1,000 Days of Running: Streaking Out of the Spotlight

Today marks a significant day in my consecutive days of running streak. For the last 1,000 straight days, I’ve laced up my shoes and hit the pavement for at least one mile.

Yay, me! (I guess.)

I knew I had to write a blog post about this milestone, but I was at a loss for a specific angle. I had already dedicated several posts to this crazy endeavor.

At my 1-year anniversary, I wrote about the first 365 days and why I started running every day. I also shared stories about people who I inspired to start a running streak, and I provided tips for anyone who wanted to get it on and start a streak of their own.

At the 2-year mark. I wrote about my motivation for this initiative.

Over the last 1,000 days, I’ve also written about keeping my streak alive during a lightening storm and battling the naysayers. In one blog post, I even felt compelled to answer a very popular question: “What if you had to miss a day?”

When it came to this post, though, I was stumped. I had no clue what to write regarding No. 1,000.

I assume the reason I had writer’s block revolved around the fact that running everyday has become so second nature for me. It’s become cemented into my daily thread, and it’s not a big deal anymore. Honestly, the only time I’m completely aware of the streak is when I have something out-of-the ordinary on my To Do List, and I’m forced to shuffle things around and/or plan ahead.

Otherwise, it’s similar to brushing my teeth or eating lunch. I just do it.

I guess another way of putting it (in double-negative fashion):

Not running is NOT an option.

People ask about it from time to time, but I usually don’t know how many days in a row that I’ve run. I just know I haven’t missed a day since Feb. 6, 2011. I simply thank them for asking and say, “Still going!”

That’s why I was forced to use my runs over the last week to formulate this narrative.

“What the heck do I write about,” I’d whisper to myself as the pavement crunched beneath my feet.

After a lot of brainstorming, I decided to step out of the spotlight and share a couple truly inspiring stories about running streaks.

Please know that I’m not discounting what I’ve accomplished over the last 1,000 days, BUT wait until you hear these tales. They inspire me to keep going!

– – –

Surgery, Doctor Can’t Stop 35-Year Streak

The fact that Bill Anderson had run at least a mile for 35 straight years was impressive, but when he laced up his shoes and ran back and forth in a hospital courtyard, he became legendary.

Anderson was checked into the hospital earlier that particular day and had emergency surgery. Doctors told him that his streak would have to come to an end.

Yeah, right!

Anderson’s family measured off the courtyard and 30 laps later, Bill Anderson’s streak continued.

This wasn’t the first time Anderson’s streak was put in jeopardy by medical emergency.

“I’ve had prostate cancer with treatments twice. I have had bladder surgery and throat surgery,” said Anderson, who ironically lives in Fort Worth. His running streak didn’t miss a beat.

WOW!

Anderson is the poster boy for “no excuses,” and it’s runners like him that motivate me to keep going.

– – –

Friend Going the Distance with His Streak

Texas Independence Relay

I’m proud to say that I personally know Matt Zmolek.

We met each other during the Texas Independence Relay, which is a 200-mile relay race from Gonzalez, Texas, to the San Jacinto Monument outside of Houston. Matt and I were teammates in 2011.

I knew as we were running the 40-leg race that Matt was a running stud. I was just happy to be on a team with such an awesome runner. He was strong. He was fast. He was inspiring.

After the relay, we became Facebook friends, and I’ve kept up with Matt’s running adventures.

Matt after the 2013 100-mile Cactus Rose

Matt after the 2013 100-mile Cactus Rose

He is now a seasoned ultra-marathoner, competing annually in the Cactus Rose, a 100-mile race outside of San Antonio, and the Rocky Raccoon 100 in Huntsville.

These races are no joke.

The Cactus Rose is branded as “A nasty rugged trail run.” On its web site it states: “No Whiners, Wimps, or Wusses…Bonus Points for Blood, Cuts, Scrapes & Puke.”

Matt recently completed this year’s 100-mile Cactus Rose in 23 hours and 48 minutes.

WOW!

That’s only part of the reason why I’m including Matt in this post, though. Matt is ALSO a streak runner.

I received a Facebook message from him back in September. He asked me about my streak and told me he was on Day No. 539. He also said that he had just broken the 5,000-mile barrier.

My response: “I’m not wrecking the mileage like you! That’s awesome, Matt. Seriously impressive. Keep it going!”

To put Matt’s accomplishment into perspective, I did some quick math and figured that I’ve probably only run about 2,500 miles during my 1,000 days, averaging 2.5 miles a day. Matt was averaging a little more than 9 miles a day.

Get. It. On.

Still…only part of the story, though.

After Matt finished the Cactus Rose on Oct. 27 – 100 miles in under 24 hours – he laced ‘em up and ran 2.75 miles on Oct. 28 with his wife.

His streak is STILL going! I confirmed with Matt right before hitting publish on this post.

“Of course I’m still going,” he wrote. “I’m at 584 days and 5,517 miles.”

AWESOME!

Confession: Matt helps keep ME going.

– – –

I also wanted to use this blog post to quickly thank the person who inspired me to start this craziness.

Glen Patton introduced me to streak running. We have a mutual friend, and Glen casually mentioned his streak when we were helping our friend move.

I haven’t stopped running since.

I’m hoping our mutual friend forwards this blog post to Glen – because he’s responsible for changing my life.

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