Last month’s Runner’s World was devoted to the topic of streaks: doing something every single day. In the running world, this generally means running at least a mile a day, though some people set their personal rules for longer distances. Runner’s World has invited people to play along and run at least a mile every day between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.
Barring big surprises, I will participate in this challenge by default. I’ve run at least a mile every day since December 24, 2016. That’s 887 days, according to Google.
It’s not as long as some people’s streaks, though it’s not short either. What fascinated me in the streak issue, though, was the profile of a young man who made a conscious choice to end his streak. He was getting married, and he decided that he would run a 5k with his wedding guests to celebrate, and then let that be it.
I like this idea of a ceremonial ending. In life, we pay a lot more attention to beginnings than how things end. When I was first starting to give a lot of speeches, a veteran speaker told me that the expectation to do a Q&A at the end of a speech often led to lukewarm endings. You could start with a bang, but then you’re ending your part by asking “So, any questions?” People slowly warm up to ask them, but then you end when you’re out of time, whether the last question was the right way to end or not. That doesn’t mean taking questions from the audience is a bad idea, but it does mean speech endings often aren’t as strong as the beginning.
Likewise, many meetings peter out at the end with people drifting out as they have to get to the next thing. Many regular gatherings just end when the usual organizer stops planning them. We don’t necessarily begin with the end in mind.
In any case, the article got me thinking about how I plan to end my running streak. I know it will end at some point, it’s just a question of when, and whether it’s a chosen ending, or one that happens because of circumstance. My current thought is that 1000 days might be a good place to ceremonially end the thing. That takes us (again, according to Google, which miraculously calculates these things) to September 20, 2019.
But I imagine I might get up on September 21, 2019 and still feel like a run would be a reasonable way to spend my time. So we shall see. When would you end this streak?
Photo: End of a half-marathon, from my pre-streak days