I REACHED A MILESTONE IN RUNNING last month that I didn’t find out about until today – just after I achieved a second one.
I wasn’t trying for either; they just happened in the course of things. I guess it’s true – If you just keep going, eventually you will get somewhere. Even if you don’t know it.
Today I logged onto Athlinks, as I do about once per year, to make sure my races from 2016 were properly accounted for. There were a few I needed to claim, so I took care of those. And when I was done, my main page looked like this:
How about that? When I tramped across the snow-covered finish line last month at Yankee Springs, I completed my hundredth running event. Beginning with the Holiday Hustle in 2008, I’ve crossed the finish line of an official race one hundred times, ranging from 5K to 100 miles and everything in between. And that first race seemed to take place just yesterday. Where the heck did those years in between go?
To fend off the hordes of reporters who I’m sure would pester me otherwise, I’ll respond to their expected question here:
“Jeff! How do you FEEL about completing ONE HUNDRED races?”
Actually, I don’t feel much at all. Which is likely due to being wiped out from my gym workout and run today. It was never a goal of mine to complete that number of races – it just happened.
In fact, had you asked me ten years ago if I thought I would accomplish something like this, I’ve had said, “A hundred? I haven’t even done one yet! And who says I want to run races, anyway?”
And yet here I am with three 2017 races already completed and many more on my calendar, including my first Boston Marathon and another 100-miler in June. You really can’t make this stuff up.
And thanks to the training necessary to run those races, today I reached another milestone. When I stepped off the treadmill at Body Specs after a cooldown 5K, it marked the first time ever I’ve run for ten consecutive days. That may sound funny coming from an ultrarunner, but it’s true! The closest I’ve come before was several years ago, when to reach a yearly mileage goal I ran 9 days out of 10 at the end of December.
I began this streak to step up my weekly distance. Last year I got through my spring marathons and ultras, but had some foot issues. As this year’s 100-miler will be on pavement, it’s especially important I toughen them up. And the best way to do that is to run more miles.
I’m being careful, making most runs easy and relatively short, and so far my legs are feeling fine. And I have no problem stopping if something doesn’t feel right. It’s a fun streak to mention, but it’s by no means a vanity thing.
In fact, any prideful thoughts I might have about a running streak was put to rest by this recent news. Ron Hill, at 78, recently ended his world record run streak at – wait for it – 52 years, 39 days. That’s right, he ran every day for over 19,000 consecutive days, competing in three Olympic Games and winning the 1970 Boston Marathon along the way. There’s a milestone worth bragging about. Not that he is. From the Runner’s World article:
“[The streak] doesn’t drive me that much,” he said. “I was more driven by competition when I was younger. I do it because I enjoy it. I try not to think about it.”
So there you go. Ron wasn’t obsessed with setting the record. He just ran, and after a while he set it. Seems like a good example to follow. I will keep on training, and we’ll see where it takes me.