Honey… where are you? I need you to come home now. That was the call I got from my partner telling me her water broke 15 days early. I raced home from my run, gathered our stuff, and we went to the hospital. The next day our son Greyson was born at 5:21 in the evening, but before he was born, I snuck out early in the morning to run from the hospital. I ran two loops around the hospital for a total of nine minutes and 37 seconds. I had covered 1.03 miles. Day 2,761 of my run streak. I started my run streak on January 5th, 2014... I haven’t stopped.
My run streak did not start out of some lost fantasy football bet, nor participation in a mileage challenge or the annual Runner’s World streaks in the summer and winter. Honestly, I would not have noticed if I didn’t have a wall calendar in my apartment where I wrote mileage down. I just ran. In the fall of 2013, I had called off a wedding and was desperately trying to hold a deteriorating relationship together from across the country. I could feel her slipping away. I needed something that was mine and just mine. Running was that outlet for me. I ran to process everything, often spending entire runs thinking about what was next, how I could repair our relationship, and if our relationship was even worth saving at that point. Spoiler alert: We agreed it wasn’t worth saving, and we broke up in March of 2014. My relationship ended but running remained, and so did my streak. I fell in love with running in high school and then again in 2013. Since then, it has been an ongoing affair.
For the last 2,760 plus days, I have run a mile or more. Some days it’s just that, one mile. On other days I run ultras. To put my streak into perspective, The length of a full four-year presidential term of office usually amounts to 1,461 days (three common years of 365 days plus one leap year of 366 days). So, my run streak is longer than I have known my wife and has spanned the Denver Broncos’ last two super bowl appearances, over 14,000 miles and at least 30 pairs of shoes. The United States Running Streak Association states, “The official definition of a running streak, as adopted by the Streak Runners International, Inc., and United States Running Streak Association, Inc., is to run at least one mile (1.61 kilometers) within each calendar day. Running may occur on either the roads, a track, over hill and dale, or a treadmill”. I have always strived to fit running into my life and not my life around running. I have run in miserable conditions anywhere from -20 degrees with 7 inches of snow up to 105 degrees and 1000 percent humidity. I have run in tropical storms, in an airport hallway, and in my favorite pair of jeans with a fully loaded backpack. Runs have started as early as 2:30 in the morning and as late as 11:50 PM.
One of my most memorable runs is running my first marathon together with my best friend. We lost contact from miles 8-22 but ended up running the last 4.2 together and crossed together in possibly the most epic finish line photos I have ever been part of. I remember running my third 100 mile race this April, and it rained for 12 hours straight starting at 6 pm. I felt so tough out there moving in the dark of the night with the rain and wind wailing and just continuing to press forward into the darkness. When my wife and I were still dating, I remember I caught a cold and told her I was going for a run to keep my streak alive, and she demanded that she supervise me in case I felt faint. So, I ran two miles on the treadmill while she watched me the entire time.
My running streak has been one of the best things I have ever done for myself; however, for others, it may be a recipe for disaster, injuries, or burnout. I would tell anybody who wants to start a streak to remember it only has to be a mile to count, so treat some days like a rest day. I would also tell them to fit running around their life. Maybe that means getting up early and knocking out that run before work or doing it late at night with the dog and a headlamp just around the parking lot. Other times it means adjusting your run to fit the day as things come up. To be prepared to run almost anytime. I have a bag in my truck with running clothes, shoes, and a towel. To keep the streak alive, I eliminate as many temptations to quit as possible and be as prepared as an eagle scout for the day. My running streak motivates me. It is hard to quit on something once you have invested so much. Even when I don’t want to get out the door, I do because I have the last seven years to consider. I am at my best with everything when I feel that I am consistent. I may not be the fastest, the strongest, or the most experienced runner, but I sure am consistent in getting out the door and doing at least one mile of the thing that brings me so much joy.
In the end, my run streak is about my love of running. It always has been. I continue to chase the next best version of myself with running. Haruki Murakami said it best in his book What I Talk About When I Talk About Running when he said, “Ill be happy if running and I can grow old together.”