Thinking

Day 98

I am still thinking how did I run a minute faster than my normal 10K time on yesterday race.

Bluemont race map

It was an out and back course. The map showed km 4 to 5 is shorter than km 5-6, where the turn around point was. I don’t think I cut the course, because I definitely turn around at the cone.

The turn around might have thrown off my gps watch.

I think on the second half I ran faster because it was down hill. I have not done the split yet because my watch was wrong (I think), so its data can’t be trusted.

Here is the elevation profile.

Elevation showing a mirror image of out-back route, second half being down hill

Bluemont running

Day 97 – race

A quiet weekend and it is just what I like. No big plan. I woke up and went to a local 10K race. It is about a hour from home. I ran a good time here every year. This was my third. While at the course, I didn’t have good vibe that I would do well this time. My shins were still hurt (been like this for two weeks, since that late Wednesday night run). Body doesn’t do well in recovery when I overtaxed it. Still a race is a race. I started at the end of the group. The race was sold out but there were about hundred of us lining up. The temperature was mild for this time 38F (5-6C). I dressed in dual layer short sleeves. shorts. It would warm up to 50 later. The sun was actual warm but we have strong wind 30kph wind. Consistently blowing.

I like this race because it is far out the city two counties over from DC, on a farm land. You can see the mountain range where I do a lot of hiking. Out in the rural life is slower. It fits my personality.

The course is only 15 minutes from the Appalachian Trail (Snicker Gap). The original plan was to finish the race and head to the trail to do some trail run, since my marathon is all about hills, and this trail has plenty of them. Ashby Hollow and Buzzard Hill is known as the roller coaster because it goes up and down many times in this 10 miles stretch. I hiked this section like four times past year.

However after the race, I was cold. I had my downs jacket on but still cold. We had after race party at a brewery across from the farm. I stayed for lunch. They lit a fire pit, and I have been next to it for the past hour. It felt so good. This is what my friend meant when she said about waking up to a warm fire and have breakfast next to it. It is definitely one of the 50 joyful things to be thankful for.

They haven’t posted the race result yet, but unofficially, based on my watch, I should PR this race, finished at 47:58, shaving a minute from my last record, but my watch also reported the course is short by 0.2 mile. It would explain why I was a minute and half faster.

Looking down the valley, near blue ridge
From Brewery Patio

Update: It’s official: I PR’ed it and finished at 47:56.

Will see how it goes

Day 97

No big plan this weekend compared to the last one. I did a short run last night, about 3 or 4 miles. I was going to do 10 but my mom called for dinner, so I put my plan away. My heart was not in the run. By the end of the dinner, I didn’t want to go back out.

My body was a little better than on Tuesday. My shins still have a bit of ache. Not sure how long it will take to recover. All other parts of my body are in good condition.

I have a race tomorrow. Afterward if I am still fresh, I plan to hike/run on a trail. It would take the whole Saturday. Tapering will begin next week or a week after.

Sunday will be quiet. Maybe attend the early service and then run the rest of the day.

Recovery

Day 96

I spent last few days on recovery. Basically no running. Nothing much to say. Today is the fourth day but still I feel tired. I have not recovered 100%. I feel it is a little over 50% and maybe at 60%. I am glad to be healthy though. I should be ready for the next race. I haven’t taken this many days off from running since maybe 5-6 weeks ago.

I had a quick short run last night. It was my first run after the half marathon. My muscles were screaming after a mile in. I kept on for couple more miles. I might need tonight off. That was a good feeling. I haven’t had that kind of stress on my legs for a long time. Surprisingly running the Half wasn’t painful as my recovery run was. I know pain is bad but I think I know what I am doing. It wasn’t the kind of pain that need a doctor. It was just the muscles were tight. I didn’t stretch before running.

This week is supposed to be another 40 miles week. I will see how my body reacts. I will be lucky to get in 20 miles.

Then there will be 3 weeks of tapering. I felt I haven’t work out that hard, so really not sure how much to taper off. I probably will limit myself to 30 miles total. Or I will push my max training for another week and limit my tapering to only two weeks. My marathon is a little less than a month away. I know the next three weeks will come by fast.

One of the first

Day 95

This is one of the firsts that I showed up And found out I’m not registered for it! There was something wrong with my registration because I used a race coupon and it wasn’t effective for this race (they took my coupon though), hence I didn’t know it didn’t go through. I didn’t check for a confirmation email.

Anyway things worked out, I decided not to run the 10K due to over-doong it yesterday. I need a day to recover. Hearing the registration didn’t go through was a good news. Earlier I woke up cursing to myself why I signed up and pulled myself together to get to the course. It was raining (misty). Just a relief to me. Now I can go to church! 

My weekend ended up to be Plan A – the original plan. No craziness of run a back to back race or doing a marathon. 

Hiking was fun though. Here are couple pix.

Snow and fog turned everything to black and white
Snow covered forest

Fun and Rest

Day 94 / weekend half marathon

I had one of the best races ever. I say that to every race though. But this race I set a PB. I didn’t upgrade to the full marathon and that was a very wise choice. I knew my previous record was 1:49 (hh:mm), so I lined up behind the 1:50 pace group. I was assigned to Coral 3, but the  pacing team actually lined up at the end of Coral 5. We had wave start and Coral 1-5 were part of the first wave. With a couple minutes delay between each coral. Boy did they started out fast. They knew they were going faster than pace. I followed the last pacer of the 1:50 group. He was saying if we want to finish at 1:45 we have to run at 8 min pace. And I checked my watch we we’re running at 7:45 and he agreed. He said the other pacer of the 1:50 group was even faster than him, and laughed. Later on I think after 5 miles I couldn’t keep up with them any more. I told myself I have to run at my own pace. I had no hope of breaking a record. They finished probably at 1:40. They totally left everyone behind!

My legs were heavy from the start. I think my calves were still in recovery. My breathing were surprising under control. I wasn’t breathing hard at all. I slowed down a bit at mile 5-6 because of a big hill (400 ft?). No good. I couldn’t climb it. I know next marathon is all hills 2000 ft of them. 5 times higher! That is only a month away. I got to the top and got back into my pace.

I was slowing down again at mile 11. Luckily I saw someone, and she gave me the strength to speed up again. I caught a second wind. When I crossed the finish line and looked up at the clock, unbelievable, it was 1:46 and a Personal Best (PB).

First half I had 53:10 and second half 53:33. I stopped my watched a 10 seconds late. However, still I didn’t run a negative split. 

I celebrated this by going up on the mountain in West Virginia, the Big Schloss.

The race though was in downtown DC, and there was no snow there. It was cloudy and a very decent temperature for running (3-5C?)

Meaning

Day 93 / still waiting

One of the reasons I started blogging is to record my races and the training I do. Because running races is what I live for. But on a deeper level, I was trying to find meaning and truth in all my activities we call life. I believe our lives have meaning  even if it is not apparent. On the surface, every day seems to be the same. I wake up, go to work, run afterward and go back to bed. On a weekend, I might be lucky to find a race or two to run or if not, it is one long training for the weekend. Some days like what I mostly been doing the last  few months when I don’t feel like training, I ended doing nothing but sitting in my room staring at the ceiling. That is part of life too.

It does not mean life is not exciting. Last few months were to me jumping through one crisis to another. I might be a bit extreme to call it crisis but it was like the end of the world! I feel somehows going through one storm after another. And it was very exciting.

Why? We all just want a peaceful life… I did not write about them. Looking back though, I  survived. Always, every day I am entangled with something, and they definitely distracted me from running. Maybe something I didn’t do at work or something I didn’t do at home. I had a crisis with my training plan when I consistently putting up only 7 miles per week for the first month. I don’t know what happened there.

I had a clear thought this morning while driving into work. As I looked back at the past week or the past month, I kind of see a pattern of something greater than just routine going through the motions of life. I saw maybe a glimpse of what life is worth living for, (life is always worth living) something that was truly uplifting. Now the thought is gone. I am grasping if I could, bring that light back. It was like a mundane thing transform to extraordinary.

This weekend I will run the DC Rock and Roll Half Marathon (hopefully – Lord willing as my friend loves to say). Few more hours to go.  I signed up for it almost a year ago. It doesn’t mean I was hyped about it. This would be my third time running it. I signed up early to save money. The price now has doubled if I walk in and register today. I also already signed up for next year.

I could run it without much emotion. There are not many races I would re-do, but this one is one of them. My friend calls it a subscription service if I run it year after year. But then I can attach so much meaning to it. It is one of the best marathons to do in this area. I have ran many (6) marathons and many half marathons (4-5). Rock n Roll is always the best! It is big! It was my first marathon as well as the first Half Marathon that I signed up (though didn’t run). I have so much memories of it unlike some other races. 

My running involved with friends and my best friend at the time when I did the first marathon was in that race. That was all i needed for meaning. Thinking back, I was running through the whole course looking for her only in the end found out she started at a later time because I told her to switch to a Half and she listened, but I had my PR that day and my first ever fastest time, even to this day 3 years later, the time is still very hard for me to top it. I have no reason to beat my time tomorrow. 🙂 Even if I run my fastest time tomorrow, I won’t be able to meet up with my best friend who is out in the woods hiking somewhere.

I am rambling on. Today is another one of those waiting time, waiting for things to happen tomorrow. Doesn’t life is like that? Waiting…and then kind of miss it when life shows up? That is some kind of truth regarding life I am seeking.

I think meaning for the things we do or things happening is like turning on a light in a room. The things we do is  the same, but how we look at it is like having the light on or having the light off. Just a thought.