Well, it’s all over. I have run at least one mile every single day from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day! That’s 39 days straight. And let me tell you, it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be! While I was trucking through this Holiday Running Challenge (a part of Runner’s World’s Holiday Running Streak), I learned a ton of things along the way— other than how much I love a good rest day in a normal training schedule.

Thursday: On certain days, just finding enough time for even one mile was tough. But it became easier when I started to make my daily run an appointment on my to-do list, with a scheduled time and location. On really busy days, I also learned to use my run for commuting and errands— a much speedier way to get things done, for sure! I can’t tell you how many runs I did with shopping bags in hand (and even a crumb cake to deliver to my grandmother on Christmas Day). Today was no different. I had a few errands to do around town that I scattered through a 2-mile run, which ended at the supermarket. And I’m pretty sure carrying all those packages home counts for some strength training too, right?

Friday: As I said at the beginning of this challenge, I hate, hate, hate the treadmill. I get bored on there and I do genuinely like running in the cold. But in the past few weeks, I’ve learned to at least respect it (and have gone great lengths to try to make it more “fun"). And sometimes, you just can’t beat the convenience. Today was a rest day in my training schedule for the upcoming Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Half Marathon, so I just ran a light 1.5 miles. I saved the laundry of bundling up to brave the cold, and my shorts and a tank top and I headed to the ‘mill.

Saturday: I wish I could have incorporated some more long runs into this challenge, but while I was streaking, I found that in order to stay healthy and fatigue-free, I would need to keep most of these runs short and easy. Although it’s not “long” by marathon standards, I went out for five miles today, pretty much the most I’ve done since that awful 15K back at the beginning of the month. Joined by my boy toy Jay (who is also training for the half marathon… and hoping to beat me!), we ran along the waterfront in Hoboken and Weehawken, through some unexpected rain, but best of all, we ran in shorts! On December 31! It felt great. I’ve missed running “long.”

Sunday: Another thing I learned over the course of this challenge is how much I enjoy working out with friends. Not only does it keep me more motivated and accountable, it’s the best way to catch up. So special thanks to some of my running buddies in the past few weeks— Maura, Austyn, Caroline, Drew, Aubrey, Caitlin, Mike, Jay, and all my little elves from the Christmas weekend runs! Today, the last and final day of the streak, was no exception. I have the best friends ever. And they all promised to run with me on New Year’s Day. That was, until we all woke up with epic hangovers from our rager the night before. My pal Sam and I were the only ones brave (and conscious) enough to go for an evening run. (I wasn’t much of a functioning human being before 5 pm.) But that extra slow 2-mile loop along the waterfront was just the remedy we needed to cure our hangovers and finally mark this Holiday Running Challenge as COMPLETE!

So there we have it! According to my calculations, I logged approximately 112.5 total miles, an average of about three miles a day since Thanksgiving. Thanks for following along with this Holiday Running Challenge! I hope I inspired you to challenge yourself with your own fitness goals in 2012! As for me, I’m looking forward to tackling this half marathon in March… and who knows, I might just be eyeing another full 26.2 this fall.

And who am I kidding? I’m totally going for a run tomorrow, too. 40 days straight sounds so much better than 39, no?

What are your running goals for 2012? Share them in the comments below!

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