50 Things I Observed Running (and Walking) 5 Miles/Day x 100 Days

On August 13th, I kicked off a 10-Day Fitness Challenge. The goal was to run a minimum of five miles per day, for ten days. The act of documenting it forced me to be accountable. At the end of ten days, I just kept going. Now it’s been more than 100 days! I’ve modified the rules a bit, adding some requirements and loosening others (all of which are explained below). 

Here are fifty things that I observed along the way:

  1. The hardest part is getting out the door.
  2. More running is correlated with a better life.
  3. I am grateful to have the ability to walk and run and try not to take it for granted.
  4. Exercise endorphins are a healthy rush.
  5. Sure, your mind plays tricks on you – but more important: You can play tricks on your mind. If I make it a game, even a game I play by myself, I find it motivating.
  6. Mt. Tabor Park is a masterpiece, especially in the fall, with explosions of color in all directions.
  7. There’s a group of firefighters who work out at the reservoir stairs. One of them, who happens to be named Audrey, was one of the first responders to my face-smashing bike accident in 2014.
  8. Bugs, slugs and spiders – OH MY!Untitled design
  9. How quickly it gets dark after sunset.
  10. I kinda like pain! My workout motto is “HURT SO GOOOOOOD.
  11. Be flexible. My job as a stagehand requires lots of physical activity; I log several miles on any given workday. I’m not about to go running before or after a grueling shift. This meant I had to tweak the rules: Walking counts.
  12. Some days are harder than others. I’m glad I made it okay to walk, because sometimes what it took to walk five miles was all I could muster.
  13. Running is an ideal time to practice meditation. Once you’ve decided to give yourself that time, extend the permission to rid the clutter from your mind.
  14. During this process, our mail carrier, Thomas and I, got to know each other. One day, I was sick. Just getting out of bed was painful. I only trekked three miles that day, so I was going to start over. Thomas insisted that I should keep going forward; It’s okay to cut yourself some slack.
  15. Mom agrees with Thomas. She says, Perfection isn’t necessary.”
  16. Mt. Hood is a beauty. Anytime it’s not buried in clouds, it’s a treat.Untitled design-3
  17. The Waterfront loop is one of Portland’s best locations for playing Spot the Hottie.
  18. Two weeks in, I met someone with whom I shared powerful chemistry. I’d be running and think of them and an overwhelming WHOOSH would come over me. I haven’t felt like that in as long as I can remember.
  19. Just as high as the highest highs were the lows. During the two months that the relationship developed and fell apart running was extremely therapeutic.
  20. Wetness is no excuse! Everyone who knows Portland knows, “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.”
  21. Even in light rain, the ground stays dry enough to do push-ups and sit-ups under trees.
  22. I’m not the superstar I was when I was 13! On Day 48, I signed up for a Red Lizard cross-country race. It took place at Lents Park, where I hadn’t run since high school. Back then I was always in the top three. This time, soon as I arrived and sized up the competition, I knew I was about to get my butt kicked. At least I wasn’t last…
  23. People who leave plastic bags of dog shit littered around the park are the WORST.
  24. How to up the ante. At various points I decided to incorporate new aspects to the challenge, including a hundred push-ups, a hundred sit-ups, and some interesting balance and stability exercises. I don’t do the add-ons every day, because sometimes I’m short on time.
  25. The empty south reservoir on Mt. Tabor is prime for re-purposing as an outdoor amphitheater. What are we waiting for, Nick Fish/Portland Parks?!Untitled design
  26. Phone addition is real. As self-treatment, I’ve made a rule that I can’t look at my phone for the duration of the workout. I only bring it to track miles, and sometimes to take pictures of special Nature Moments.
  27. Attempting to capture NM is often futile and can cost you the joy of purely soaking it in. One day I ran across a snake! During those brief seconds that I was fumbling with my phone, it slithered away. Forget the camera and enjoy the rare fleeting moments.
  28. Taking breaks during a workout is okay. I love to lay on my back and stare up at the treetops and the clouds. Just don’t use a break as an excuse to check the phone.
  29. There’s never a bad time for Puppy Therapy. I will always stop for puppies. (But don’t bother trying to take their picture, they’re too wiggly.)
  30. Working out with friends elevates and enhances those relationships. It feels great to have something to do with my pals, besides eating, drinking and partying.
  31. People are so damn flaky!
  32. I used to believe that I couldn’t work out on my own, because it was so much more fun with a cohort. I figured that made it easier to hold ourselves accountable. I was wrong. You don’t get anywhere waiting around for someone else to show up.
  33. It’s okay to be wrong sometimes, as long as you’re willing to learn, and adapt accordingly.
  34. It’s also okay to fail! Once I’d completed my 10-Day Fitness Challenge episode, I sent it to the folks at Montavilla Crossfit to see if they wanted me to make a similar video about their business. They said, “That’s great, but no thanks.” SO! I redirected my focus and reached out to Paula (of Run With Paula Events) in order pitch a similar idea about PORTLANDATHON.
  35. I can still run a pretty zippy half marathon!
  36. And produce a new episode at the same time.
  37. I am capable of self-discipline.
  38. I am becoming familiar with the other regulars at Mt. Tabor Park: the person with a walking stick, the old one who does pushups on the hand rail, the person doing reservoir loops with the baby stroller, one of my former college professors doing stairs…
  39. I’m also getting to know the birds around the reservoirs. There’s a big group of crows, ducks, and a red-tailed hawk or two. About halfway through the hundred days, a group of unusual ducks moved in. They have white cheeks and love to dive. Mom says they’re a migratory species, Buffleheads.
  40. The way the crows swarm and gang up on their predators.
  41. No matter how much I work out, nothing gets my quads as sore as sprinting around the bases at kickball. Wanna play? Pickup games are Sundays, from noon-2:30PM at Colonel Summers Park.46501156_10216539686672158_6850438786619277312_n
  42. I love when I can hear the rain but not feel it.
  43. I’m getting results. Woah, abs!
  44. Sitting in a chair for several hours per day is toxic. Luckily my job keeps me moving, but the many hours I spend at my desk editing videos seems to be giving me sciatica. 
  45. Sit-ups are excellent for spinal alignment. On Day 98 I got something to unlock in my lower back that has been bound up for MONTHS.
  46. I’ve run (and walked) over 700 miles in the last 108 days!
  47. My pants are falling off.
  48. I may need to go shopping.
  49. But first! I have to get rid of a bunch of stuff in my closet.
  50. Oregon Brewery Running Series starts up again in January! Here’s my episode from their last event:

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