After my two races back in November I stopped running as much as I had been while training. I was probably running about 12-15 miles a week with my dog, Baxter, and as much as I loved dedicating all my run time with him, I felt like I needed to get back into the longer miles. But I needed a motivator to get me there. One morning while walking Baxter I decided I was going to start a run challenge with my co-workers who I knew ran or wanted to get into running. I didn’t know who, if anyone would be interested in doing it, but I was excited for the possible challenge and to get back into running longer distances at my own pace. The challenge would be as simple as this: see who can run the most mileage (cumulative for the entire month) for the month of March. Everyone puts in $10 and the winner of the challenge will get the pot. Second place winner will get their $10 back.
When I got to work that morning I sent an email to 11 people telling them my idea and seeing if anyone was interested. Immediately responses were coming back and people were eager to join! In the end, nine people signed up! I created an excel document and uploaded it to Google Docs so everyone could log their daily miles and everyone could see each other's miles and I think it made for a fun little competition.
Before long, I was running distances I hadn’t run since this past October and I was feeling great! I am a morning runner, for sure, and with the time change it’s been very dark when I get up and run. I will say there have been mornings when I’ve been a little apprehensive, and sure there have been times when my shadow might scare me because I think someone is sneaking up on me, but I can’t let it discourage me from lacing up and going. I try to run in populated areas where I know cars will be on the road and I try to stay in somewhat safe neighborhoods. I don’t have my music on very loud so I can hear my surroundings. A friend of mine also bought me a small pepper spray to carry.
I highly recommend it for those who like to run in the dark sky hours. Its better to be safe than sorry and its no big deal to carry along with me.
I don’t really care if I win or lose this challenge, I’m just really happy people are into it and it’s challenging myself to get back out there even though I have no races in the near future. I have definitely challenged the longer miles that I otherwise wouldn’t be running if it weren’t for this. So, if you want to get back into running but need a little motivation, ask around to friends or co-workers and start a run challenge!
Marci is a contributor to The Aloha Files. She is Amy's long-distance training partner and motivator (aka - the one girl who doesn't take any excuse from Amy to NOT run).