25 days, 157.3 miles & 4714ft of elevation later…

Exhaustion is difficult. Real exhaustion. Where your body is basically dead on it’s feet. That was day 15. Running through that is really difficult. That only happened a few times though. That picture above? That’s not exhaustion. That’s just a hangover (day 24).

Today is day 25 of Advent Running. What’s that you might say?

The aim is to run for a minimum of 30 minutes a day, each day, between the 1st and the 25th of December. After that you can carry on for the rest of the month, or take a break with the knowledge that you’ll be able to start the New Year in fighting form and ready to smash out some new PBs.

Ah. A streak. My longest streak up until this point was 20 runs which was interupted mostly by alcohol. So if I was going to take this seriously I’d have to manage my hangovers and also not get injured. Doable, I thought — which is reason enough for me.

And so I began.

What came as a surprise is just how time poor I was. I maybe average six/seven hours sleep a night. And generally work in between the hours of nine and six. On top of that… I do attempt to have a social life, even though some of my friends would beg to differ right about now.

20h28m is the total amount of time I spent running. That excludes any moments to take a picture or get unreasonably excited about a bunch of white dogs and I don’t even like dogs that much. But I digress, it was a lot of time on the road. At the start I generally thought it was easy. Get up a bit earlier, run, shower, head into work. But sometimes I got up that little bit too late and there were some hairy moments where I was having to wonder just how agile agile working could be.

In those moments I started to take kit to work. I realised that I could see a different part of London than I usually run and that definitely helped. I was finding new routes in and around Camden, too. Just where I thought things were going to get too difficult - or worse, too boring I was finding new ways to keep things fresh. Heck, I even volunteered to back mark one of the running groups I run with.

I explored hills I haven’t ran on my own before. I ran multiple hills in one run just to see if I could fit them all in. I started randomly taking turns that I’ve never taken before just to see what was around the corner. I was up before the sun and caught a few brilliant sunrises.

Habit forming whilst others are habit breaking. That’s what it was to me.

I already run a fair amount, but this really solidified early starts, feeling like I had more energy… and more importantly, the capacity to really push the limit of how many mince pies one can eat over the Christmas period. 27 is the average. I think I might just be over that…

So as this morning, on Christmas Day, when I looked at my watch and I was 30 minutes in… and looked up again and there was a barrier in front of me with a stop sign. I smiled to myself. I couldn’t stop. I was 30 minutes from home. And so I ran.

Finally, shout out to Claudia & James for putting this together. And every single person in that little community on Facebook. Honestly my feed getting taken over by running stories and photos was just the push I needed to get out of bed on a few of those days. Couldn’t have done it without you guys. Same time next year, right?

ps: find me on Strava, Instagram and the original source of this post… Tumblr. Lots more pictures of the month over there.

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