Get to know Joyce 'The Streaker' Lee.

By Matt Forsman A.K.A. Marathon Matt, May 12, 2016

Joyce 'The Streaker' Lee has accomplished something few runners have or ever will.

Joyce has not missed a day of running in over 1,200 days. You read that correctly. Joyce has not missed an opportunity to run in over THREE YEARS. There aren't many runners (elite or otherwise) who can claim such an impressive streak.

To boot, Joyce is far from over. Her current goal is 365 X 4. That's FOUR STRAIGHT YEARS of running. We hope Joyce gets there and if the past 1,200+ days is any indication she's got a great shot at it.

Read on for details around Joyce's streak and a few tips around remaining consistent and committed to your training.

-How did you get into running?

I didn't start running until after college, a little over a decade ago. I'd been a swimmer, but picked up running after four summers of swim teaching as a means of staying fit. I was determined to stay fit and lean. Running appealed because of the simplicity of it.

You can just go at any time and no real gear is needed. I lived in a very hilly area, so it would sometimes take as long as an hour to run roughly 2 miles when I first started. Little by little, I gained more strength and worked my way up to 5 miles by the time winter came around. 

I had aspirations to "someday" run a half marathon, but didn't commit much of myself to it. It wasn't until a friend twisted my arm to try some of the pharmaceutical grade multi-vitamins he was promoting that I worked my way up to 16 miles in a matter of two months.

At that point, I decided to raise the bar from half marathon to full marathon. I wanted to shoot for something that seemed impossible, just to see if I could actually achieve it. On October 17, 2010, I shuffled across the finish line of my first road race, the Nike Women's Full Marathon.

It was 26.2 miles of awesomeness, misery, and every emotion in between. I didn't want to end my marathon story at a 5:25, so I hunted for another marathon to train for and do better. I was hooked!

-What is it your enjoy most about running?

I've participated in a lot of road races and have had the privilege to meet people from around the world. All of them have their own unique running story.

Some are elite runners. Some are fun runners. No matter which category they fall into, they all love running.

We've been able to support each other running and sometimes those friends begin to branch out into our more personal lives, which has been incredibly enriching for me.

Some of the most thoughtful and giving people I have met have been through running. Some aren't even runners themselves, but supporters. I profoundly enjoy the community and the bond that running cultivates.

It's not just the running, it's the people high on running and it's fabulous!

-Tell us a bit more about this incredible running streak you've been on. Where did the idea for the streak come from?

I wanted to work on being more consistent. I don't know what compelled me to choose running, but I decided I wanted to do something every single day of the year for a full year.

I started my "running streak" on January 1,2013. The intention was to do it for a year only. I had already been averaging 5 miles per run, so setting the daily minimum at 1 mile made this challenge very feasible.

I also decided I would take a photo a day to record the streak and also to challenge my creativity. I had set out on this journey for me, to strengthen my dedication, and to better my consistency in life.

As this journey continued, I started to learn that friends were influenced by my daily runs and admitted they dragged themselves off to a workout because they knew I would be running that day. It didn't even occur to me that this could happen, but it sure kept me going.

The most memorable run of the streak took place on day 67. It was my birthday. I was in Dallas for an event and had gotten to the hotel around midnight. I was doubtful of my ability to get up early the following morning before the event began since I had just flown in from Tokyo, so I opted to run at the hotel gym- which I later found out was closed.

It was pouring rain outside so that wasn't an option and I was getting sleepy fast. I didn't want to let the sandman ruin my streak. So, I fought hard to come up with a solution.

I don't know what came over me, but as I looked around the spacious hotel, it became apparent that the obvious solution would be to run loops inside the Dallas Hilton. So, I did just that. I ran two miles inside of a Hilton, on my birthday.

I'm now into my fourth year and the run streak has evolved into something completely different. I'm starting to see that this year is about inspiring others to improve their running. I've also begun participating in half marathons and marathons as a pace leader.

I never thought I would feel comfortable enough in my own running ability to help someone else start their running journey, but I find my confidence growing. I intend to continue the streak for the rest of my life. It's just been such an amazing experience. I can't bear to end it!

-Surely you've had days when you haven't felt like continuing the streak. How have you managed to motivate to get out and keep it going on those 'off' days?

There are quite a few days when I don't feel like running. This could be because I am in a bad mood. Maybe there’s a social event I'd like to attend.

But, I treat the running streak as something that is an absolute. It’s a "must be done" kind of thing. Think of it like having to use the bathroom.

No matter how long you put it off, you still "have to go" at some point. So why waste time, just go!

My mind will always give me reasons not to go out, but I expect that. So, when I find myself not feeling like running, I think back to the encouraging things friends have said to me throughout my run streak journey and then I don't feel so lazy anymore.

I think about those who aren't able to run, or those whose time is so limited they aren't able to fit in a run, and I tell myself I'm lucky to have the luxury to do something like this.

Typically these thoughts are all I need to get back out on the road again!

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