I love challenges. I always have. They fit my extreme personality well. By challenging myself is how I discover, learn and improve. When I was little I tried to compete with my friends but I quickly discovered that this is the quickest way to end up alone and learned to keep my competitiveness between me, myself and I. Over the years I took upon many different challenges. Many were considered crazy, like when I wanted to stay up for 100 hours straight (I fell asleep after 98 on a computer keyboard), or when I decided to eat only apples for 90 days (which I accomplished this year).

Over a year ago I’ve decided to give running a chance. I never ran much (I used to be a water polo player) and setting up a challenge was a good way to start. The only rule was that for next 365 days I had to run daily at least 1 mile. It doesn’t sound like much, but I knew there were going to be bad days when I will be hurt and 1 mile will be way more challenging than running 10 miles on a good day.

As of today I just finished my 366th run. I’ve decided to dig a little bit in the data to see how much I improved over the year. BTW I’m quantified self junkie who wears a Fitbit and checks in at the restaurant I eat in, etc. Back to the running. In total I ran 963.22 miles which took me 439,007 seconds (or a little bit less than 122 hours). That means I ran on average 2.64 miles a day in average pace 7:36 min/mile.

When I started running I wasn’t really able to run more than 1.5 miles and my average pace was 9:30 min/mile. These days, I usually run at least 2 miles a day at pace around 5:42 min/mile. The longest run was 7.9 miles and the shortest obviously 1 mile.

I also walk every day. I started walking couple of years ago when I was heavily obese and it helped me to trim my weight to, well, half. I also checked the data for last 365 days and I was truly surprised. In last 365 days I walked 4,804.95 miles with 5,695,504 steps. That results to a daily average of 15,407 steps or 13.16 miles. It’s an equivalent of the distance between Alaska and Florida.

The longest walk was from the Bay Bridge in San Francisco to Half Moon Bay. It was a little bit more than 30 miles and it took me almost 9 hours. And yes, I also went for a run that day.

I also did couple of others challenges this year. My latest ongoing challenge is to read 100+ books this year. I just finished book #93.

I believe that willpower is like a muscle. To make it strong, you have to engage it as often as possible. And there is no better way to do it than consistently challenging yourself.