This I Believe

Daniel - Conway, Arkansas
Entered on February 11, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe in the Streak.

I’ve been a runner most of my life. But on September 26, 2002, my running buddy of many years and I started to run an innocuous enough eight mile loop in under an hour. Not fast, not slow, but enough to keep us honest on those mornings we choose to run it. At last count, we’ve run this loop 139 straight times in under an hour – a dubious record to most, but not to us.

The Streak loop, as we call it, winds its way through our neighborhoods in our town. Much has happened since we began the streak – we’ve both turned 40, we’ve lost more hair, my kids keep growing up, and it seems the days turn quickly into years. Years ago we might have three or four friends run with us, but for various reasons the past few years it’s just the two of us now. On one street on the loop we pass two houses where young mothers have passed away in the past few years, leaving young families behind. The streak has lasted through elections and ballgames that turned out differently than we thought they would, it’s lasted through illness and injuries and the deaths of family members. It’s been put on hold because of medical procedures and broken bones. Over the years we’ve run the streak loop our jobs have gotten more complicated, our families have changed, our lives have changed.

We don’t run this loop every day, and we’ve had long spells where we didn’t run it for various reasons. But it’s always there, and for me, completing it these days is an affirmation. We always come back to it. Running the streak loop under the time goal is one more day I’m not quite over the hill; it’s one more day that I’ll have at least one verifiable accomplishment in a life that continually gets more and more muddled.

One of these days the streak will come to an end, we’ll falter and not make our hour goal, and that will be okay. For the streak anymore isn’t really about the running, it’s about the effort and the grace to keep trying. Mostly it’s about friendship, and about having one small part of our lives that is consistent and measurable – we either do it or we don’t. Not much else in the lives of two 44 year old men is that concrete.

I’ll keep trying to keep the streak going as long as I can. And once the streak ends, as it inevitably will, I’m certain we’ll start all over.

That’s why I believe in the Streak.