Runners World: #StreakWithUS

The cover proclaims,
"39 Inspiring Runners, Get it Done.  Hacks and Life-Changing Reasons to Lace Up Every Day and Join the #RWRunStreak."
Within, the magazine introduces you to 39 streaking runners from across the country, with various backgrounds and levels of skill.

Out of the millions of runners with stories,  how did I become runner number 8 on page 46?

It's a question I've even pondered myself.  Over and over again.  I can't tell you why I was chosen, but I can tell you how it went down.  Which itself seems to be a question I've had to answer numerous times this week.

Roughly six weeks ago, I get a DM on Instagram from "runnersworldmag".  Yeah, right I think to myself.

A "photo director" at "Runner's World" apparently.  I'm really thinking, this scam is going way too far.

The DM continues about I may have already been contacted by an editor...  I don't think I have, but they continue they want my contact information as "we'd like to include you!"

Isn't this how all scams start?

But there's something weird about this DM.  It has the verified check next to the name.  Could it really be?  I click on the account and it takes me to what appears to be Runner's World official Instagram.

There's 788k followers.  Yet, they only follow roughly 309 individuals (six weeks ago).

I begin to believe this is real.  So I provide my contact information, and things moved pretty quickly.  A 30-45 minute voice interview was set up.  Quickly a photo shoot was set up thereafter.

A couple of more emails with a various other editors and a fact-checker editor followed.  More follow up questions.  An email stating they are still making decisions about the print edition and some information may appear on the web series.

In short, "They'll let me know."

I didn't say much or share with the world what was going on, because I know better.  I never got another DM or email.  Plus with the Boston Marathon completed, I had the thought the next mag should cover the race and I let it be.

Then I get a few messages via Facebook.  With photos attached of the page with a photo of me!

My eventual Facebook post echoed my initial thoughts
Wow! From Ensley and Pratt City to #RunnersWorld. So.... Yeah.... This is weird.
Me.  Out of all the phenomenal people out there in the world, with stories which keep me in awe.

Forget the world, out of all the runners I know.  Runners who I personally have shared miles, buses, food, drinks, and stories with.  Individuals whom I follow for inspiration when I'm feeling like giving up.  Individuals who I remember when I'm pushing through rough spots.  Individuals who bring a smile to so many, including this harden hearts face.

I didn't reach out to Runner's World.  I wasn't featured in some local newspaper.  I didn't solicit anyone to drop a hint to them or anyone else.  I just kept my head down, lived my life, shared my story daily as I have since day one, January 1, 2016, of my streak on Instagram and Twitter @run3sixty5.

My Instagram page, which chronicles my streak, isn't filled with overtly positive mantras, doctored photos of envy, nor do I have a sculpted chiseled body for the crowd to swoon over.

Many times I'm sharing my negative thoughts, my struggles with injuries, the occasional craziness that comes with caring for family with dementia, or simply a crazy long day at work which pinches the streak and have me running at 23:45 in a hotel parking lot or around the neighborhood just to keep the streak alive for another day.

Sure I've raised quite a bit of money for Make-A-Wish AZ over the last four years (donation link).  But Runner's World wasn't aware of this fact until I told them during the interview.

The thought of being highlighted in a national publication sent my introvert alarms off!  Blaring in my head, sending me running to my comfort place in the recesses of my mind.  But as always, if this raises just 10 more dollars for the kids then it's worth me being temporarily uncomfortable during this 10 minutes of exposure.

As I finally picked up copies for myself, I turned through the pages to read inspirational stories of others.  Runners, who are ordinary people, living ordinary lives, filled with challenges, struggles, successes, failures, and obstacles to overcome, running every day, just like me.

I've come a long way from wondering "How da hell does one run every day for 100 days?  Is it even possible?"

However I'm eternally grateful a co-worker and dear friend, Kim, brought to me a proposal for that initial streak challenge to run 1 mile a day for 100 days.

I researched and researched.  I discovered people.  Ordinary people who were running year long streaks.  Others for years!  For Years Y'all!  This shit is inhuman.  Who are these freaks of nature?

Hell I was struggling with wrapping my mind around 100 days and you got people out here running every day for YEARS!  Ha!  Good for them. 

I was at a low point in my life and I needed an additional distraction,  I needed this for me.  So the 100 day streak turned into a 365 day goal, with me donating 1 dollar for each mile to Make-A-Wish AZ.  I had to make the streak bigger than me.

And with that my first entry at Instagram @run3sixty5 on January 1, 2016 read:
Day 1 in the books. 364 to go? 😨 Wait! Who da fvck put an extra day in 2016? 😑 This sum b#$@!&%:!!!
Day 100 on April 9, 2016 read:
I seem so somber in the #video 😏 all that running had me tired. Hill work is hard. When I set off on this journey I was quite ignorant of the dedication, effort, required growth, challenges, and the change within this would require. Basically I set off without considering how large a challenge running 365 days would be but focused simply on the day. The moment. The run at hand and not the enormity of the whole. Sometimes we have to step into the darkness unprepared for the final test but ready for the initial step, growing into the person with each struggle into the person we couldn't imagine yesterday and not the beast we will be in the tomorrows. #realtalk Remember be good. Do you. Strive to be the better you you know today.
Finally on day 366, I was in the gym.  Planet Fitness.  Jacksonville, Florida.  On the other side of the country on a work assignment.  Treadmill done.  A tear or two in the corner of my eyeballs.  December 31, 2016 entry read:
366: πŸƒ #runitall! #runthisyear #run365 #run366 N da πŸ“š πŸ’₯πŸ‘πŸ˜‰πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜²πŸ˜‚πŸŽ‰πŸ“†. #wedidit y'all! @makeawisharizona we ran the year! Lot of funds raised one mile at a time, #everyday!  
I sit here in the locker room in disbelief that it's done! .
@krswigs for suggesting the 1000 mi / #100day challenge which set me on this path!

You won't be able to accomplish everything you set out to do, but be persistent and learn to live through the good moments because the bad moments will come. There is pain in this life. A lot of pain. I'm still learning to live through my pains and embrace my demons. For without them I wouldn't know how to fellowship with my angels and slow down for the breathless moments of beauty.
Thanks to ALL of you! Big shout to @running615 @luisg1951 @spottedturkey @marathonpandamaurice @jamescrumlin @trueinthedrk_humbleinsptlght @navajorunrrr @just_runnin_in_my40s @j.richgetsfit @jenn13.1 @irongirlnadia @runn4fun_ @naptownbrown @azsungoddess @ultracraigt @dirtdiva333 @kevinhart4real @avasasingh @kaptain_ko @runstreet @runfastmama @distant_runningpr @libertyrunner @gofastmommy @joshuaholmes @shauntfitness @champagne_runner @dalila2007 @kannycharm to name a few! I can't forget the gear and hydration that's an essential part of this milestone: @inknburn @garmin @headsweats @nuunhydration @rrsports @saucony @bose
 And on January 1, 2017?  I ran again.  With the proclamation "Don't let one day define a year.

This ordinary skinny southerner from Birmingham Alabama, no different than you.  Not a runner in high school or college.  A marching band member, and marching band ain't nothing to laugh at folks.

A person who found themselves in the midst of a medical mid-life crisis spurred by the stressors of corporate life, the financial pressures and failures of a down economy, and family tragedy.

Approaching 40 years of age.

Sitting on the examination table with the doctor confirming through declaration a rapidly approaching storm not on the horizon, but raining on my head at that very moment.  I pleaded for a chance.

Just like you, a life change wasn't easy.  It still isn't easy.  So many times I look at the clock.  Think about all I should be doing for work, or how I could procrastinate watching YouTube.  How I should just let the streak slip away with the passing of time.  All I have to do is wait another 5 minutes and it, the streak, would be over.  Finished.  Done. 

The streak itself isn't important to me.  The reason for the streak is what keeps me going.  

I'm no super hero.  I'm not special.  I hurt.  I cry.  I smile.  I laugh.  I feel pain, physically and emotionally.  I could use a few more dollars to help with these bills.  I could a lot of things.  And so could you.

But it's the why that's important.  That why has to be burned into your soul for you, so when I read the summarized version of my interview on the pages of Runner's World I hope you understand how an ordinary person like you and me, can do ordinary things for an extra-ordinary period of time one day at a time.

So I challenge you, after you read this, commit to one week to do that one thing you've been wanting to start, to do, to go back to doing for a very minimum amount of time, 5 minutes perhaps.  It doesn't have to be physical, it could be anything.  Mediation.  Learning a new language.  Drinking more water.

What ever it is that has been nagging your soul that you know you need to do for you and only you.  Take the first step and come #StreakWithUs too.  I know you can, and so do you. 

Y'all be good, do you. 

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