November 30, 2015 was the day I decided I was going to run 1 mile every day until my 31st birthday on December 30. I had tried to do a similar thing for my 30th birthday and called it 30 before 30, but it just didn’t pan out. A couple weeks into December, my grandfather passed away, and I gave in to a huge food binge and let go of my exercise streak. I gave up on myself and my goals because life happened. Here's the thing- life is ALWAYS going to be happening. We have to figure out how to still work on our goals while doing and dealing with all of the other things in our life.
This time I was determined to complete my 31 before 31 streak. I had a strong “why”: I wanted to show myself that I could do something without quitting. I knew life would continue to happen, and there wasn’t anything I could do about that. I could, however, always find 10 minutes in my day to run a mile. Sure, there were busy work days and many holiday parties in December, but I made it happen. Yes, I ran before my work's boozy Christmas party, on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and my birthday. I ran 1 mile for a full month without quitting.
Waking up on December 31, you’d think I’d have felt relieved that I didn’t have to go running again. That’s usually how I felt about exercise: rest days were the best days. But something crazy had happened in December. Running became a habit. It was a routine. It was something I just had to get done before going to bed. My day felt incomplete without getting my mile in.
I decided 31 was not good enough. I felt great about turning 31, but it was an awful number to end a streak on. Mid-December, my super awesome runner friend Kyra asked me if I was streaking. I had no idea it was a thing, but on December 31, I decided that I would streak, I would run 1 mile every day for 100 days. 100 was an impressive, seemingly impossible, but not entirely impossible number. It was a GO BIG or go home kind of number. I had no plan and no idea what would become of this 100 day streak. All I knew was that every day, I would find 10 minutes to run 1 mile for 100 days straight. However I had to make it happen, I would. I used my lunch break to run on the treadmill in the gym at work. If work got crazy, and I didn't take a lunch, I ran outside when I got home. Yes, even with an 11 hour work day, I still ran. When it was 3 degrees in Chicago, and I hadn't done my mile yet, I put on layers upon layers, went outside for just 10 minutes, and got that mile in.
New Year's Eve and a hungover New Year's Day? I ran that mile! I even made my poor dog run with me a few times. She is a fit dog now. And my amazing boyfriend joined me on several runs even when he didn't want to! The day I spent 12 hours packing up my apartment to move to a new state, I made my mile happen. The day I drove 12 hours to Atlanta, Georgia, I made my mile happen. The day after moving, when my body was exhausted from lifting, driving, and a horrible night of sleep, I made my mile happen. Every single day for 100 days, well 95 days as of today, I found 10 minutes in my day to run just 1 mile.
I wasn’t fast. I wasn’t an expert. I didn’t like it every day. In fact, a lot of days I dreaded it and put it off until the end of the day. I still made it happen because I told myself I wanted to do something without quitting. I wanted to accomplish something I had previously failed. I wanted to do the impossible. I wanted to make something that I was really bad at become something I was really good at.
Something amazing happened during this streak. OTHER people started to make THEIR mile happen. I got messages from people that started to run or walk because they saw me doing it. Two friends from high school ran all of January with me, and we pushed each other to make sure we got our daily mile in. They started to post their mile times. I wasn't previously focused on my mile time because I've always just called myself a slow runner and was fine with that title, but with some friendly competition, I started to push myself to go faster. On November 30, 2015 my very first mile, my time was 11:24. On February 10, 2016, I broke the 9 minute threshold and ran an 8:38 mile. On March 2, 2016, I ran an 8:18 mile, my fastest mile ever. I am still working on my speed and WILL run a sub 8 minute mile before my 100 days are up.
Miraculous things don’t happen overnight. No one wakes up a fast runner. You have to make it happen. You have to work at it over and over again. The really big changes in life happen by repeating small habits every day over a long period of time. Running 1 mile every day for 100 days? That’s a small habit I kept repeating, and my mile time is now more than 3 minutes faster than when I started. Was this something I first planned to happen? No! Did I have some really crappy runs? Yes, a ton! But I still got out there the next day again and again and made that mile happen.
This journey would have been nothing without all the support I've gotten these past couple months. When you have a goal, you should publicly announce it, find someone to hold you accountable, surround yourself by people that are already rocking whatever it is you want to rock, and work on it every day. Posting to Facebook AND my coaching groups have helped me make this happen. Thank you to everyone that gave me a "like", encouraged me to keep going, or gave me advice on how to get faster. I LOVED seeing other people getting out there and running their own daily 1 mile. Virtual running buddies!
I am almost at my 100th day of running.
I’ve continued to share my journey along the way to inspire others to begin their own journeys. I am inviting YOU and 99 others to run 1 mile on my 100th day. Yes, I want to get 100 people to run a total of 100 miles on my 100th day. I know you’re busy. I know you have a full-time job, and you're on your feet all day. I know you have kids and your house is a mess. I know it might rain on March 8. Eek. Find a treadmill or a just go for it. You won't melt! Maybe you hate running. (That was and sometimes still IS me!) Maybe you can only walk a mile but every other minute you can put a little hop in your step. I just want you to try 1 mile. That’s it. 10-20 minutes of your day.
It’s less than an episode of Fuller House. If you're running on a treadmill, you could even watch an episode of Fuller House! And if you are running outside, I love to listen to podcasts. They help me zone out and not think about how much time I have left. I highly recommend Serial Season 1 or This American Life.
You just have to start. You don’t have to be good. You don’t have to be fast. You can walk most of it if that’s what helps you get it done. That’s how I first started!
Please sign up here so I know I have 100 people: http://goo.gl/forms/UWuewqYMUl
Please share on your social media! Let’s make something big happen. Let's run 100 miles together on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Post a selfie of yourself with #runwithjaclyn.
If you need some help making nutrition and exercise a daily habit, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And just know that I think this about you: