The start of a new year is a time for reflection. At the beginning of 2020, I looked back on my 2019 running goals, triumphantly checking off those which I had achieved. Looking back on 2020, I’m 0 for 3.

It was an unprecedented year. As Ben Folds wrote in the song 2020,

We’re not repeating history, just the parts that sucked

2020, what the actual fuck?

And that was before the Northern California wildfires, before Ruth Bader Ginsberg passed away, and before the second wave of COVID. These events and others affected each of us to differing degrees, and…

Books kept me company in 2020, a year when company was in short supply. I do most of my reading while running, in the form of audiobooks. I ran more miles this year than ever before and, due to uncertainty around the spread of COVID-19, ran most of them solo. This, combined with some other factors like the Northern California wildfires and moving back home with my parents, meant I had a lot of time to myself. I spent this time listening to podcasts, thinking, and, yes, reading.

I picked up World War Z at the start of the pandemic…

When the wind hit me, it wasn’t just that it slowed me down. It wasn’t just that it blew sand in my eyes, stung my face, and peppered my mouth whenever I inhaled. It blew away every positive thought in my mind, leaving only “when is this going to be done” and, sometimes, “what excuse can I make to drop out of this race?”

Emil Zátopek said “If you want to enjoy something, run the 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run the marathon.” …

It’s that time of year when we sign up for gym memberships, restart our meditation practice, and generally resolve to be better. Thank goodness our planet takes 365 days to orbit the sun, because New Years resolutions are exhausting.

Completing goals is exhilarating but setting them can be intimidating. Worse, falling short can leave us feeling like we’re not good enough. I say this as someone who recently set an ambitious multi-year goal. I’d like to make sure this goal, as well as my 2020 running goals, remains a source a joy and not stress.

In “Stillness Is the Key”…

As a freshman entering Carnegie Mellon, I was required to read The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch.

There’s one scene from Randy’s life that really stuck with me. He’s scoring the first assignment for his famous class, Building Virtual Worlds, and is overwhelmed by the results. He calls his advisor and asks:

“Andy, I just gave my students a two-week assignment and they came back and did stuff that, had I given them an entire semester to complete it, I would have given them all A’s. What do I do?”

His advisor tells him to say: “Guys, that was pretty…

As a distance runner, I spend a lot of time on my feet. Some hours are spent talking with friends, others enjoying the scenery. For the majority of the time though, I’m listening to audiobooks.

Here’s a list of books I read this year. Feel free to reach out to me for personal recommendations, or check out last year’s list for more good reads. Speaking of which… you can follow me on Goodreads for up to date book ratings.

  1. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak (recommended)
  2. Fooled by Randomness, Nassim Taleb (recommended)
  3. Becoming, Michelle Obama (recommended)
  4. The Road to Character, David…

🎵 I left my legs in San Francisco. 🎵

That’s how it goes, right? More accurately, I left my legs on the course of the San Francisco 2nd Half Marathon. Somewhere around mile 11 they got ahead of me and I haven’t felt them since.

I ran a 1:14:04, breaking my previous best (from 7 months ago) by over 90 seconds (Strava link). To say this is unexpected would be an understatement. I went into the race with low expectations, having just returned from a series of trips which left me with tired legs and little time for regimented training.

Bay to Breakers is the oldest continuously running footrace in the world. Throughout its 100+ year history, the race has picked up some pretty weird traditions. The most famous of these are the costumes, which this year ranged from Jon Snow to Pokemon to, well, nothing at all. The event starts with a tortilla toss, which is exactly what it sounds like, and a group of runners dressed as salmon attempt to run the race in reverse. …

I ran my 8th marathon this morning. I think I’m still in shock and occasionally have to check Strava to make sure the time’s right, but apparently I ran a 2:37:38, which is 9 minutes better than my previous best. (Strava link)

This blog documents my quest to run a marathon at sub-6 pace. It’s been a dream for a long time, and became an explicit goal last year. To run sub-6 in the marathon, I need to run 2:37:19. That’s 19 seconds off my current time.

A few years ago I went to a screening of Where Dreams Go…

The Oakland Marathon is this Sunday. It’s my first time racing an event at the Oakland Running Festival, and, in spite of living in the city next door, is only my second time running in Oakland.

The first was actually last weekend! I scoped out the course with my friend Michael, who is also racing the full. Oakland reminds me a lot of Pittsburgh, where I went to college and learned to love running. Both have an industrial vibe that’s as grungy as it is charming. Pittsburgh running trails are criss-crossed with train tracks, reminders of the steel industry that…

Avesh Singh

Software Engineer and Runner

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