Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Resolutions, Once again

Last Friday I turned 31. And it is time to think about the resolutions. Last year in early December I posted my resolutions here and I am quite pleased that I achieved them all. This year I will try to be more precise in my goals.

So if I miss any of these by the end of November 2014, Please feel free to question me.

- Running a couple of ultras and get enough qualifying points for UTMB 2015. 
In case you are not familiar with UTMB, Ultra Trail Mont-Blanc is one of the greatest mountain ultras in the world. It's a race every ultra runner would like to run.  To run this race you require qualifying points which you can earn by running a number of ultras. For the main race you need 7 points and for shorter distances (Short is quite relative here as a couple of short races are over 100km!) you need 2 points. I've already got 2 points by finishing the K78 last July. I am planning to run another couple of ultras to get all the qualifying points for 2015. The first one is Iznik Ultra in April and I will probably run the CCC race in August.

- A 3:20 Marathon
After running a few marathons, I can say that I am more into trail running and will run more trail marathons. However I do have a time target for a road marathon.  I'd try to cut 30 minutes from my PR. That's going to be a marathon in 3:20!

- Losing more weight, get leaner and faster
 When I started running, I did so to lose weight. Now I want to lose weight to be a better runner. That's going to be achieved by healthy diet, Strength training, Plyometrics, Speed work and off course running!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Istanbul Marathon Done!

Istanbul marathon done in an embarrassing time of 4:16:58. I will post the full details in a few days. Not every marathon goes as well as you expect. There were important lessons to be learned from this marathon.

Stay tuned

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Istanbul Marathon in a week

I am now tapering for my fifth marathon. As I said before mental preparation is an essential part of training for a marathon. I was planning to set a PR in Istanbul, but given that I've missed quite a few training sessions and was not able to run properly for a few weeks, a PR now sounds far too optimistic. I know Istanbul is going to be a tough one but that doesn't stop me from trying my best. It might hurt a lot, but I will embrace the pain and go on. I might not be in the best shape but I am ready for the challenge.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Resolutions, commitment, achievement

Last year, a couple of weeks after my 30th birthday, I wrote down my running resolutions and for the first time ever I published it here. Now it's time to set new goals but before that, I have to review my last year's resolutions to see where I am standing now.

Theses are what I was expecting myself to do until 22nd November 2013:

Running my first Ultra. 
I did finish Swissalpine K78. Running my first ultra was indeed a great experience. For sure I am going to run more ultras.

Running at least three marathons.
Dubai Marathon (Dec 2012), Paris Marathon (March 2013) and Istanbul Marathon (Due on 17th November). So if everything goes all right in Istanbul, this one is also done.

Losing more weight. 
Done! I am 5-6 kg lighter than last year.

Strength workout, plyometrics, stretching and swimming more often. 
Pretty much done. Although I still skip stretching most of the time and leave swimming for when I am recovering from an injury!

Adding Speedwork and hills sessions into my training. 
Almost done. I spent quite a lot of time hiking and training for my first ultra. Long runs were more important than intervals and speed sessions. I could have add more fartleks, tempos and intervals into my training plan.

Hiking to the top of two major summits in Iran. 
I wanted to get to these summits for many years. Thanks to the fitness level I gain by running, I mounted Damavand and Sabalan in comfort. I also had several fast ascents (running and fast hiking) to Tochal, my favourite summit in Northern Tehran.

Encouraging people to run. 
Since I got serious about running I have always been encouraging people around me to run. I am quite pleased to see a few runners around me now. I - with the help of a couple of friends - organised a weekly run in one of the busiest sport and leisure centres in Tehran. Since it started in early June, quite few people joined us. There were weeks when there were only two or three of us. But some weeks we were up to fifteen people. Some didn't like it and left after a couple of weeks (well, at least they gave running a try. For sure running is not for everyone). And some got into it and showed up every week. Next week I'm off to Istanbul to run the marathon. And three friends of mine -who were all part of the club - are running the 15k race.

So, overall it hasn't been a bad year. New running resolutions coming in a few days.

Friday, 1 November 2013

"Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional"

It's been a stressful month. Since 5 weeks ago, I've been pretty much away from running due to air pollution and a few health problems. Of which some can be serious. I am not talking about those issues here -at least for now- but I'd assure you I am not making excuses. There is no point in doing so.

Since I started running, my definition of many concepts in life has changed. When you leave your comfort zone, pain is no longer something to be scared of but a sign that you're on the right track. What sounded impossible is now something achievable, something to make you motivated.

Running means a lot to me. It has simply changed my life. When I started running, I was overweight, absolutely out of shape and a heavy drinker (Although I wouldn't agree with this back then). And now after more than three years of running, I cannot imagine myself not running. Running has taken me to a lot of places I would never go if I wasn't a runner. I experienced life in a whole new way. Enjoyed every bit of hard training and sacrifices that I made. Now that it has transformed my life, I don't like to get back to my previous life. I don't want to be overweight again. This is why being away from running really hurts.

I have missed a few training sessions. I am not quite prepared for my next marathon. I am not able to run neither as fast nor as far as I'd like to. But I am determined to keep going. I am not quite fit but I am quite excited to run another marathon. Running - in addition to everything brought to my life - is something that keeps me alive.

The title is a quote by Haruki Murakami, read in "What I talk about when I talk about running"