It was a cold and snowy Thanksgiving morning in rural Quebec, where I spent my holiday. The night before, a snowstorm blanketed the farmland around me, and a haze of flurries continued to drift down. It was white as far as the eye could see from the hilltop where I was perched. But I had to do it. I had to go for a run.
I’d pledged to run at least a mile a day from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day as part of the Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak. A little Canadian snow wasn’t going to stop me. Now two weeks in, my streak is still going strong.
I can’t believe I’ve made it this far. This streak represents the most days I’ve ever run consecutively, my previous record being a measly—and more normal—six days in a row. It’s been a smooth ride for the most part, but there have been a few close calls. Like the night I ran home from dinner—at 10 p.m. and in street clothes with steak and creamed spinach jiggling in my stomach—because I had completely forgotten to run earlier in the day. Whoops! But I was determined to keep the streak alive, so I did what must be done.
I spent the first four days of the streak in Canada, which proved to be a rude awakening to winter running, before heading back to the tropics of New York City, where 60 degree December days awaited me. It’s made keeping the streak much easier, as I usually knock out my daily mileage with my dog during her afternoon walk. We run 1 mile at the least—and I’ll admit there have probably been a few too many 1 to 2-milers—and up to 3 miles when we’re both feeling good.
I totaled 16.15 miles in Week 1 and 15 miles in Week 2. My average run length is 2.25 miles, which is a 20 to 25 minute run for me, depending on whether I’m sweating or sauntering—and I’ve done a bit of both. My shortest run is exactly 1 mile and my longest exactly 5 miles. If I can hang between 15-20 miles a week, I’ll have fulfilled my original goal: maintain a nice base through winter, while off setting my holiday sweet tooth.
So far so good. The holiday running streak hasn’t been a cakewalk—mmm, cake—but it hasn’t been too hard either. And despite maintaining a less than model diet, I haven’t gained any weight. That’s a near miracle after a visit to Quebec where poutine—an unholy concoction of crispy french fries and cheese curds slathered with gravy and, occassionally, smoked meat—beckons.
As I enter Week 3, I want to nudge my mileage toward the 20-mile end of my weekly goal range, and steer clear of the holiday feeding frenzy. We’ll see how that goes.
Karla Bruning is an award-winning journalist and running nerd. She has completed four marathons, trains with the New York Harriers and is a member of New York Road Runners. Follow Karla’s “Notes From a Running Nerd” at RunKarlaRun.com, Facebook and Twitter@KBruning.