This first week of my Holiday Running Challenge (a part of Runner’s World’s Holiday Running Streak) is off and, well, running! Here are my daily run reports as I attempt to run at least one mile every day from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.

Thursday: Is there any better way to start off this running challenge than with a muddy “turkey trot” on a slightly hungover Thanksgiving morning? Of course not! My younger sister Maura and my cousin Austyn joined me for this slip-and-slide-style trail run through the woods… the day after a big rainstorm. The 5K race should have been advertised as a mud run by the looks of our sneakers at the finish line. (My poor sneaks took a few spins in the wash cycle and are as good as new!) While I didn’t win any of the pie prizes, I did finish with a decent time of 25:50 and I checked 3.1 miles off for the day. And I certainly felt a little less guilty about gobbling down more than a few plates at our Thanksgiving table.

Friday: While I probably walked many miles around the malls on Black Friday (What? I’m from Jersey. It’s what we do), I kicked off my day of cardio (and savings!) with a late morning 3-mile run through my hometown. While training for the New York City Marathon, I discovered that one of the things I love most about running is rediscovering seemingly familiar spots. This particular run took me past my favorite soccer fields in town, around the bend toward my old preschool, and down one shady, hilly road. Note: I chose to go down that hill, not up it.

Saturday: A day jam-packed with Faherty Family Fun (yes, it should be trademarked) made it tough to find time for my day 3 run, so I headed out for a quick two miles first thing in the morning. It was a great warm-up for the charity dodgeball tournament I played in later that evening. Our team wasn’t the best at dodging, ducking, dipping, diving, and… dodging out on the field and I may have taken a ball to the bottom lip in an attempt to save us from another loss, but at least the after-party was a blast!

Sunday: After the long weekend and an even longer ride on the lovely NJ Turnpike, I threw on my running gear and headed out for a night run along the Hoboken waterfront. I must have been totally into my tunes at the time because I didn’t even notice I passed my buddy Caroline, who was also out for a jog. She got my attention and we headed downtown for a few miles together. Most of the time I dig a solo run, but sometimes, running is just meant to include some girl talk.

Monday: Another evening run capped off day 5 of the streak. Because really, who wants to get up early on Monday morning? Especially after a long holiday weekend! And when I went out to run along the Hudson River (with the best skyline view in the world), I had plenty of company. Because of the mild temps, there were approximately one million other runners out and about. (OK, so maybe I rounded up a bit.) I had to ask myself, will these same folks be out there pounding the (snow-covered) pavement with me all winter long? Doubtful.

Tuesday: Want to know why I love morning runs? It’s my time. My time to have some peace before the rest of the world wakes up. My time to make a mental, daily to-do list. And my time to store up those positive vibes that will hopefully last me throughout the day. I do my best thinking while I’m out running that I sometimes wish I brought a notepad or recorder with me to capture all the brilliant thoughts. Morning runs also make me feel entitled to indulge a little later in the day. It’s a win-win.

Wednesday: As I write this, I'm lacing up my sneakers for day 7! As much as I love to run, I admit it's not always something I do each day. Plus, rest and cross-training days are important too, right? So I'm patting myself on the back already for this week-long streak. To help get over the hump of the week, I'm thinking about tackling some hills. Yes, you read that right. As crazy as it sounds, I love hills (except last Friday apparently). They make me feel strong. They're the perfect excuse to listen to the Rocky theme song. And they give you a great booty.

Week 1 is complete! Join me back here next Wednesday as I move through Week 2 of the Holiday Running Challenge, including an especially sweet 15K race in Washington, D.C.— which I am totally not ready for!

How did your first week of the running streak go? What was your favorite run? Let’s hear it in the comments!

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