"You're almost at your four-year anniversary!” a friend commented a couple of weeks ago, noting that August 15th would mark the fourth anniversary of when I started my daily running streak. “What are you going to do to celebrate?”
The short answer, of course, is that I'm going to do the same thing every streak runner does to celebrate another year: go running. Because that's how streak running works. We go running (fully dressed, at least in my case: we're streak runners; not streakers) no matter what day it is or what anniversary we may or may not be celebrating. 365 days a year. No days off.
And as I've said before when people ask me about the mindset of streak running, in my case, I don't think a lot about daily running. I don't plan my daily run with much more thought than I plan my morning cup of coffee. There's just no question in my mind that it's going to be there somewhere. Running every day, I like to say, means never having to decide whether or not it's a good day to go running.
So yes, it's four years today; and no, I don't have any particular celebration in mind. When my running streak began, my then 9-year-old son also began a running streak, and at his insistence (to which I was more than happy to comply), we celebrated every single month. At least we planned to. The first month we went out for ice cream sundaes. The second month he asked for an Almond Joy. By the third month, all he wanted to mark the date was a bag of salt-and-vinegar potato chips. Even by then, he had the same mindset I do: if you've set your heart on running every day, you just don't think of it as a big enough deal to celebrate.
Still, there have been milestones along the way. On our one-year anniversary, my sister and brother-in-law made us customized t-shirts advertising our streaking success. On our two-year anniversary, my son decided he'd had enough and left it to me to continue the streak. On my one thousandth day of consecutive running, my mother left a beautiful flowering houseplant on my kitchen table while I was out for my run.
So here I am at the four-year mark, with no particular celebration planned. Next year, at five years, according to the U.S. Running Streak Association, I'll officially transcend the ranks, from the category labeled “Neophyte” to the section of the list designated “Proficient.” Four years. One thousand, four hundred sixty-five days, as of today, without missing my daily mile-or-more. It's not so much something to be proud of as something to be grateful for. No serious illnesses or injuries. No family emergencies. None of the things that could have made it impossible for me to get out for a run in any given 24-hour period has occurred.
I'm grateful. And I'm psyched to continue the streak. Celebrate? Maybe someday. For now, I just want to go running.