Lately I have been wondering how different my life would be if I had discovered running earlier in life. I started running in my late 20’s – ten years ago, in 2013. There is no way to know I suppose. What I do know now is that running has the power to change many things. On days when I feel stressed or down, a run can help me relax or fill my brain with endorphins to improve my mood. On most days, going for a run helps me hit the reset button. Similarly, missing a run has not-so-great consequences; perhaps that is one reason why I streak. Wait! I don’t mean streaking as in running down the street naked! I am a streaker as defined by Runner’s World Magazine, the Streak Runners International, Inc. and the United States Running Streak Association, Inc. “The official definition of a running streak, as adopted by the Streak Runners International, Inc., and United States Running Streak Association, Inc., is to run at least one mile (1.61 kilometers) within each calendar day. Running may occur on either the roads, a track, over hill and dale, or on a treadmill.”
With that being said, I have come to embrace an all-or-nothing mentality when it comes to running. If I don’t do it every day, I may come up with an excuse to ‘put it off until tomorrow’. As a result, streaking or running at least two miles each calendar day is the way to go (for me).
I was recently presented with the prospect of running a ‘bucket list race’ – the Big Sur International Marathon. Over the years, I have heard that this ‘race is a must’ given its stunning views. A fellow runner could no longer run the race and offered to transfer the registration – quite a generous offer given the popularity and cost of the race. The timing was not ‘ideal’ due to the numerous obligations on my plate and the limited time to ‘train’ (less than eight weeks). After careful consideration and debating the idea for nearly 12 hours, I decided to jump on the opportunity. As luck would have it, no one had claimed the race entry when I inquired – I took that as a sign from the universe. So, with less than two months until race day, I started an eight-week marathon training plan. Spoiler alert: it is as demanding as it sounds.
With my busy schedule, race the day was here before I knew it! I am happy to report that the views were in fact stunning. However, I was not expecting the course to be as challenging as it was – Oops! I didn’t read the part about the +2,182 feet of gain and -2,528 feet of loss. And the wind – the wind was relentless starting at mile 6. I may be exaggerating, but this might have been the windiest run in my ten years of running. (I had to chase my favorite RRC hat five times after the wind blew it off my head.) Perhaps everything was compounded – the wind, the hills, and the marathon distance. At the end of the day, I am glad I was able to run Big Sur. Although it may seem like it was rushed or overly ambitious – I think I needed it. I needed to run another marathon to refocus and regain confidence in myself. I am a different person after finishing the Big Sur International Marathon and I am once again reassured that running does change everything (for the better).