Annual Challenge

Under Armour has an annual challenge called “You VS the Year 2018”, which I have been participating in this competition for three years now. In 2016, I have only documented 45 runs, totaling 308 kilometers; with these stats, I was ranked in the top 28% of the participants. I liked the idea of being challenged throughout the year, so I decided to join the “You VS the Year 2017.” I was determined that I would better my numbers by diversifying my runs between road and trail, increasing distance, and improving speed. I was a ”little” crazy about my run last year.

At the end of the previous year, I recorded 95 workouts with a total distance of 902.4, and I came in the top 11% of the participants; that was two times more workouts and three times more mileage than 2016. I was even bragging about that to the people I knew.

Although this year is almost over, I feel that my numbers are not as good as I wanted them to be. Up to date, I ran 73 times with an accumulative distance of 533 kilometers, and I’m in the top 19%. Most of this year runs are of short distance for recovery purposes. Because of these short runs, I am not adding enough kilometers to hit the ultimate goal of this competition, which is 1018 kilometers.

I still have 45 days left of 2018; I will run more often with a goal of adding more kilometers to each run.

I am sure I will not be able to hit the goal of this challenge this year, but any additional workout will definitely boost my health.

I will keep you updated on how this challenge will end at the end of 2018!

P.S. for me, it is kind of weird to use kilometers instead of miles.

Shorter Days and Longer Nights!

Last night, the daylight saving ended, which means we get “shorter days” and “longer nights”. It took me a while to understand when we set the clock either backward or forward; it was easier than I thought.

This season and its time will affect my mood and running. My spirit is weather-sensitive; I feel down when it is dark, and I feel better when it is sunny whether it is winter or summer. Running has been my “mood fixer” during these dark seasons, but my running schedule will be different.

I usually run after work around 6:30 PM when the sun is still out, and I still have time to witness the sunset and capture some pictures to document my runs. Now, I need to change my schedule from after work schedule to early morning plan. It can be cold sometimes, and it may be dark, but morning runs has its advantages; it gives me the energy to go through the day even when I’m overwhelmed at work. I lose my appetite after morning runs, which can be a strategy for some weight loss. Morning run has its feel.

Another Run!

I am trying to get back to running gradually after my injury. Today, it is was chilly and windy; temperature was 59 F. Two hours after having my black bean burger, I have decided to burn some of the calories, so I put on my running gear with a jacket to keep me warm throughout the run; If I found my gloves, I would use them as well. Head out and start running with no warming up; I do not warm-up for short runs. It was refreshing to run in cold weather. No many runners were out there because it was cold. I do not do what other people can do, but I do what many people can not do, such as running when it is cold or rainy. I started my run slowly, and I increased my speed a little bit to avoid any further injury. The first mile was fun because it was slow, the second mile was freezing because I crossed the bridge when I was hit by a a cold breeze, the third mile was easy because it was flat, and the fourth mile was hard because it was uphill. I was excited to finish my short run with no injuries; I also had some cool pictures during my third mile.

Consistency is the key for successful running; speed and distance will come later.

It Has Been a While

It has been a while since I wrote my last blog. It has been a while since I ran my last marathon which was in April. It has been a while since I had an injury-free run. I have been busy lately; I have started a new life, different work, and new area.
It took me one month to recover from the last marathon (Blue Ridge Marathon), and I felt great to start running again; but for some reason, I got obsessed with speed. Speed runs can be deceiving because you can run faster and your stats look impressive momentarily, but it is only for a short distance. I increased my pace gradually, or so I thought, and I started running more often. I could not even wait to finish my run and look at my time in my app. My fastest run was 7:09 min/mile and I was happy about that. A few days later, my knees began telling me that they would not keep up with my excitement. I gave myself a break to rest and recover, and that was enough for my left knee. My right knee was demanding more time, so I stopped running for almost two months.
Meanwhile, I began swimming because it is a low-impact exercise that I could enjoy instead of running. Swimming was fun for me, but it was not as fun as running.
After two months of the no-run period, I finally tried yesterday to go out for a short run. I was concerned that my knees would relapse. I started running slowly and with caution. Outside, my smile grew with each pain-free strike, and there was a sense of relief inside me that reassured me that I was doing great. I ran for 4.30 miles, and my pace was 9:46 min/mile; my stats were not great, but I was happy to get back to running. I hope I can run for a short distance and be injury free.
Don’t speed when you run; it is like speeding when you drive!

Cool Signs

In many races, the crowd plays a critical role to motivate runners; one of the cool things they do is carrying a sign or banner, which should be encouraging, but most of them are not only stimulating, they are entertaining. I like to read as many as I can. They make me smile, and this lessens my tension and pushes me to go further to read the next sign.

Some of the signs that I still remember from last year:

”Half marathon is like a breakup; you will get over it with time.”
”Run hard today, and post a great status tomorrow.”
”It is just one hill, get over it.”
”Run like someone is chasing you.”

Retrospective vs Prospective

Retrospective

I usually take an in-depth look at my decisions retrospectively and assess what I could have done differently for a better outcome. I can look at my life in both directions whether forward or backward, but I see running unorthodoxly because there is always something new to do next, such as running faster or further. I do not recall that I regretted either a race or workout. For me, running is a one-way path.

Broken vs Unbroken

This past Monday, I was mentally broken for no apparent reason, and I hated witnessing my time to go by doing nothing. I knew that running would bring my broken pieces together.
I decided to go for a three-mile run to fix the mood, but I ended up with six miles which were runstastic.
I felt like a new person when I came home.

Wonder

Some of my friends wonder why I run. My answer would be for many reasons; some of them health-related and others are not. The health-related reasons would be physical and mental wellbeing, while the non-health ones are food-loving behavior, so I can have little extra food. I sometimes run to just have something neutral to talk about.
Whatever my reasons are, I really enjoy running.

Typical vs Atypical

Typical

For me, being typical is boring. Being is more adventurous and fun. You may make stories and share experiences by being different and unpredictable.
I like to run when the weather is nice “typical.” But this does not happen often, so I do not wait for the weather to decide for me the best date and time to run. Instead, I choose when to run even when it is rainy, cloudy, or even cold.