Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Running Streak Anniversary #6

The fact that my running streak anniversary was coming up occurred to me only by chance last week. I walked into the office where I work part-time and two co-workers started laughing, confessing they had just been talking about me. “I was telling Halee about your streak running,” Jenn said. “Yes, and I’ve never heard of any such thing!” Halee exclaimed. “You’ve been doing this for how long?”

“I just passed my five-year anniversary," I said automatically, just as I’ve been saying for most of the past year. “Actually,” I continued, as I gave it a little bit more thought, “now that it’s August, I must be at almost six years. Oh wait, my streak anniversary is tomorrow. August 15.”

After completing my first couple of years of streak running, I came to think of it much the same way I think of my wedding anniversary: once you decide you're in it for the long haul, the actual number of years doesn't seem to matter that much. There's something almost binary about these anniversaries: whether marriage or streak running, either you're hanging in there with your commitment or you've decided not to -- a simple up or down vote -- and so it doesn't seem to make too much difference whether it's three years or five or ten.

That day, I posted my sentiments on the Facebook page devoted to streak running and discovered that other long-time runners feel the same way. "I recently celebrated my 10-year Streakiversary, and my 31st wedding anniversary is next month," responded another streak runner. "I must admit I notice my milestones of days (500 ... 1,000 ... 2,500 ... etc. ) for the Streak, but not for marriage  -- just years."

I thought about how strange it would be if we kept track of our marriages in days rather than years. And then I thought about how there’s really no equivalent in marriage to the daily posting of miles, no regular metric to distinguish one day from the next.

Ultimately, I recognize that the parallels only go so far. I'm of the belief that only death could end my marriage, and that’s not a possibility I especially want to contemplate; my running streak is precious but not nearly that sacred, and it really isn't so difficult for me to face the reality that something will eventually end my streak, likely something less drastic than death. Some kind of medical emergency, is what I usually assume, but it could be something as mundane as travel delays or another logistical snafu of some kind.

In any case, each of the two – the running streak and the marriage – are moving along through the years. The first just passed the six-year mark; almost without my noticing; the second hit 21 years last spring, and we took the kids out for a celebratory dinner, as we usually do. (Some of our friends think it’s funny that we take our kids out to dinner on our anniversary, but as I see it, they are the most tangible result of the marriage, so why not include them in the celebration?) I’m not sure what the equivalent would be for a streak anniversary: I suppose I could take my running shoes out to dinner, but the conversation would probably be less interesting than with the kids. (On the other hand, the shoes never argue about who gets to sit where on the ride home.)

It feels good to be past the six-year mark for streak running, but it doesn’t really change anything. The next day I went running again, just as the morning after my wedding anniversary, I woke up once again next to my husband. I’m happy to have both milestones, but neither one inspires a lot of quantifying on my part. Running and marriage: both require tenacity, both inspire joy. I’m in it for the long haul, whatever that might turn out to mean.

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