By: Brian Reynolds
On August 10th, 2002, I was a 14 year old Otsego High School freshman toeing the start line at the Ready or Not 5k. The race took place at my old stamping grounds in Otsego, Michigan. The Ready or Not was my second 5k during my early running career. I remember being very nervous and excited at the same time. The race was long, hard, and mentally challenging. The race felt more like a half marathon than a 5k.
Looking back at the Ready or Not race it was the start of my running career and, most of all, the start of my running streak. Everyday since August 10th, 2002 I have not missed a day of running. You may be asking yourself “Why would you run everyday? Are you crazy?” but don’t worry I have not been diagnosed with any mental issues and there is a reason why I choose to run everyday.
When I ran cross country at Otsego I was coached by Steve Long. Coach Long’s training was based on the Paavo method which was a popular training program used at the high school level. One of the most important lessons I learned from the Paavo method was that to be successful you have to work at it EVERYDAY. Coach Long would encouraged his runners to run everyday because it would make us faster and would be a good motivational tool. Coach Long told us that a run would only count if it was at least one mile long and was completed without any breaks. Only a few of us took on this running challenge. I took on the challenge because I wanted to be a great runner. During that cross country season I did not miss a single day of running.
Running everyday without a doubt had made me a better runner so I decided to continue the streak after my cross country season. During high school it was pretty easy to get a run in during the cross country and track seasons. However, during the winter months when I swam competitively it was a little more challenging to get in a run. During the swim season, I would practice for 2 hour after school then go for a 3 mile run at night. There were some days when I ran in -20 ᷾͒deg F wind chill through 2 feet of snow. On a super cold days my face would be so covered up I could barely get enough air to breath through all the layers of clothing covering my month. However, I did not let poor weather conditions become an excuse not to run. If it was not for the running streak, I probably would have missed several days of running due to bad weather, not feeling good, or lack of motivation that day.
Over the years during high school, college, and post-college it has been amazing to see my progress throughout my running career. The one big life lesson I took out of this experience is that to achieve a lifetime goal or dream you have to take it one day at a time. Big dreams are not going to happen overnight. In fact, dreams can take years, decades, or may never happen. To accomplish big goals you have to set attainable short term goals. Within those short term goals you need to set daily goals. For me a daily goal maybe completing a run workout at my goal race pace. When I accomplished those daily goals I was able to accomplish my short term goals. If you continue to accomplish goal after goal after goal then you may eventually reach your big dream. For example, my big dream was to win a marathon. On day 1 of my running streak I was far from being in shape to win or even be able to finish a marathon. However, on day 3,149 I was able to win the 2011 Kalamazoo Marathon.
To this day I am still running everyday. My running streak is over 5000 days which spans over 13 years. I have been very fortunate so far to keep this streak alive. There has only been one incident where I almost couldn’t run due to a very bad ankle sprain. Let’s just say I ran some of my slowest runs on that sprained ankle. Running has become so ingrained in me that I do not think twice when I go out for a run. Running is part of my life and identity. I do not see myself quitting anytime soon. So with that said I gotta go for a run, thanks for reading!
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