Monday, February 28, 2011

Two Years of Streaking

No...not that kind of streaking (running related, but NSFW).

I can't believe I've been able to keep this up this long.

From the website: The official definition of a running streak, as adopted by the United States Running Streak Association, Inc., is to run at least one continuous mile within each calendar day under one's own body power (without the utilization of any type of health or mechanical aid other than prosthetic devices). Running under one's own body power can occur either on the roads, a track, over hill and dale, or on a treadmill. Running cannot occur through the use of canes, crutches, or banisters, or reliance on pools or aquatic devices to create artificial buoyancy.

Today was my 731st consecutive day of running at least one mile each day as part of the United States Running Streak Association. I started on February 28th, 2009. That was the day after the surgeon told me I could run again after having had a labrum repair on my right shoulder. Christy found the organization and actually started before I did (today was her 785th day). It's been one of the best things to keep me motivated to run.

So...let's recap on the past 731 days of running. Including my run today, I ran 2,285.4 miles, spent 319 hours, 39 minutes, and 32 seconds running or racing, finished 33 races (8 of them half marathons), spent $569.77 on running shoes, and who knows how much on apparel.

As I look at the active running streak list, I see that there are 257 people on it. Given that this is a fairly talked about national organization that has been around since 2000, you can see that there aren't a great deal of people who do this sort of thing. The last streaker on the list, Ken Johnson, 69, has a currently active streak as well as retired ones. He also happens to be in my local running club, the Lufkin Area Pacesetters.

If you ask medical professionals, they will argue about how terrible it is for your joints and muscles and how running all those miles every single day can't be good for you. To some extent, the all encompassing "they" are probably right. But I think it's also safe to say that "they" don't really have a clue what they're talking about when it comes to why we do it.'s simple to see that running all these continuos miles can make you more prone to twists, sprains, bumps, bruises, and pain. But is that really so bad? I think that the benefits of sticking to this lifestyle change far outweigh the associated risks. I'd venture to say that no one, not even the folks who haven't missed a day since 1968 were taught as children to run everyday. At some point, we all found a reason to start our streak whether it was a way to stick to an active lifestyle, training for an event, or a conquering a personal challenge. Whatever the reason, and despite the risks, pain, and naysayers, we love it, and we keep going. Every. Single. Day. No. Matter. What.

Dean Karnazes said in his book Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner, "As a running buddy once said to me: Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW!! What a ride!'"

Is anyone else a streak runner? Why do you do it? What have the skeptics told you? If you're not a streak runner, why aren't you?


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