Why do people start a run streak? For many it starts with a social media challenge. That’s how it started for me. Runner’s World had a holiday runstreak that was going to run from Thanksgiving through the New Year. I figured what the hell, it couldn’t hurt to try, right? I mean, if I made it the entire streak great! If not I gave it my best shot. It was all good.
I met a lot of people also taking part in the challenge at that time. A group of us decided to carry on. A Facebook group was created and the runstreak continued to Valentine’s Day. Then Saint Patrick’s Day. Then May Day. Then it just took off from there. It was fun and exciting and challenging. Just how far could I go? How long could this streak last? It was, after all, started rather inadvertently. I was curious to see so I just kept running.
I received the opportunity to be a brand ambassador for a few different groups during my streak. It was a wonderful experience sharing my story and encouraging others in their own journey. I also started racing again. It started with a virtual 5k I found with a tiger on the medal…how could I not enter that?!? Again, it became an exciting challenge to see just how far and fast I could go. In the end I estimate I ran about 115 races in total including 28 half marathons. I traveled and ran and had a great time.
My streak reached 100 days, 500 days, 1,000 days. I couldn’t believe that before all this started I was coming back from an injury. I ran in every type of weather imaginable. Races from 5k to 25k, during illness, early morning, late at night, after 15 hour work shifts. It was amazing fun.
At some point, though, it wasn’t as fun as it once was. I had incredibly low points where it took everything I had to run that one mile to keep my streak going. I saw people obsess over things like “Does walking during part of your mile disqualify you from your streak?” (The answer from the group where this was posted…not the original group of streakers I started out with, but another…was an overwhelming yes.) or “Should I base my run on my time zone or the one I’m currently in?”, or “If I start my run before midnight but finish after midnight does it count?” It started occurring to me more and more that maybe this kind of rigid streaking wasn’t what I came to enjoy. I still ran my streak my way, but the whole experience with this group of hardcore streakers left a foul taste in my mouth. This is when I started debating letting my streak go.
In the end I kept running. Up to today. I’ve enjoyed my streak, it’s been a great experience, but I think it’s time to move on to the next. I know I said I was going to wait until the end of the month, but my hip is still dodgy and in all honesty, I don’t think running a mile for the sake of adding a few more days is really what I want. So 1,700 days it is. In the end I am getting what I want. What is that? Well, I’m ending on a nice round number. My type-A personality loves that, but even more importantly I’m ending it on my terms. I remember a podcast where a streaker was being interviewed and when asked when their streak would end, their reply was they weren’t sure when just that they wanted it to be on their terms.
I think that’s the best way. Not to have to give up because of injury or illness or unforeseen circumstances, but to say, “I did good. I’m happy and I’m done.” That’s how I’m ending my streak. I’m happy, no I’m more than happy with myself. With my accomplishments. With all I’ve been able to do. I’m satisfied and ready to let it go. I’m at peace with it.
What now? I’m not quite sure. I’d like to get a gym membership. I’d like to get my bike tuned up. I’m definitely not giving up running…I do have a 50 half marathons before I turn 50 goal after all, and just because I’m not running every day doesn’t mean I’m not going after that goal. Actually, I plan to crush that one 😉 I’m ready to try some new things. I’m ready to enjoy some extra time with my family doing leisure time stuff. I’m ready to just walk with my hubby and enjoy it without thinking, “Oh, I still need to get a run in today.”
To all the streakers our there, do your thing. As long as that fire burns you keep going. But don’t be afraid to let it go either. Life has so much to offer that if and when that flame goes out there are millions of other possibilities to keep your soul happy. I guess in the end my big though is this…You only get one go round on this planet, as long as you’re not hurting anyone, do what makes you happy. And if anything doesn’t spark that joy in your soul anymore, find what does. Don’t be afraid to change, and grow, and live happy.
All that said I’m honestly looking forward to not running tomorrow. I think I’ll go for a nice walk, maybe do some yoga or Pilates, or maybe I’ll just take some time to sit and breathe. I know when I get out for that next run it will be all the more sweet…and who knows, maybe I’ll try a streak again someday!