11/11: The End and Beginning of Something Great

30x30.  Check.
Today marked the completion of my 30 Runs in 30 Days challenge.  I've done more laundry and worn more compression in the last month than I have in a long while.   Have I gotten faster with my running? Judging from my splits, probably not.  I'm no Slater Fletcher or Jim Walsh for sure.  Do I love running?  Umm, no.  But I have learned to enjoy it more.  Backing it up day after day and thinking creatively of new places to run has allowed me to explore more trails and check out some amazing areas that I would have never known existed if it wasn't for this challenge.  Running on the dreadmill for 30 days isn't exactly my kind of adventure, so it forced me to run in different cities and adopt some new trail buddies along the way.

Some lessons I've gained from this:

1. Accountability is key.
I'm thankful for my fellow 30x30 partner.  If it wasn't for him, I'd still be riding my bike like a maniac and swimming 2 miles a day without actually embracing each session.  And I am thankful for Instagram.  Logging daily pictures and seeking out visual inspiration for every run was key.  No one wants to be the loser who doesn't upload a picture.  That would be an epic FAIL.  Knowing that someone was equally invested in this journey helped me stay motivated and consistent.

Coastal Trail run near Half Moon Bay.
Solo discovery of new trails at Redwood Regional before the rain...

2.  It gets easier with time.
The running?  Sadly, no, my friends.  I'm referring to the schedule adjustments.  The first week was a challenge, trying to coordinate when I'd fit the 30 minute run into my day.  It was dark before work.  There were happy hours after work.  Hmmm.  What to do, what to do.  Some days the weatherman predicted rain.  After a week I started to find my rhythm.  I also found my headlamp.  And my winter compression running tights.  

Learning to love mornings again.

3.  Hard things are more bearable with good company.
Running hills alone are really really crappy.  Running hills with a buddy are just...crappy.  Having someone else hear your labored breathing is well, just a reminder that you're alive and well, still breathing.

Misty Blair Witch runs = less creepy with company
Don't drink and drive.  Drink and ride.
Good friends drink with you.  And pack clothes to run with you afterwards to support your 30x30.

Fitting in the run after 50 miles of biking with 14 wineries is more fun with buzzed buddies.
Yes, this did happen in the time span of a single run.  Hello, Daylight Savings.  Hello, headlamp.  Thankful for PIC during this run (sorry, I'll never do this to you again).

4.  If you care about your friends, you will allow slight modifications to ensure their success.
In the beginning, there were hard rules.  As in, "If I break my 30 days, I will buy you a Garmin 910XT."  Yes.  I did say that.  But let's just say that there were days that I felt like my left heel was more bruised than Rihanna's face after a C.B. attack.  I had to listen to my body and was graciously granted an active recovery day.  No questions asked.  And soon again, I was back in the game, feeling good, still with $450 in my hot little pocket.  

A make-shift active recovery day of yoga.

Outside of running, for me, 11/11 is a pretty symbolic day.  I was once told that 11/11 symbolized the union of twin souls.  Whether that is true or not, I've yet to discover.  Just like this 30x30 challenge, this year has been a delicate balance between my heart and legs.  Meaning that some days were definitely easier than others, but I still managed to try my very best to capture the beauty of each day.  Like the 30x30, it took awhile to get used to, but with the support of friends and family, I made it through this year.

And I've learned that no adventure, in running or in life, should ever be contained in a mere 30 days, or yet experienced alone.

So, what's next? Time has yet to tell.  But for now, PIC and I are registered for the Coyote Trails 1/2 marathon in December as preparation for something epic in the future...