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Anyone Else Doing a Streak?

By: Julia Neily

“Are you looking for the main entrance?” the man asked. 

“No, I’m just running,” I said. 

It was about 7:30 p.m. and I was running on the sidewalk around the Salem Hospital.  I was wearing khakis, a T-shirt, and luckily, I had worn sneakers that morning.  

It was supposed to be a simple trip to the podiatrist for my mom.  It turned into a trip to the emergency room for a possible stroke. This was day 250 in my running streak; at least one mile a day outside.  After the doctor decided to admit my mom for observation and determined it was a transient ischemic attack (TIA) and not a stroke I decided to drive back to New Hampshire since my sister was with my mom.  

I walked out of the hospital; ah I can finally go home.  The sun was setting, it had been a long day.  I’m so glad I can go home finally. Oh no I haven’t done my daily run.  Well, this is certainly a valid reason.  Screw it, it’s 7:30 pm I want to get in the car, eat something and go home.  I left my house at 7:00 a.m. that morning and had been going since then.  Everyone would understand me breaking my streak, I mean my mom was in the hospital.  

On my first streak I got up to 585 days, then sprained my ankle and missed a few days.  I started again and got to about 300 days and I went to New York City with my daughter for a weekend. We stayed in a hotel in graffiti laden part of New York; I didn’t want to run outside alone and I didn’t want to leave my 15-year-old Madison alone in the hotel. Maybe too cautious but not worth it. So, I started again, now I was up to 250 days.   

During the podiatry appointment the doctor and I chatted. He was a runner too. He told me about Dan Shaughnessy, who writes for the Boston Globe. He has a forty-year streak of one mile a day. But he missed a few days here and there, once for gall bladder surgery and one day he just forgot. Maybe I’m too strict on my rules, but I worry if I gave myself any wiggle room it would open the door to days off.  Maybe I should be like Dan and cut myself a break.  

But then again, it was only one mile, maybe 15 minutes. I might feel better.  I didn’t have to go fast.   I could go slowly.  I didn’t even have to change my clothes. So, I ran that mile, and it didn’t take long, and I felt better.   

This reminds me that I run for me and it makes me feel better. It burns off my stress and I sleep more soundly. When I got in the car to drive home, I was grateful for my run.  

Is anyone else doing a streak? What are your rules? What do you do on the hard days?  I’d love to hear, shoot me an email!

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