Day461 for the joy

After couple weeks of running in bad weather and super cold temperature, for once we are back to decent running condition (today was 6 C when I went for my run). I think spring is near!

I realized, I like running when it is super cold. Somehow it helped knowing it is super cold and to be prepared for it. Then it does not feel so bad once I started going.

However, if the temperature is somewhat decent around maybe 50 F where it is neither cold or warm, somehow I don’t like running because I would be either underdressed and be cold, or I will be way overdressed and have to lug all the extra shirts and jacket around.

I miss doing spontaneous blogging about my runs, because now I usually do a blog post once a week. The topic usually not immediately related to a run I just did but usually more abstract.

Like tonight after work, I decided to run to a Vietnamese shopping center to get dinner. It was about 4.5-5 miles away. It was a good run and then I ran back. I felt the food was a good reward. Of course, I could have hopped into my car too, but choosing a run was so much more satisfying. The trail was dark but many others were also doing their night walk. It was safe. I wish to be able to do runs like that every day.

Now about the previous post, I don’t intend to finish it at this time. I lost the train of thought on exactly how to go about it. In brief, I was trying to justify my running as something purposeful and meaningful. I still do – trying to see why what I am doing is so worthwhile.

This I realized there might not be any meaning to it. I run just because I just do and enjoy doing it. I know it might have been partly an escape from reality — which is kind of true! Life is hard and boring. I do a 9-5 job. Many times I wish I rather be outside running during my working hours instead of sitting at my desk, doing almost meaningless repetitive tasks day after day.

But as someone said to me recently, to “grow up!” and accept that such is life for everyone too and just endure it because it pays for my food and gives a roof over my head. The person’s point I think is don’t treat your main part (essential) of your life as play time and don’t confuse my play time (hobby) as work. Truth is I wish my running is my career.

When I run I feel free from worries and everything about life. I would just run and not feel tired. I would and could run forever. Running is my reality — my true world and domain. Alright, I might got carry away a bit but indeed I love running.

I admit maybe I am over doing it a little too much. In the last blog I was asking what it means to be great. We would think of being recognized for the work we did. Some run 5K, and if someone comes and run a 10K, that in comparison seems the longer distance is better. In a way, I have been climbing up to the marathon distance and then ultra marathon. Doing more and in a bigger scope is one way to be great or at least it gives the feeling of doing something more substantive. Maybe it is a fallacy. And I asked myself is there more? What do I want to do next?

The reason why I seek to do more or the next level of difficulty is for the challenge and to find my motivation. After running a 100 mile last year, doing it again this year does not bring anything new to the table. I mean I still will enjoy doing it again, but it was not as challenging as when the 100 mile distance was unknown.

So I was trying to determine in my heart, where am I going to stop.

This is not so much a continuation of the last post, since I lost my interest/focus in it. I don’t have an answer to what I am seeking, but I am pressing ahead nonetheless having an inkling that this is the way.

I think a lot about meaning and significance of my life goals especially why I run, virtually every time I step out my door. They tie into having a vision and mission statement. Whether I have one explicitly written out or left unsaid, we all have a kind of vision inside that we are driving toward – at least for me. It is important though our implicit or unstated vision should match our stated one.

If I can summarize my vision, it is to seek the joy in experiencing the world through running in any conditions and anywhere at any time.

It all started because I was being pointed out that I am exceedingly seeking my own joy over that of other people. Maybe so. I am very zealous of my free time. I was taking aback initially because it was morally not right. Now after thinking through, I don’t feel bad about it any more because we all do so. There is no requirement that we should live our life for other people. It is admirable some do seek for the betterment of others even with the sacrifice of their own. There is a balance somewhere. But each of us have our private goals. I always ask myself what am I willing to give up to obtain such and such.

I have been running for 5 years. I dived headlong into this obsession. It took all my time. My time away from friends and family and even my former things I like (such as working on the computer, watching anime, and reading a good book). To me though, it is no longer a sacrifice. Initially it might have, but now I am more comfortable and prefer to be out on the roads at every opportunity I have. I enjoy being out on the road alone at night even if it is miserably cold at time. I admit nowaday it is an obsession (and even an unhealthy one). Everything now is measured by how much time I can spend on the course or how many races I am giving up if I do another thing. Races are my currency and language. I eat and breathe running.

2. Identity. Who do we identify with. I like to be recognized by runners. Ya, he is an ultra runner will bring me joy. Maybe it is a little vanity. In reality whether people give me the recognition or not, I am a runner because of what I do. I don’t care whatever label is attached to me. A question shoyld ask myself is what the ultimate label I want to be identified with.

3. Purpose. Some people finding having reason why we do something is important. A Mission statement usually give what and why. Say if I am going to Napal “to” climb the mountain, then the reason I am there is to do things I plan to do. Some purposes might be more intrinsic. I travel to see the world and people. My deeper goals usually left unsaid. I run because I feel good afterward. I usually don’t put that explicit reward in my statement. It is assume I am doing it to feel good. I also like to overcome tough challenges. Searching for that deeper reason maybe is beneficial. It could be the purpose will provide meaning too.

growth. We do stuff hopefully it will change us in the process. Maybe growth is what we are after. Say if I hike across America, what do I hope to accomplish in the end? In the end, we hope to live a life with no regrets.

time frame. I rush to do things because I feel I don’t have much time left. Each year is busier than the year before. I definitely know my energy is not unlimited. I hope get most things done within the next 10 years or so if I’m lucky. According to my plan, due to money problem, I can’t go out and spurt every single year. It requires being creative in how to budget. But if I take the conventional route, I can affort to do like 2-3 major things within the next 10 years.

  • Running in all 50 states. This is almost for sure
  • Running a 200 mile race. This is almost for sure now. I can see myself attempting it. It is a big potato but not too big
  • 7 continent race. hmm, this could be one of the three things I should do…probably the easiest of the big three
  • AT hike. It would be good if I get to do this. This is likely one of the big three and I am so nervous in pulling this off. This one resonates a lot. If I want to live a life with no regret, this is a must-do!
  • Running across ‘Murica. Definitely will be mind blowing. I can’t wrap my head at this time seeing myself doing this, but if I can have it as one of 3 things to do in my life, this would be it. Mind blowing great to pull this one off. I might want to do it twice (southern route and the northern route. Also the Let’s go South route!
  • Circum navigate/run across the globe. I have to leave now if this ever is a reality! because it takes about 10 years. if I really want to do the unthinkable, this is the one goal.

An example on identity, the past week, something caused me to think of myself as an athlete. Sure a runner is an athlete but normally, I think of running is a hobby and an activity like walking or birdwatching not as intense as being an athlete. It is low stress and low commitment for me. Athlete to me means another level where people would admire because we want to see the performance and speed and prowness. Seeing myself as an athlete, changes how I train. And training is no longer optional.

Sometimes we have check how do we identify ourselves. We might be surprised if we change the labels around.

Long story ahort, is I am crystalizing what I want in life and pursuing after it. Sometimes, it might require making some unpopular choices.

Not related but I want to tie in this extra part on finance. Unexpectedly my blog post on retirement attached way more traffic than my usual postings. Not sure whether they were bots or real readers. Somehow people like to read or find out how much to save for retirement! I guess it is not a surprise if I really think about it because I have the same question (if not for my privacy concern, I would even share my spreadsheets). Meanwhile, I was referred to another blog on the same topic. It is a very good post and I want to share it (note, usually I don’t post links, but this is an exception). I rather my visitors read this person’s article than mine.

The author captures the life I want to live. Abandoning a stable job to live a life that is I think is more fulfilling. It is the idea of stop wasting your life away. You have to live your life now. The article has some solid partical tips to ease one’s anxiety concerning retirement. It can be found here – []

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