I got out of the habit of running.

For a very long time, running was my only hobby. I’d run three or four times a week, and sometimes even more than that. No matter how miserable I was, I’d at least be able to go out for a run and feel like I did something.

It’s also the hobby that feels the least like my own. It was my dad’s hobby. Many of the ways I think about running and the habits I’ve grown around it weren’t organically formed on my own — they were taken (one might say “passed down” were they in a sentimental mood) from him.

I’ve never gotten to a point where running has felt natural in Shanghai. I’ve certainly done it many times, but I often go a week, two weeks, sometimes even three weeks without running. I was in quarantine for nearly a month when I got here, and then the weather got cold immediately after I was free. I don’t have one place that I know I’m going to sleep in every night. One of those places is my girlfriend’s house. She often sleeps in until 1pm, and has a dog that barks if he hears the slightest noise outside the door. The security guard always says things to me when he sees me.

All these micro-inconveniences added up to me running less.

Now running is no longer as natural as it once was. I have to decide ahead of time to run. I have to force myself to run. I don’t feel the overwhelming THIRST to go out and sprint until I can no longer breathe that I used to have.

So, while the weather is still warm and my body is still young, it’s time to reorient my life so that running feels natural again.

Towards that purpose, I’ve decided to run everyday for a month. Of course that doesn’t mean long strenuous runs everyday. As long as I run at least a mile, I’ll count it.

The discomfort of running for me isn’t the act itself. It’s those micro-inconveniences I mentioned earlier, and simply having to get a shower after I’m done. My hope is that by making running non-negotiable, I’ll either numb myself to those inconveniences, or I’ll readjust my lifestyle so that they’re no longer a thing.

Since I have a blog, I figure I’ll write about each run I do. Who knows how interesting this will be to read, but at least it will serve as proof I actually did run. The kinds of things one would normally put in a running journal, like times and distances, are all too boring for me, so I’ll leave those up to your imagination. Instead, I’ll try to go places I’ve never been to before so that at least I can form new memories of this city. Maybe these records will introduce you to some of the geography of Shanghai. Maybe years from now you’ll come here and encounter a street name or neighborhood that you remember from these pages. Or if you live in Shanghai, maybe in the course of me discovering places I didn't know existed, you'll discover one too.

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
Day 8
Days 9 - 13
Day 14
Day 15