Post marathon blue

Day 110
Not sure if it is actually real thing, but I’m suffering post marathon blue. I guess when you get such a runner high and a week later you feel normal life is too normal.

The cure is, of course, to go back out and run. I returned to semi formal training but don’t have a plan yet. I should draw one up tonight. I have run every other day this week. Been a bit too lazy to write about. We have really good running weather in the DC area. Got to take advantage of it before it get mucky and hot when summer comes.

Everything though been pretty quiet. I am still doing my work at work, cheer! That is expected of me, right? Some people want to know. I am getting my work done and nothing much to say about it.

I am frustrated on a number of things. I don’t want to share about it or know how to share them tactfully. The boiling point was Friday. I was going to run in the 5k after work to take some steam off, but as I rushed to the race course in Crystal City, there was no race. There was no announcement of cancelation. A bunch of other runners shoe up too. We were just walking around looking for race information. There was nothing posted online either. Well, that was that. I haven’t paid for it. But still I was uncontrollably mad. So mad. Not so much at the race organization, but at life itself of being so unlucky. Any way. Moving on. I did use the time off ‘from running’ effectively. I visited my family.

I did something I have never done before today by going a pre race run event. In two weeks, I will run in the Frederick Half Marathon. This morning, a local running group was doing a course preview run (they had it as 12 miles instead of the full course). It was really nice. I think I ran with 150 others who will be in the race. It was good to kind of see who is at your pace. People were very friendly. By the way I was almost hit by a car, and it was totally my fault. I ran out in an intersection without thinking to stop to check for traffic. Luckily I hear the car engine and jumped back. The car zoomed by and I was ok. Otherwise, I would have been out of this world. I’m OK.

I haven’t completely recovered from my last marathon. My muscles are fine, it is just the breathing. No matter how deep I breath, I don’t feel I get the air and energy. I feel my breathing is very shallow.

I hope to do my long run tomorrow.

Roanoke

Day 109

It was probably my 8th marathon, but who is keeping count? My training was about the same compare to previous times except for lacking in long runs this time. Even though it was only couple days since the race, things are getting blurry. Statistics wise I didn’t do as well as in my previous marathons. I was much slower. It shows that without working on hill runs, I did poorly on hills. The whole race was about running up the Roanoke mountain and that is about 1000ft. The whole race has about 7000 ft in change of elevation and the topographical map shows about 600 ft at the most extreme portion. Everyone just walked up except for a few who were running for prizes.

I walked. They said we ran over and on top of three mountains. The first one, Roanoke was the hardest and longest. Mill mountain was in between and was really on our way down from Roanoke Mnt and I don’t really consider that a mountain. The third one wasn’t as high as Roanoke Mnt nor Mill Mnt but it was unexpected more difficult for me. I guess I lack the will to tackle it any more after running up the first two. I just walked along with everyone else. I did a walk run going up the Roanoke Mnt but when I got here, I couldn’t muster a run.

Running downhill was fun. It was pure joy. They say watch your knees. I had no problem the first long downhill, but second downhill, I couldn’t manage it any more. My run was like a walk. It was still better than flat! It think it was at mile 15-16 when I broke. It came early. I had a big breakfast and ate all the right thing the night before — spaghetti. Maybe my metabolism is way too high, at mile 16, my tank was empty. It was screaming – what spaghetti, where was the spaghetti you ate. It’s not there.

I don’t remember how I was able to recovery. The crowd support from the community was amazing. I love the volunteers, always. They were the sweetest people. At the food table, I had some gummies and fruits. I think the strawberries helped. I didn’t take some Gu (gels) they were handling out. I think some of the stuff I drank – they were offering scratch energy drink, which I never had before, kind of upset my stomach. I felt I drank too much water also. There was water station almost every mile apart and I drank at each of them until I felt i had too much water and about to release back out in the other direction. I don’t know how I was able to get to mile 20. It was a mile at a time.

I saw my mom at mile 22. At that time it was just plain tiredness. All the hills were behind me by now. There were little ones here and there. The tip to myself was don’t find any excuse to stop, if I stop, I wouldn’t able to bring myself to run again. I was feeling loopy. I was crying, yet no tear. My emotion was all over the place. There were only four more miles but they were the longest miles I ever did. The ‘wall’ was over. I got new burst of energy. The feeling was great – hence I was crying. I saw a flag and thought of ‘the Lord is my banner’ and I cried as I ran. I think at that time there were two more miles left.

Then there was one more mile. Everyone by then was gone at least to my mind. Those who still could run already passed me while I was feeling loopy. All those who were around my pace disappeared. I looked far ahead. They were gone. Somehow the people behind me weren’t catching up either. I passed the 4:45 pacer a few miles back. I was alone. I felt indeed it was the longest mile.

But you know what? They had to put one last hill right before the finish line. I don’t remember seeing the 26 mile marker, but I had a sense the end was near. I saw the hill, but the finish line was not in sight. I turned and said to the runner next to me, I was no longer alone then. I felt being crowded by two or three other runners. I said last hill. The people watching also echoed out last hill. I pressed on. The runners passed me.

I turned the corner. Saw the finishing chute ahead and the crowd. My vision grew dimmed. Only thing I saw was the finishing clock above the finishing line 4:43/4:44. I ran as I never ran before. My mom said she waited at the finishing line and didn’t see me at all because of couple other larger runners were in front of me blocking her view and suddenly I appeared, she said she couldn’t get her camera ready at all as I ran through the chute passing other runners.

My lung was screaming. My back cramped up. I did it. They put a finisher medal over my head. Then the rain started literally. I was just overjoyed. I forgot to stop my Garmin watch! Oh no have to rerun the course. Ha!

My exgirl friend first told me about marathon and Roanoke was her first. The things she told me about really matched up as I ran it. It took me three years to tackle this race. I know I shouldn’t think about my ex any more but I just couldn’t help it. It has been near three years working toward to this race. Every step I took there was like stepping on sacred ground. Weird feeling.

Having obtained it now after working so hard toward this, not cheap, but I didn’t value it. It was just another medal and another marathon. Some day, I will have run in all fifty states and have 50 medals. So this is just one in many for Virginia.

But I am happy at the same time.

The expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action, lust
Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust;
Enjoyed no sooner but despis├Ęd straight:
Past reason hunted; and no sooner had,
Past reason hated, as a swallowed bait,
On purpose laid to make the taker mad:
Mad in pursuit, and in possession so;
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.
        All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
        To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 129

In our Sunday school class, we talked of what things we went after that in the end let us down, and I thought of running this race. Well sort of. It is done now. On to the next one.

Last day

Day 108
It is the last day on my training plan but no running for me today because …it is the day before my marathon. I totalled up my mileage this winter/spring training. I ran more miles than in previous trainings, just by a little, rounding up 350 miles (spread sheet says 346). Personally, I didn’t feel I have run that much over last 16 weeks. I had too much time off. I was aiming for 500 miles at the beginning. O well, maybe next time which is from summer to fall, I will put up 500 miles.

Week 0: 5

Week 1: 10

Week 2: 17

Week 3: 18

Week 4: 25

Week 5: 24

Week 6: 22

Week 7: 25

Week 8: 45

Week 9: 42

Week 10: 43

Week 11: 13

Week 12: 11

Week 13: 10

Week 14: 15

Week 15: 18 + 26.2 (if I finish the race!)

Calm before the storm

Day 107
I am having a great calm before this weekend race. No marathon is easy. I don’t think this one will be any easier than the last one. Three more days. As they say, I hope to remain healthy until the race day.

I had a nice run last night. I almost tripped at the beginning for hopping on the sidewall curb and then lossed my balance. It reminded me to not to do silly/risky things before the race. The rest of the run was uneventful. I was running with some weight and almost couldn’t keep up with the group. It was another silly thing that could overtax myself before the big race.

Our family is dealing with some family emergency/crisis and my mom probably won’t be able to attend my race. I am also kind of not wanting to run but instead to go for a camping / backpacking trip. I will be packing tonight and get on the road after work tomorrow. Probably doing another silly thing before my race. I know racing is everything to me…but kind of want to drop it all and walk away. I could in theory go camping, then show up on Saturday early morning (5 am + 2 hrs from campground) for bib pickup and run and then head back to the woods for more camping before going home.

Don’t know yet. Will have to do all the planning tonight.

Pretty normal

Day 106 – weekend

The weekend unfolded as planned. It was a little better than planned because I picked up my bib on Friday instead of Saturday (I used the extra time to catch some afternoon zzz). The biking event went as expected. Me and another guy biked into DC for the cherry blossoms. It was part exercise and part social. The flowers were past their peak bloom but they were still stunning nonetheless. Heap of people. We couldn’t really bike, we dismounted and walked and then biked back to Alexandria.

The next day, I did the famed cherry blossom 10 miler. It was my first year running it. I was assigned to the red wave starting group (2nd wave), 3rd wave from the elite group. I got as close to the first wave as possible to see the elites off but couldn’t see anything. When it was my wave group turn to run, of course everyone around me was super fast. The entire race, I felt I was running backward and it was demoralizing that I couldn’t keep up with them.

My time wasn’t bad. I reached 5K point at 25 min (I ran 24 something couple days before). I reached 10K right on pace too at 50 mins and 15K at 1:15, still pretty much on pace. I was keeping a pretty constant pace. I finished about 30 seconds from my personal best but didn’t break it. It was close. I actually was not trying to run too hard because my marathon is coming up. It was still taxing no less.

At halfway I was a bit tired and my pace was slipping. A friend came out and cheered me unexpectedly. I heard someone shouting out my name from the crowd, of course my bib has my name, but I turned and searched for the voice. And saw my friend, someone whom I run with weekly, from the crowd waving. It gave me an extra boost for the next couple miles.

Also, I reached the part of the course where the marching band were performing, and they gave me a boost. I don’t know why I love cadences. My feet felt in step and I was surging forward. Too bad it was short lived. Once I don’t hear the drum any more, my pace slowed down and people were passing me again.

The event was well organized. I didn’t stay too long afterward. I had scheduled a fitness session at noon so, I left to get ready for it.

We did about couple hours of light exercises and hiked along the C&O Canal.

Nearer

Day 105 – kind of a long Saturday Rambling

I feel like whining. I have been sleeping early and waking up early. Trying to square away my life. Boy do I need to get my life together. It was a little in that direction this week.

I put away reading my cheesy online novels. They are such a time sink. Most of the things I do on my phone are a time sink. Every time I pick up my phone, it could be 2 hours gone by without notice. Hence, I usually don’t sleep until past midnight. I controled myself this week.

I had a quite an adventure yesterday. Went out for lunch and left my phone at the restaurant. Luckily the staff picked it up and kept the phone for me. I later went to get it. It created a little anxiety separation for me. And my plan for the night was disrupted.

I was going to go out for maybe a 10 miles run and remembered that I signed up an evening 5K race at Crystal City. It was a rare event for me. People say I just signed up too many races and can’t keep track of them. I did this one last year. Pacer has this event, every Friday in April, you can do a 5K after work and then chill with a cold beer.

I didn’t chill. I was rushing to pick up my race package for still another race back in DC, the Cherry Blossom 10 miler for Sunday. I made it back into town before the place closed. Got my bib.

Still, I took the train home. Picked up my car, drove to the restaurant, which was back the other way across town. Got my phone, then realy chilled. It was 10 PM by then. In our beighborhood, there is a fad with popups like Kungfu Tea. They are everywhere now. So, I stopped into one of them and had my Kungfu tea before driving back home. The Tea kept me up all night and I caught up with most of the online novels. Went to bed with a smile. It is like an addiction to me! Late, very late to bed!

I am just a week away from my spring marathon. My best friend asked me how my running has been. Not ideal. It is too late to do anything about it. I had couple weeks of rest in March because of shin splints and also some personal matters that had kept me from running. I am slowly easing back in. It is like a reverse tapering, but before the race! Interesting.

We were blessed with good weather this week. It was actually quite good weather for running. I ran a 5k race last night. My time was 24:25. Not the best, but it was in the 24 min territory and that for me is good. There were not too many 5k where I got to the 24 min range, I probably can count them.

I had an amazing run Thursday night with the group. There was a new guy showed up. He and I were the fastest that night. We had a slow start but gradually increased our pace over a course of 4 miles. Half way I was out of breath. We eased back down for my sake. Then at the last quarter of mile, we went all out sprinting. That was the bomb, because in my life, I never tried to run my fastest with someone except for races. … I mean in a race I run with strangers, but this time, it was like competing with a friend. I was like a 5 year old. I totally emptied my tank on that last sprint.

No hiking for me this weekend, and kind of disappointed at this. Actually there is no hiking planned until the end of the month (and I might be leading it). Last week trip was so awesome, that it was kind of expected to have one every week. But for me, hiking/backpacking is a lot of work! I just like someone to do the work for me.

I think this weekend will be a normal one. I will will have a social biking today from 10-3pm to see the cherry blossoms. Then I should rest early, for tomorrow I will do the cherry blossom 10 miler.

Blossoms

Cherry blossoms are blooming and the horde of people descend to the Tidal Basin to film and take photo of it. I went with couple of my office mates.

Cherry tree in full bloom with people milling about at the tidal basin, overlooking Jefferson Memorial in background
People at the tidal basin, overlook Jefferson Memorial
Photoshoot of cherry tree blooming with Washington monument in the distance, clear blue sky overhead

It is a preview of the famous Cherry Blossom Race this Sunday. I will be running the full 10 miler.

Day 104