Ultra in 2010. 115 is the hottest, June, mid-day in Ali-al Salim, Kuwait in June 2009.  

I ran every day for 396 days deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from NOV 08 to DEC 09. I was highly fortunate that I lived and worked on a Forward Operating Base big enough to run on. Otherwise, I would have been forced to adapt to a tread mill. Incidentally, I’ve run outdoors every day of my streak.

I’ve had the opportunity to complete 34 major races over the course of my streak, defining major races as marathons or ultra-marathons. Nine 26.2 marathons including 4 trail 26.2s; Ultra-marathons: eleven 50Ks; two 40 milers; four 50-milers; five 100Ks; three 100 milers. I failed to finish my first three attempts at the 100 mile distance, but finished my last three. I’ve completed 29 majors since February 2010.  1452 racing miles during my streak. There are 1440 minutes in each day and due to the 100 mile races, I’ve run during every minute of the day, and each hour in its entirety. In my opinion, 0200 to 0500 are the toughest hours to run in. I’ve completed races in twelve states and two countries during my 1460 days. I had my fastest races in almost every distance in 2011 well after my 50th birthday including the 26.2, 50K, 100K and 100 mile distances, including a Boston marathon qualifying run at the Empire State Marathon in October this fall. These improvements are the results of two things; I was never really fast and my earlier race finish times reflect that, but I’ve also improved a lot as a runner and racer during my streak.  I’ve completed a total of 46 major events in all, 12 prior to starting my streak.

I’ve been very fortunate in every regard to this streak; I’ve been healthy and received a ton of support from my wife and family and those things have enabled me to pursue running and racing long distances, the exact things I wanted to pursue when I started my streak. While I still take a lot of pride in reaching the finish line in every distance from 26.2 to 100+ miles and developing those goals, maintaining my streak has evolved into my #1 personal fitness priority regardless of all other racing and running goals. I intend to maintain my streak as long as I am able.

Tim Hardy
Marietta, NY
27 December 2011
Day 1473

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  • http://www.itsjustonefootinfrontoftheother.blogspot.com shelly

    You are inspiring!
    In particular I love one lesson learned: If you’re a runner, find a life partner that’s a runner. Knowing that sooner would have made things much much easier! ;-)

  • Stu

    Phew..good stuff. That’s food for thought for me. I recently wondered if I should be running again and kinda lost my mojo for it, but after reading this, it’s got me thinking again. Thanks:-)