I used to be a swimmer in Special Olympics Virginia. In 2014 at the USA Games, I won a few medals, including gold in the 100 IM, bronze in the 100 breaststroke, and bronze in the 4x25 freestyle. It was a really great experience to represent Team SOVA. Leading up to those games, I swam on an elite club team called Poseidon Swimming, which really got me into shape. But unfortunately, a couple of years later I got a shoulder injury. Swimming at that level was just too much for my body to handle, with 90-minute practices five times a week. So I was left with two tough choices: either have surgery, which would make it better for a year or two, or stop swimming altogether. It was a difficult decision, but I decided to stop swimming for my long-term health.
So I started to get into running! I won a few local races around Richmond. And then in December 2020, I decided to start what is called a running streak, which means running every day. I go running every day no matter what - even when I’m sick or have an injury or am traveling on vacation. No matter where I am in the world or what I have going on in my life, I always make sure I get at least one run in every day. Sometimes I’ll do a double, meaning that I run twice a day if it’s really nice out.
This was first considered as a sport back in 2000 by the United States Running Streak Association. They have a website called https://www.runeveryday.com/ where you can discover that some people have been running every day for the last 40-50+ years!! The sport became more popular when everything was shut down because of Covid 19, including gyms and workout facilities, before there were vaccines. I decided to start it, since I love running. It has replaced the feeling I got from swimming. In mid-December 2022, it will be a full two years since I first started my run streak. It has become more of a lifestyle for me. I’m planning on doing it for as long as I can, hopefully my whole adult life.
This all started as a result of Special Olympics. I wouldn’t be doing it if I had not been a SOVA athlete first. And I don’t do it just for my physical health. I also do it for my mental health. I have found it has made me smarter by thinking things through. It has helped me have a better memory, and it has helped me focus more. All of that is helpful because I was born with a mild intellectual disability.
How long I run every day varies, depending on what I have going on that day or where I am. Most of the time, I run anywhere from 3 to 10 miles a day. I use a social media app called Strava for all my runs. It’s made for athletes, and the only thing you can post is your workouts.
Anyone can have a run streak if they really want to. It doesn’t have to a big goal. You can start small and just try to run a mile every day for a week or two, then see how you feel. It might be really hard at first, but after the first few runs, your body will adjust, and you will start feeling better.
This is a commitment, and it might not be for everyone! If you try it, watch out that you don’t get overtired or injured. It’s always best to play it safe!