When I lace up my shoes and go out and pound the pavement tonight, it will mark the 365th straight day that I’ve done exactly that.
Yes, my consecutive days of running streak celebrates its first birthday today. (They grow up so fast, don’t they?)
For the last year, I have run at least one mile – Every. Single. Day.
On February 6, 2011, I stopped making excuses why I wasn’t consistently running and dedicated myself to doing it every day.
Please know that I’m not looking for praise and admiration with this blog post. I just thought 365 days was a good milestone to mention and share. After the next couple/few paragraphs, you’ll understand why I don’t deserve any special recognition. (Other words….cancel the parade.)
First of all, I didn’t invent, create and/or develop this radical way to exercise. A friend of a friend introduced this concept to me, and it simply intrigued me enough to try it out. (He didn’t invent, create and/or develop it either.)
Come to find out….“streak running” is a really big deal. I think it’s safe to say that it’s a phenomenon – complete with a governing body and a current list of “streakers.”
If you’re in the mood to give some props, reach out to Mark Covert – a 61-year-old teacher in Lancaster, Calif. He’s run at least one mile for more than 43 straight years – 15,919 days to be exact. (Probably more by the time you read this post.)
He’s not alone.
On the USRSA Active List, there are six other people grouped with
Mr. Covert in “The Legends” category, which is more than 40 straight years of running. There are 311 people on the list that have run at least a year.
I’m in the “Neophytes” division (less than five consecutive years). There are 121 other people listed in this division.
Did someone say something about a parade? I didn’t think so.
• • •
Since I started the streak, I’ve run approximately 700 miles and it’s been one hell of a journey – each mile different in its own wonderfully great way.
I’ve run in the rain;
I’ve run in the wind;
I’ve run in the stickiest of humidity;
I’ve run in the snow;
I’ve run during one of the most brutal summers EVER,
And I’ve run when the only appropriate adjective
for the weather is “perfect.”
I’ve run with my dog (Cpt. Augustus McCrae was probably with me on half of my runs);
I’ve run with my son,
And I’ve run with friends.
I’ve run in five races, including two adventure races, two 10Ks and a 5K (pics right).
Obviously, I’ve run in Fort Worth, but I’ve also run in Central, South and West Texas;
I’ve run in St. Louis (before Game 6 of the World Series),
And I’ve run in New Orleans.
I’ve run sick;
I’ve run tired;
I’ve run hurt (sprained ankle, strained calf and tight hamstrings),
And I’ve run intoxicated (fodder for another blog post).
I’ve run on the street;
I’ve run on the sidewalk;
I’ve run on gravel roads;
I’ve run on a school track;
I’ve run on a trail;
I’ve run on train tracks;
I’ve run on a treadmill,
And I’ve run back and forth in front of my house while my wife was out of town and my son was asleep inside.
I’ve run sad;
I’ve run pissed off;
And I’ve run over-the-top happy.
I’ve run with “popcorn head;”
And I’ve run with a completely clear mind.
I’ve run with confidence,
And I’ve run with doubt and concern.
I’ve run with joy,
And I’ve run with dread.
The point: I always ran. No matter what!
My favorite part of this new life choice are the questions that I get from family, friends and strangers. Obviously, the most common is “Why?”
Leading up to this anniversary blog post, I used my daily runs to fine-tune my answer to this specific question. It’s a four-part response:
• Reason No. 1: I love to run. Why do I love to run? Because I can!
There is something to be said about having the ability to lace up your shoes, walk out your front door, and just start running. There are a lot of people in this world who can’t do that – whether it’s physical or mental. I refuse to take the privilege and/or opportunity to run for granted.
• Reason No. 2: Like I mentioned before, I was done with excuses. Before I started the streak I was full of them:
– It’s too late
– I’m too tired
– It’s too hot
– It’s too cold
– I’m too drunk
I was sick and tired of lying to myself and saying: “I’ll just do it tomorrow” OR “I’ll start again next week.”
So I took it to the extreme.
“You bet your butt you’ll do it tomorrow,” I said to myself as I glared into the mirror, “and the next day and the next day and the next day.”
• Reason No. 3: I’ve never felt this good and/or looked this good
in my life.
When I started the journey, I weighed in at the heaviest I’d ever been: 182 pounds. (I blamed my 1-year-old son, Whataburger and Shiner Bock.) I wasn’t fat, but I wasn’t proud of how I was starting to look naked.
I was getting sick a lot, too. The little germ machine that I affectionately introduce to people as my son, Crash, was bringing home some quality microorganisms. My out-of-shape, excuse-making, sloppy-looking self was no match.
Since I started stringing days together – I’ve dropped 12 pounds. More importantly, I’ve kept it off – Whataburger and Shiner be damned. I’ve also been relatively healthy, too – maybe a sniffle or sore throat from time to time, but no more obscure, butt-kicking, my-kid-has-been-licking-the-playground-equipment viruses.
• Reason No. 4: I want to be a positive influence on my son.
About a year ago, I attended an American Heart Association event. After the luncheon, they encouraged us to write an inspirational note about the importance of working out to ourselves. They said they would mail us our message in a couple/few weeks.
My note simply said: “Dear Drew…get your lazy butt off the couch and start inspiring your son.”
Hopefully, his 2-year-old brain can process what it means to “go run,” or the fact that daddy goes somewhere everyday in his shorts and running shoes (whether I’m gone 8 minutes or 45 minutes).
This picture gives me hope. My wife recently sent it to me while I was at work. The shoes are great, but the fact he’s holding my running watch, too….LOVE!
My other favorite question about my streak is: “What are you going to do after you reach one year?”
For some reason, A LOT of people thought 365 days was my ultimate goal.
It wasn’t and it’s not.
So to answer that confusing question: I’m going to lace ’em up and keep going.
Please see reasons above.