One hashtag. 39 days. 80 miles.

Patience is power.

Like most of my generation, I crave instant gratification. Thanks to technology, our world has become so accustomed to making things happen with the tap of a button. Unfortunately, there are some things in life that even the most advanced smartphone or robot can’t grant immediately, like finding the perfect job or getting over a breakup.

For me, it’s weight loss.

I can’t count how many times I’ve given up on trying to change the number on the scale. I tried eliminating certain foods, going to different fitness classes, tracking what I ate, but I never had the patience to stick with those changes long enough to see the results I wanted.

80.1 miles (that’s roughly three marathons), nearly 14.5 hours and 10,070 calories later, that all changed.

Challenge accepted

This past Thanksgiving, I was scrolling through Twitter when I saw an article about the RW Run Streak by the magazine Runner’s World. The streak challenges participants to run at least one mile every day from Thanksgiving until New Years—39 consecutive days. I didn’t have to join anything, register or pay a penny to do it. By using the hashtag #RWRunStreak, I could keep myself accountable and harness motivation and support from the hundreds of other people doing it too. I ran several mornings a week when I was in New York City this past summer, so I was relatively comfortable taking on the challenge. Still—39 days seemed astronomical. And in the winter?!

So later that day, I laced up my tennis shoes, strapped on my iPhone armband and set out to conquer this monster.

So this is going to take getting used to…

I’m not going to lie—it was a pain in the butt for the first couple of weeks. But I had already committed by tweeting about it, and giving up was not an option. To keep myself focused and motivated, I used the Runmeter app to track my time, distance and calories and recorded the stats on a calendar in my bedroom. By doing that, my progress became my inspiration. After about 15 days, running became ingrained in my daily routine to the point where I looked forward to it. You know that “runner’s high” thing people talk about? Yeah, it’s real—and it’s the best.

December 2016 calendar with running statistics written down
Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I prefer writing down my stats like this

Can’t stop, won’t stop

The other obstacles I faced were dealing with inconvenient circumstances and horrible weather conditions. Icy sidewalks and roads, windburn on my face, you name it, I experienced it. I don’t have a gym membership at home, so it was me against Mother Nature. There were a couple of days when it was really bad outside, so I had to suck up the $8 day pass at the rec center in order to hop on a treadmill.

On the other hand, sometimes I had to make it work at super inconvenient times. For example, I met up with friends to study during finals week and would leave them for 15 minutes to go for a run around campus. On New Years Eve, I had 45 minutes to run, shower and get ready for a surprise party. Through it all, I didn’t let anyone or anything extinguish the fire within me.

Mama, I made it!

For the first time in my life, I finished what I started. And I want to keep going. 39 days later, I’m just now starting to see results and notice a change in my body. But it’s not all physical. I feel mentally stronger and more confident. I’ll probably never reach my true dream body (let’s be realistic here), and that’s fine by me. The biggest takeaway from this experience is that the old phrase rings true: good things do come to those who wait.

So if you’re making a resolution in 2017, work hard, be realistic about your goal and give it time. I know how impossible it is to be patient, but you can do it! If you need someone to count on for support, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Happy New Year, and thanks for reading!

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