Bearspective vs 2017

Today is the end of 2017 which brings an end to my running challenge, “You VS the Year 2017,” which is sponsored by Under Armor (UA). I completed this challenge with the excitement of finishing 902 kilometers of running throughout 2017. This is almost three times what I ran last year for the same challenge. “You VS the Year 2017” has nine incremental goals of hitting certain kilometers: 1 km, 21 km, 42 km, 100 km, and 300 km. Then, it increases every 200 km until the end aim of 1017 km. You get a badge every time you achieve any of the above goals.

I signed up for this challenge on January 11th, 2017 and recorded my runs sporadically because I did not think that I would achieve these three-digit goals. I reached the 300 km goal on June 4th, 2017 when I ran my first half-marathon. It took me six months to reach the 300 km goal, and from nowhere, my obsession with this challenge began. I started recording every run, whether short or long, as long as I met the challenge requirement of at least 20 minutes. This approach has progressed well as I have noticed that I earn a new badge every two months – two hundred kilometers every two months until December 30th, when I surpassed my 900-kilometer goal.

I have taken a major leap toward adopting a healthful lifestyle in the past few years. I can say that I am an active person generally but I do not stick to a healthy diet for longer periods of time. Maintaining a healthy diet is hard for me because of my major weakness: I love food. Eating is one of my coping mechanisms for stress; I wish that I were the kind of person who does not eat during stressful times.

Running definitely helps me to unwind and keeps me in a good spirit, but it also gives the opportunity to enjoy having a little extra of the food I love. In March 2017, I had a routine doctor’s visit and I got to know that my cholesterol numbers were off the charts. However, my overall risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) was minimal because my good cholesterol was high, but still, the abnormal numbers freaked me out! I decided to watch my diet while keeping running as my preferred method of exercising. In a few months, after cutting down on my drinking and smoking, my cholesterol numbers dropped dramatically; most of these numbers were almost normal, which motivated me more to maintain my healthy lifestyle… until the holidays. Holidays and peer pressure have had a great influence on breaking some of my healthy eating rules lately.
I will not have any resolutions for 2018 because I know that I will change my goals as I go through 2018 based on emerging circumstances, but I will join “You VS the Year 2018” for sure to see how far I can go in the year to come.

Bye 2017, and welcome 2018!
Al Janabi - Pic.

Mental Runs


This may sound weird to some of you who are reading this now. Running gives me a cozy feeling that helps me to preserve my calm and peace of mind. Slow and short runs are the ideal coping tool for the frustration that I encounter in my life; they are also my remedy to recover from long exhausting runs.

I run at a short pace while I enjoy the music that flows smoothly through my earbuds, waves my eardrum, and perform on my mind in a good way. I let myself go along with that angry and mad lyric which works for me because it keeps my mind entertained rather than being focused on the cramps that come with my moving joints and legs.

After brutally massacring many Christmas cookies in the past few day, I had the urge to go out and run, so the holidays-related guilt would not ruin my day. Although last night was windy and cold (25 F), I put my running gear on and turned my beast mode button on. Running for a little more than four miles gave me the warmth and energy to keep my mood steady.

No Way to Repay


I never thought that I would write about this but I made a mistake that I want to publically confess many years later. When I was in high school, I had the inclination to rebel against almost all the cultural rules in the conservative society where I grew up. My culture was obsessed with these invisible barriers. As a teenager, I enjoyed partying and dancing every Thursday.On one of these Thursdays, I needed some money to get into a party, so I snuck into my parents’ room and opened my father’s closet to “borrow” some money.

I made a promise to God at that time that I would return this money as soon as I could. However, although there were many times that I had money in my pocket, I did not return it to my father’s closet. Instead, I used the money for other things rather than giving it back to my father, believing that my father would always be available.

After many years, my father passed away and I still had not returned the money. Today, I have enough money to pay it back, but I have no father to receive the money.

Mild Food is my Savior


I recall one incident when I ordered moderately spicy Indian food with my friends. After I picked a dish, the waiter asked me if what grade I wanted, out of five, on the restaurant’s spiciness scale. He recommended choosing grade four because it was tolerable and people liked it. I thought that four would be okay – hot enough to enjoy but not enough to torture me.
The waiter brought the food to the table, and I took my first bite, which was tasty and pungent. A few minutes later, I felt a wave of heat coming out of my body, rising from my feet up. Sweat poured down my face, and my hair dampened.
My girlfriend looked at me and asked if I was okay. “I guess so,” I said uncertainly. However, this food was not my perfect choice. From now on, I would always order mild food.

The Struggle is Real

Al Janabi - Pic. On the 17th of December, I have decided to go for a run which would be my first long run after my marathon, which was more than a month ago. It was a cloudy and chilly day with occasional showers that I could tolerate, so I gathered my running gear from different corners of my home: my “running hoodie,” hanging on the doorknob of my closet; my shorts from the dryer; my favorite running shoes, Brookes, from the closet near the main door of my apartment; my compression socks from somewhere else in my place. Slower than my typing skill for this post, I put the clothes on and looked through the window of my living room to assess the situation outside pondering,” should I go today, or I should do it tomorrow?”
After a period of thinking, I walked slowly to the kitchen, and with each step, a few calories were burned which could have been utilized running. Finally, I made it to the kitchen with a deep sigh and sat on a unique chair, which was unique because it was the lonely old heavy chair in there, but it was comfortable for me. On my chair, I started leaning back and forth trying to get the motivation to get out of that chair. It felt like there was a magnetic power that held my body down to the seat, and my soul was pushing against that. Finally, I got up and moved to the ironing board “table” where I had lazily thrown my things – grabbing my iPhone, a bank card, headset, and my apartment keys. I finally walked beyond the door after being drained by all the down feelings inside me, but it did not take more than a few steps before my feet took me back to where they started one minute ago.
Back again in my home, I did random little things to convince myself that I was active, and my weekend could be better; I cleaned, organized stuff, read, and took a nap but none of them brought my spirit up. It was around 4:00 PM when I questioned myself, “only two hours left for me before it gets darker and colder. Should I give it a try to go out and run?”
I went through the same cycle of pushing myself through a field of my negative vibes and low energy to get ready for going out. I was so ready physically but mentally I was waiting for my brain to signal and ignite the fuel in my muscles. This time, I made it outside, to nature, but not more than the main door of my apartment building this time.
I gave up, yes, I gave up to myself in that moment. I did not really feel bad; it just was not my day.

Everything has a Beginning

RunI would like to share my ongoing running experience that started back in 2015. I do not have any plans to stop anytime soon unless I get injured which I try to evade as long as I can. I am neither a professional runner nor an expert in this field. I just want to write, share, and maybe inspire some folks. Running has changed my life in many different ways and become an integral part of my daily life, as it has a positive impact on both my physical and mental wellbeing.

I use the MapMyRide app on my iPhone to record all my activities, such as walking, biking and running.  As you can tell from the name of the app. that my intention was to record and track my rides. Personally, running was an alternative easy way to abolish the guilt feeling associated with not biking for various reasons. I remember that my first run was on Sunday 04/05/2015 when I ran 0.52 mile in 5:47 minutes which was exhausting and humiliating. What seemed to be an easy run, turned out to be an eye-opener evidence on how unfit I was. Although I used to bike frequently in 2015, it did not help my fitness level when it came to running. I gradually reached a realization that I could burn more calories than biking for the same distance, which led to a continuous shift in my outdoor activity choice from biking to running.

My goal is to create a blog for runs/ workouts that are special to me. Run description includes, but not limited to;  motivation, distance, pace, and weather conditions; blogs may also include any unexpected run-related event. If I could address these components with my words, I would say with confidence that I knock out my fears, doubts, and insecurities that come along with each run.