Day399 Flex

those who served, vienna Fairfax

Not trying to make any statement…just something I saw on my run

Why is the flag flown at half staff? anyone? Is it because of last week? “insurrection?”

Short blog today… my sister said my blog is always too long.

Learned a new web thing today. TL;DR

I thought it was a typo people put on their blog. I used to code in html right, and I thought sometimes the code accidentally got leak to the page.

Oh, it means don’t read any further (Too long don’t/didn’t read)

Got a new pair of shoes…hope to try them this weekend. to break them in

Brooks…Cascadia – Black with orange strips

Meta: yes another filler post



This won’t be a full blog, just some thoughts.

I was looking into microblogging but not the popular ones.

I joined discord last year, when I wanted to listen a live stream of a translator of a web novel I was following. It is a cool piece of software.

I thought it was an open souce. I am a big friend of linux and stuff where anybody can come and code. Sadly it is not. It is the next big thing though. If the company goes public, I might invest in it. Keep an eye on this.

Anyway, discord is an amazing concept. It is a bridge between a traditional social media and the “new” easier, voice chat.

I was looking something like that but is open source. I didn’t find anything close.

I used to use identica before it changed to pump. It is still available but that seems to be dying.

I was not a big friend of diaspora. I installed that before but couldn’t keep that running. Also that project seems to be at a deadend.

Friendica looks ugly and I never really fall in love with it.

I just found mastodon. This seems to be viable.

I am not too into irc, so discord is not my thing. Microblogging, I am warming up to the idea. Mastodon seems to be my thing… I just need a server to run it.

Somewhat relating. I used to use ikiwiki to blog. Oh how time has changed.

why this post? A filler 🙂 I need to get to Day400


Day397 Top 10

I am a bit vain this year to do a top 10 of 2020 of my runs.

2020 compares to 2019, let’s see. 2019 had tons of going on. I ran my first 50 miler plus going to Chile afterward for Patagonia and did many other stuffs. Thought can’t top that, can I?

But 2020 was not a dud. Still I am kind of scratching my head trying to think of what did I do in 2020. What happened there. So here go boys and girls, the top 10 of 2020 Antin’s running report.

10. I had Carlsbad Marathon (plus attending a wedding). Yes what was I thinking? It was a 007 operation

9. Seneca Greenway 50K. This was pretty dope. We were on the edge of having that canceled due to Corona. We got through by the skin of our teeth. We ran it before masking was required. Yike!

8. GVRAT. The rat race. Awesome in its own way. I ran 1000 miles. Never done anything like this. I ran across Tennessee virtually.

7. GSER. I went to Atlanta-Georgia twice during the peak of the second wave of the pandemic to do this virtual run and both times DNF-ed (failed to finish). We could label it as GSER1 and GSER2. Unbelieverably hard and risky. There were BLM protests and all (I saw more police than protesters though). It was one of the epicenters of what 2020 is about (as you know still ongoing with the elections). I had the boots on the ground! I can say I was part of history. Hey, we take that — both the good and the bad.

6. CRAW. A virtual race across the world and is still ongoing. We ran over 5,000 miles. The fun never stops. 31,000 miles is the end, so 26,000 miles to go. We will definitely be crawling. Are we an airplane though?

5. Camp Anderson. Another virtual event but WTF, everyone showed up in-person and we cumbaya at the camp… true, glad it was just 10-15 of us and not 150-200. It was still a WTH moment. I had a good 6-hr endurance run. Never was a run so hard. Great people though

4. Gettysburg Marathon. Thought all in-person races were canceled? I was able to “sneak” across the state line to do this one early morning (I didn’t tell my family). At the time they were not strict about needing a rapid corona test. Love this race though

3. Rock N the Knob. RTK. half marathon. Awesome trail race. Nuff said. Hardest of hard freaking race…”I need a sherpa”…who came up with a trail and a trail name like this? I will go back for a second. Yup, already registered it for 2021

2. Stone Mill 50. SM50 stressed me out like no other race. We started in the dark and finished in the dark. Way finding wasn’t hard, but I was worried the whole time of getting lost since “those” trails were not on any maps and the RD kind of handwaved that they were there. We did it that I got to say

1. Devil Dog the Lite version. 50K. Hmm. It was the last race I did. In December. Pog! Just a 50k but it has a “heritage” and I felt like I ran the 100. This means I need to do the real 100 miler version some day to earn it – a true devil dog

(Meta: I’m too lazy to post the links to the journal post of the runs I did …maybe some day I will go back to add them. By the way, just go to my run history page, it has the same thing)


Day396 looking back

It is a new year and some years I really looked forward to doing New Year Resolutions but the last couple years I have been lazy/avoiding them.

Maybe because it is facing the reality that they are so hard to do! There are easy stuffs but then there are impossible dreams I want and well they end up being impossible.

2019 was the year I acually sat down and wrote out a bit of resolutions and I have on and off referred back to them last year. I might have grown out of them this year.

Not in any particular order. About eating well…I finally stopped eating out much. I used to ate out 2/3 times of all my meal (yes even breakfast sometimes). Now it is usually only once meal a week. I could do better. Not about eating out, but about my choices. I am still eating a lot of processed food. I need to get on fresh fruits/vegetable diet. 2019 was the year I had high cholesterol count in my body. It is probably still high. (I avoided having a physical last year, but can I deny the reality this year?) This is proven to lead to an early death from cardio-pulmonary disease unless I do something about it. I am considered the high risk population with family history of this disease. I refused to go on medication at the time. I said I had to look into it, such as rhe risk of medication side effects (liver damage) versus risk of the disease. The brief medical survey I did, then to favor medication path. Well two years now, I think I need to make a decision soon.

I was led to thinking about this after coming across statistics on mortality. Life expectancy is 78 for people in the US. Men are a few years lower and women are a few years higher.

Retirement age is between 65-67. Some are retiring a few years earlier. I am still have quite to go before retirement. However, time flows fast. I was just thinking a few years ago I started running. How many more years can I do it. I have been filling up my schedule for next couple years with races. Of course I hope to run all fifty states in the US. I have done 7 so far.

I am rushing to reach my life goal before I am weaken. Sure there are people who are still physically strong into their 50s and 60s. I hope I will still be strong but I am a person who don’t count my chickens before they hatch. I am trying to do as much as I can while I still have the strength.

One of my resolutions in 2019 was to buy a bike. At this moment in life, I can finally could afford one. Money has been tight for the last two years. Spending money on a “good” bike was out of the question. I was at the lowest fund at beginning of 2020 and now I have more than I ever had. Sure I could afford a bike or two. Getting a new bike is no longer the priority. With more money saved, means more new goals.

I wanted to go on a trip this year, like some where far, like Sydney. This is not new per se but now it it moved from impossible to possible. I was there in Sydney maybe 10 years ago. Amazing how time has flied. I wanted to go back this time to run a marathon. Sydney is not the only place. I wrote about Ireland/Vietnam/Hong Kong too are my list of choices. Doing all is impossible but to do one is very likely. Not this year though (my race schedule is nearly full). Winter Olympic in China is not too far away on the horizon (not to run but to see). I might go there. I haven’t finalized the plan yet. These are just ideas.

On my bucket list is to do the Rim-to-rim-to-rim (R2R2R) of the Grand Canyon. I visited this place back in 2018 and 2019. This morning I looked at it again and finally it is feasible. In 2019 it was a dream at the time. The trail across and back is only 50 miles. I can do it in a day, not a problem after I ran multiple 50 milers. I plan to see if I can get two or three other people in doing this with me either next year or the year after. Yes, I am no longer fearful of running a 50 miler.

Friends. I made couple friends along the way in 2019 and 2020. I am not a popular person. I mostly kept to myself. But 2020 has been great. Friendship happened in accident. In school and work too right, you do social mixers and all, but mostly friendship or people met are usually on a superficial level. It is quite hard to met good friends. I don’t even know how to think about this…people without other agendas. I love my running friends. Given I am a runner, hence running friends, but that is not always true. Runners too have their own what-evers. I mentioned a few races I did – how in our areas people are usually quiet, possibly from their position in the government, that they are not too forthcoming in mixing with people or as friendly. I considered blessed to have couple of good friends made in 2020.

Lastly, camping/outdoor trips. I didn’t fare much. I did in 2019 and 2020 went to camping at least once by myself. 2020 was not a legit camping trip because I slept inside my truck (Wild Oak trip) – was too tired to hike to site to camp after a 50+ miles run. I consider this goal unmet. I did planned couple trips by myself – the WTF trip and the Bull Run Occoquan trip. I enjoyed it. They were challenging. I wrote about it in couple entries back.

For 2021 I haven’t set any resolution yet. It is likely a redo of 2020. Most of my runs are redos, that is, instead of virtual runs I hope to run in-person races. But if I think of any resolution, I will write them down, so 2021 won’t be a lost year. Boys we are going to run it back! Yes one resolution is definitely camping – say go to West Virginia and camp. Worlds End trip is a high possibility too.

There will be another looking back entry once I reach Day 400, whether it will be in a few days or in a week, we will see.


Day395 first day of the year

Like last year and the year before, January is a time to sign up races and reorganize my race schedule.

I woke up this morning, finding out couples races have special holiday sales. Grindstone only opens for one or two days before closing the registration until April. I didn’t sign up for Grindstone. I almost did, but did not do it in the end. Grindstone is still out of my league, I think.

I then looked for an easier race. Yeti had today for lottery entry drawing. I was very much tempted to enter. Then later I did not because I was looking for more challenging run.Yeti might be a little too easy.

Rim to River 100 then popped into my Facebook feed. This one seems quite good. I signed up. I don’t know much about the race yet, but couple people I know had done it.

I signed up too for Rock N The Knob. My schedule is cleared that weekend.

The race Highball to Thurmont got shelved. Kind of wanting to do this one. But 2021 is ita inaugural year. I do not want to be jinxed, with Covid and all.

I also shelved Black Beard Revenge 100 at OBX. It sounds very interesting on paper, but the race is close to my other races and it was best to cut it.

Then there were other races already in place.

Marine Corps 50K has me worried. It is too closed to my big run (Rim to River).

CAT50k – I am interested in this race but it has not opened yet for registration.

Blue ridge double marathon would have to wait. I don’t think I have the strength to do it.

What all these races about? By penciling in the important race dates, it helps me to plan for all other things, like vacation and smaller races. Here my current race calendar.

I am always mulling over races to run. So I am very happy when it becomes a reality. Signing up a race is a step forward the goal.


Day394 oho the 3rd 50k

A few weeks ago I mentioned about running the 50K fatass on Bull Run Trail with the Virginia Happy Trail people, or do a 50K on Waterfall Mountain (also their trail), or join a guy running on the W&OD trail (Day391). In the end, I didn’t do any of those that weekend (Day392). But then in the following weeks, I was able to do all three of them. I wrote about hiking on the Bull Run a couple entries back and then visited the Waterfall Mountain last weekend (last entry Day393). They all have been a blast. This 3rd run, on the W&OD was of the best of them all.

It started, unexpectedly couple days ago, I had one of the most spectacular runs (on W&OD).

Our team has been doing the circumpolar run (CRAW) around the globe as a virtual run, that is, we ran it at a place of our choosing, and pretend we are running around the world. This ‘race’ is divided into 12 regions. We were about to finish the second region.

I was not sure whether we could complete it on Monday because the miles left over were a lot for our group (twice of our daily run total). We had about 80 miles left when I went to bed the night before. By morning we got it down a bit (we have people on our team that are on the other side of the world). Then as the day progressed it was down to 60 miles and then to 50 miles. In my mind, if the group could get it down to around 20-ish miles then I and a lady could finish out the region, because she and I could do some big mile before the day is over. But through out the day, miles barely bulged much.

By noon time, I went out and did a 5K. I told my group I would run some more miles after work – gave them a number about 10-ish but I told them we should try to close the region if possible. Some put in a bit more miles. By 5PM, the last person posted to the group that there was only 32 miles left. Everyone said, they finished their posting. A few of them though did not reply (a way to drive me crazy), but I assumed they would not run any more miles since based on past history that was mostly the case. Our group is pretty low key. We rank 131 out of about 200 groups (there are another 100 groups bottom of the pile but they are really not real contenders because they usually have only have one or two people running on their team). Our group is not too shabby compare to them, but we are not really seriously able to run for a prize (there is ‘gold’ and ‘silver’ ranking price). Our team is not even a silver contender. That is true, we all agreed that this CRAW event should not become a pressure. So far, I am well-pleased with how we are doing. We are not fast and we are not dysfunctionly slow (most of the bottom 100 teams are dysfunctional – like one person on a team doing thousand of miles while the rest of the teammates are doing like 10-20 miles). Our team is mostly balanced.

However, as I looked at the remaining miles to close the region, I said we could finish it. I know we have a strong runner on our team (S), and she said she planned to run after work too, however, she is in the West Coast, so as I was leaving work, she was still working and and she did not confirm yet, and so I was not certain how many miles she would be doing or if any at all.

She had been running 10 miles the last couple days, and I did not want to over burden her to run another 10 miles today. She is a newbie ultra runner, who just said to have stepped into the ultra world of running her first 50K a few weeks back.

I asked her if she planned to do 5 miles or 10 miles. If she would do 5 miles, I would have to run 26-ish miles (marathon).

In my mind, it was game on. I was ready to run a marathon or more. I love the challenge. I told myself even if it is a 50k, I can do it.

We had warm weather. It had been cold on x-mas and the weekend that followed, but on Monday, it rised 20 degrees to around 50s. As I left work, it was still around 50 but I knew it would drop back down to low 30s when I finished by midnight. Brrr.

I was ready. I packed my hydration bag with a long pants but I had shorts on, planning to put the pants on later in the evening. I put on a double layer top, a t-shirt underneath and a long sleeves over it. I tied around my waist another long sleeves, for just in case. I hate running in the cold. Put on a glove (just the left one because I lost the right one over the weekend at the Waterfall Mountain.) I carried a hand torch and a giant head lamp on my head. I put couple packs of gels in my hydration pocket and an extra bottle of water in my vest’s other pocket.

By the time I left my work building, it was near 5:30pm. I had until midnight to count as a finish for that day. This was about 6 and half hours. I know I ran 50k in 6 hours before but tonight I had to do 32 miles (which was a mile more).

The extra half hour allowance was not that much extra time. Because, I was not in race day condition…first, it was the time of day. In a normal race, we would start in the morning. Now it was at the end of the day. The body is not as strong or fresh at night than in the early morning. Also in a race, there are rest stops and aid stations. This time, it was self-supported (I had to carry everything on me like water, extra clothes, flashlight(s)). This would slow me down. Also an important factor is race day crowd support/race director/timing device and finish line, which would have given me the extra drive. Lastly, the course. At an official race, the course is usually controlled, but this run was not. I would have to stop for all traffic lights and at street crossings, which would eat into my time. (A 10 min pace could easily become a 12 min pace by waiting for 2 mins at a crossing.)

However, I was prepped and hyped. Let run this 32 miles in 6 and half hours. So I stepped out. I had a course in mind. The W&OD (Washington-Old Dominion) Trail is within walking distance (maybe a mile) from my workplace. Recently I learned someone ran a 100 mile on that trail doing a out and back from Arlington to Purcellville, so 32 miles on it is doable.

At first, I did not know which way to go, then I decided to run toward Arlington instead of Purcellville, since I could get better support (gas stations/restaurants) going into town than away from town. Also I am more familiar heading into town (Arlington/DC) than going the other way. I believe too it would be warmer by a few degrees. The suburb tends to be cooler.

The sun had already set. I could feel the temperature dropped. As I started running, I warmed up a bit but I decided to keep my second layer on, knowing it would continue to drop through the night. Let it be a bit warm now than cold later. I figured I would be the frog in the pot, and I might not notice the gradual change in the temperature. Fingers-crossed.

I decided to check in with my group every 10 miles and to keep them posted. First 10 miles I was strong. I got to Arlington where W&OD trailhead is. My group posted a few more miles by then. There are ‘only’ 18 miles left they said. The time was 7:15 then. I took a 15 minute break. Not intended, but by the time I started again it was 7:30. The night is still early and, it gave me a big boost that finishing the Region is within reached.

I had not heard back from S. I know she would not fail me, but then I would not want to put 10 miles on her. I could run 18 more miles, but I also wanted to be back at my car and not be out for that long. I did not expect the rest of my group (other than S) to run any more based on the past four months we were together (we only put like 30-40 miles per day). I felt we squeezed enough out of them already.

So I continued on toward DC using the 4-mile run trail, which was a ‘continued’ of the W&OD at a light around the corner. I felt I should give S some buffer and in case she couldn’t run, I could go back out to run. The fewer miles I have to do later on, the better.

I didn’t get hungry, but I knew this was an ultra and I need food in order to keep me going later on. About a mile, I know there was a Giant, our local groceries. I stopped there before and knew they have a foot long Italian breads, with cheese and salami. I love the salt content. I set that as my turn around point as well as grabbing that italian bread.

Around mile 15, I got a message from S. She got off work. It was around 9pm. She confirmed she could run 10 miles later that night. I took my second break at mile 17. Why is this significant? Weariness has taken in. I started to walk a bit instead of running. I had still 5 more miles to the car. I told S, she might only need to do 6 miles and at the same time updated the group of my progress. I told them that I would have 22 miles by the time I finished, basically 6 miles for S to do. I also was at the West Falls Church Metro station (our subway), and if our group had enough miles, I would take the train back to my office. No one posted any more miles. So I went on with my run.

However, during the last hour, someone (actually multiple persons) updated their miles and it was the 6 miles total needed, but neither S nor I knew about it and they did not let the group know. My team. grr. But we did not know. Everyone was aware we would be finishing the Region, yet none of them spoke up about having enough miles. S started doing her 6 miles and I did my remaining 5 too.

I arrived back at my workplace where my car was parked and told the group I did it. Entered my miles and so did S. We finished our region, 3094 miles in 73 days. We had a few miles over. (A team member on the other side of the world then started the next Region, I guess it was like 8/9AM for her the next day, which is perfect, since we do not want any time off the clock. Talk about a relay)

I did not mind that my run was not a 50k nor a marathon. What matter was we finished the region. It was a team effort. Mondays are normally my rest day from running, so the less miles I needed to do the better. Yet, there I was running a 22 mile on a cold winter night.

I was a bit miff about certain team members who did not communicate to the rest of the team of what they did or plan to do so enable better plannimg for everyone since this was a team effort. The reason is none of us want to run extra miles that do not count toward our goal. We all could run, but if we could be inside, we would choose to be in.


We celebrated the end of the region. I was happy that I finished the run at 10pm instead of at midnight. I still had to drive home, shower, and eat. I still had my Italian on me. I was carrying that foot long in one hand while running and had a bite every so and then whenever I had to wait at a street crossing. It looked ridiculous. However, now I wanted a proper meal. By the time all said and done it was midnight.

I was enjoying the run. It was as exciting as an actual race, since I know every mile I ran counted toward the team mile. I had the biggest kick (or runner high) in such a long time. I felt asleep with a smile.

hikes life

Day393 Waterfall mountain

I finally made it to the Waterfall mountain, a place I mentioned a few weeks back (WTF). It was really a WTF WTH kind of trip.

Actually this Christmas break, I got to do two of trails I wanted to do after what seemed to be a long break. One was the Waterfall mountain (WTF) and the other was the Bull Run Occoquan trail.

I ran the Bull Run Occoquan last weekend. It took me longer to do it than I thought. I intended to run 31-ish mile (50k) on it, but in the end, I didn’t make it to even halfway, Maybe like 7 miles before turning around. The trail was mostly flat and muddy with only redeeming feature was some hills near Hemlock Overlook. Going to Hemlock Overlook brought back childhood memory. It was a special fieldtrip where you can do some rope work (tree climbing/zip line etc) and team building challenges. I enjoyed to have a “real” trail so close to home. I should have or I might have written about my adventure. Anyway, I don’t remember.

Waterfall Mountain was my this week adventure. I might have been there before for a camping trip. It is in or part of the Massanutten Mountain. Massanutten is always muddy and wet. But the cold weather made the trail slick. Waterfall Mountain was dry though. I didn’t see any waterfall. It could be that the trail went around the mountain rather than climbing it.

It is also a 50K course, but I only did half of it due to a later start and also the weather being below freezing, and also my physical fitness seemed to be lacking, and plus my thought was in another place.

I had a bad day that day. As I was heading to the trail I was pulled over by the police for speeding of 17 miles over the limit. I was angry about it because I pretty sure I didn’t speed (I kept within 5 miles over is the most I ever do). I had my eyes on the spedometer the whole time. Also I saw the police tailing me for about two miles before I was being pulled over. Then I was pulled over and the officer told me he did it because I was speeding. No I did not argue with him. He seemed to be angry at me, at least that was my impression. Anyway, that made my day. He asked why I was going so fast and where I was heading and if the car belong to me. I think he got the wrong person. Anyway, I got a speeding ticket.

I got to the trailhead. It was a big lot but only two cars were there because it was a very cold day to be out hiking. The temperature was 24F. It stayed pretty much there and might have gotten up to 30 by late afternoon. I was freezing most of the time (I took off one of my shirt – when running it would be just right, but while walking, I would be freezing, and I did not want to put on and put off my shirt all the time, so I preferred being cold).

But I had to do it. It has been a while since I was on a real trail. I love trails. This year, we did not go camping, at least I did not. I have meant to go by myself a few times but have not worked up the courage yet. So going to the Waterfall Mountain was like my first baby step. I had to read and study the trail notes and looked at the map ahead of time. I considered that part successful.

Now it was a blur but if anyone wants the trailnotes they are available on Virginia Happy Trail Running club site (under WTF). The notes were quite good and I relied on it.

I only did the first half (15 miles) plus 4 miles of getting lost.

I hiked most of it and ran a portion on some easier parts. Because it was so cold, most of the trail was iced over. It was slick. My own water tube was frozen (yes I forgot to push the water down the tube after drinking and it was frozen solid). Luckily, I had a handheld bottle and that was not frozen. Then I put the tube inside my shirt next to my body and the ice melted. It was one of the things that went wrong.

Most of the day I was “tilted” in that I could not get my head off of being pulled over by the police. So I was not paying a close attention to the trails and a few times I went off trail or missed a turn. The worse error was one when I missed the turn and had to backtrack and I became disoriented and did not recognize the trail I was backtracking on. So I had to run back and forth about three/four times over the same stretch and finally was able to convince myself which direction was the correct way. I was within three miles from my car too then and I could actually heard cars going by but I was so confused as which way was the right way to go in order to get out.

I was not scared of being in the woods. The worse case was staying over night there. I did not have my tent on me but it would not have been a life threatening situation. I had enough clothes on me, as well as water and food. I knew eventually I would be able to get out. The question was more like when. I prefer to be out by sunset rather than after dark. First of all, it is easier to find way in the day time than at night. I did make it out a little after sunset while there was just enough light left.

Another memorable moment was on certain part of the trail, I had to go into the stream (well the trail became a stream). I don’t exactly know why since normally people who make the trail normally would diverge water away from the trail. But I had this trail that the water was running down on it – yes trail errosion. I had to step into the water. On a warmer day, I wouldn’t mind. After that section, my pant legs were frozen from the water and the cold. I did not realize this until I got back to the car when I took off my shoes. I had two ring shackles around my ankles.

I then hightailed out of there because I have been wanting to be back at my house since the morning. If not for the pullover I would have enjoyed the trip much more. Yet it was a lesson learnt.

life running

Day392 slow news cycle cont.

There is just not a lot is going on with me as twenty-twenty comes to a close.

We had our first snow this winter. Last week was warm with the temperature up around 60s and this week was freezing cold in the 30s. The snow came but did not stay the next day. I am so jealous as my friend in West Virginia posted nice snowy scenery of their trails. I wish I have snowshoes and join them.

I hate myself for not running when the weather is nice and only run when it is unbearable outside.

I have not done a lot of running the last two weeks. I ran maybe only two days. Last weekend I didn’t run … after written up such a nice plan (day391) but in the end, I did not execute it. Often times I don’t like planning ahead like that because once it didn’t happen it is a big let down. I knew it too at the time of writing it up. What happened? I think I was paralyzed with too many choices.

In gaming term – I am tilting toward losing the game. I did FF (forfeit) the game last week. I need to get back into my running.

What I have been doing instead of running was watching youtube. Dang it is so addicting.

Definitely tilting/inting. I am part of a team running event (running around the world). We are closed to finishing Region 2. Yet I can’t able to bring myself to run these days to finish up the region. We are about 400 miles away. I could have chopped that to 300 or even 200 if I have not been tilting.

I read somewhere that people have a tendency to self-sabotage when they are about to succeed. I think I have that problem (they call it inting in gaming, that is, intentionally losing the game because they are tilting so badly).

As you can tell I have been watching a lot of videos of people playing video games on youtube. Somehow I found that entertaining. I myself don’t play (no computer).

I was also hoping to finish the journal for this year, that is reaching day 400 entry, and close it with a summary. Yet it might not happen. I don’t want to write every day just for the sake of ending the year.

For me 2020 has not even started…I felt still so much left to do. There is something to look forward to for 2021. It will mostly a repeat of 2020. My runs will be the same. I am still training and executing the same plan (for the Laurel Highlands race and Graysons Highland too). One thing different is I have the Rocky Raccoon race in February. My first 100 days will be a bit different because of that. I will start off with a much stronger season than in 2020.

I am happy 2020 turned out the way it did. There was no way I was ready for those big races I planned for 2020 and the pandemic gave me an extra year to prepare for them.

10 more days left for 2020…hmm what should I do? That is what I have been up to. Oh my Garmin watch said I ran 2090 miles this year. I reached and passed my goal of running 2020 miles. This I think is more than my last three years combined, and I think in part thank to the pandemic. I am trying to run a few miles more. I might double this number next year…(not a promise), but might able to.

oh on other news, I am so much better this year than last year, in term of money. Last year I was on the brink of bankruptcy and it was like for two weeks I couldn’t buy food. My boss didn’t fund the 401k (retirement plan) this year … but it didn’t affect me because I increased my own contribution. Cashflow-wise, I probably never been richer in my entire life. I think again thank to the pandemic, my expenses were cut (no more metro rides, and no more eating out, and no more races and traveling, and no more going out). I also didn’t have to buy any new running shoes (no races). I didn’t cut my second phone or gym membership even though I no longer use either of them, this could have save me another thousand of dollars. What am I going do with the money? I can buy my air ticket to Houston for the Rocky Raccoon (and pay for a Covid test if the race requires one). Sorry, first world problem.

If I don’t get to write another entry before the new year – I wish ya a merry Xmas and happy new year.

P.S. Amnesia. I thought I wrote about the Occoquan adventure, but somehow did not. See Post 393 on Occoquan and the Waterfall Run.


Day391 short news cycle

Lack of news because I did the Stone Mill 50 and then the Devil Dog 50K, and ran my last race of the year, I am relatively free this weekend. I was going to do the WTF 50 (course preview), a new course I found by the Virginia Happy Trail people. They are weird I tell you. Ever since I ran their Vicky’s Death March a few weeks back, I am more into their club things and they have tons of set trail courses to run. Last weekend, I joined a few of their members to do the Buck Hollow/Mary’s Rock run and this week I was going to do their MGM stands for Big Butt in latin or Fat Ass Run on the BRR (Bull Run Trail/Run/Ultra – the last R escapes me). They love accronyms. But there the WTF, that a few of them wanted to do today and I like the name. I read it is a tough course. WTF does not mean I thought it means but it stands for WaTerFall. Cute. I guess it is the name of the local mountain or maybe an actual waterfall or a trail name but I couldn’t find it yet on the map.

I felt a bit lazy and couldn’t will myself to wake up early in time to haul my butt to the trailhead. They were running at 6 AM in the dark and the place is about two hours away. Also I didn’t pack last night so it was not happening. I might try tomorrow morning, which will be another great day.

Last night a guy was running a 100 miler on my, yes my track, the W-OD (Washington/Old Dominion Trail). That is awesome. No I don’t own it. I am just surprised any one would use that trail for a 100 miler since it is ‘boring’. I didn’t know it was that long either. The guy ran from Arlington and out past Leesburg to Purcellville and back. It was not exactly 100 miles so he did some loops in the middle of night at the other end point before coming back. I normally ride my bike there but never occur to me to run it.

That kind of give me an idea. Maybe I could do the same!

Why am I going all over the place? I was or am still trying to find out what I want to do today. I could head to MGM for the Big Butt and see some club members or go to WTF for some waterfall or go see this guy who is doing a 100 mile; he is also a club member. Or doing something completely different on my own.

On other news, I signed up to be a sweeper for the World’s End Ultra for mile 35-50, roughly. Sweepers ensure no one left on the trail. We sweep the runners/or herd them to the Aid Station for pickup. Usually sweepers have a tough job to encourage the desperate few who are about to be cut to hurry up. No one was taking this segment so I took it. It will be from 5PM to 10PM. I think no one took it because of the emotional aspect to “sweep” people off the course after they have been running for 12 or more hours but likely won’t be able to make it to the finish. We are the person to break that news to them. It will be a fight. You know ultra people have the indomitable spirit and I will be the one to break that in the nicest possible way.

There was an application process. They would like the sweeper to have first aids knowledge. Usually runners fell behind because of an injury. So I am thinking on signing up at a local REI to have a refresher. I learned those stuff like 25 years ago, so might need a bit of update.

As for the distance, 14-15 miles shouldn’t be too bad. They asked me what my experiences on trail. The race is billed as the toughest ultra in PA, so ya I got to be able to run the trail. I plan to go to the trail in the spring and run it. I am excited. The race will take place in first weekend of June, a week before my A-race Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail Ultra. I was just looking into that. I told them I should be able to handle the trail by then.

Why I am even a sweeper? My friend is doing the sweeping first 20 mile. He said to come down and join him to spend the day there. I think he is also doing the Laurel Ultra, that how we meet last year.

As for the Rocky Raccoon 100, I said I have to book the campsite couple weeks ago. I didn’t and ended up all camp spots are taken! Anyway it means I have run my 100 and not sleep, since no campsite. I might snooze in the car afterward. I won’t have any pacer coming with me, so not having a campsite to set a base camp is not a problem. As I said, I will be running through the night, so no need a camp. This will be in first week of February. Still about a month out.

Yes, I said after Stone Mill, I have to focus on Rocky Raccoon. I need to get up to speed soon. Very soon. That’s the news for this week.



In the previous post, I was very sleepy while typing it up and I really had not finished my thoughts before falling asleep. Any way I meant to finish up the post. After couple days though, I forgot what I was going to write.

There were some “insightful” thoughts while running the Devil Dog race. I really enjoyed myself out there. It was not just the race itself, but the days leading up to it and following it were so much “blessed” because of it.

*already mentioned was the race was harder than I anticipated due to the muddy/”hilly” terrain. It was not really hilly. We are talking about 50-100 ft and not thousands of feet. Maybe I was just not good at trail run. It was a race that took more out of me than what I imagine a 50K would. I believe it was even harder than the 50 miler Stone Mill I ran a few weeks back. I felt I needed more effort for this race than the previous one.

I think Eastern Divide was pretty tough. Morgantown Marathon was tough also. JFK50 too. JFK is in its own class. I just don’t have that much previous tough races to compare to. Devil Dog ranks just a bit below these.

*I already mentioned on lack of preparation coming in the race might be a factor in the previous post. It was not physical preparation, since I just did Stone Mill and I was still relatively fit. It was the mental preparation. I did not give the race much thoughts. I was going to just show up and wing it. I know I would finish it. I view 50k just like a “puny” marathon. By the way, no marathon is insignificant. I thought could finish one with my eyes close. Yet even in the first loop, I wish I could quit after one loop. Of course it was silly for me to quit as long as there is time on the clock. I did want to though.

Funny story was while in my second loop I tried to calculate the required pace for me to do to reach the end of the loop to start my final loop. But in my mind the race had 4 loops while actually only three. I was panicking that I would not have able to start on my fourth loop before the cutoff. Then somehow later realized that the next loop (the 3rd) would be my final loop and I would be an hour ahead of the cutoff. I was laughing my head off for the blooper.

What got me was the speed. In your mind, you have certain pace or time you expect yourself to be able to run. Like I know, generally, I could do 5-6 miles in an hour, depending on the terrain. Devil Dog terrain was not that technical. There are a few challenging sections but most of the trail are smooth and easy to run on. There was an expectation that I could do it in about 5-6 hours once I got started. However, the reality was much different. By the third loop, I was basically dead or half dead. My pace was 2-3 mile then. The jarring difference kind of caught me by surprised.

I am not that into my performance. To me, it was just a long run that I need in order to build my body up for the 100 miler. Yet, what is kind of telling is a 25 miler run is only the first loop for a 100 miler. So basically I was done running after 25 miles. What worry me is how will I run the remaining 70-75 miles and not DNF. I had a probably unrealistic expectation of my body to handle the recovery aspect both during the race and after the race. Yet even that, I need to get my body ready for the much tougher run.

I used the Devil Dog race as a limit test to see how far my body can take it. I saw my limit reached. We have limit tested it.

What I did not go into in the previous posting was the very next day, I went up to one of the mountains in Shenandoah National Park to do a hill repeat run with couple other people. But instead of running, I was basically walking it. I am telling you, it was super hard. My legs just would not move. I did 12 miles of it and gave up. But it was kind of embarrassing seeing my friends effortlessly running up the hill/mountain while here I was huffing and puffing walking up.

After I got home, I crashed on my bed and slept to the evening (then wrote up the Devil Dog race report and quickly felt back to sleep). I was completely knocked out.

I haven’t had experienced that totally drained of energy for a long time. It was fun but yes tiring. I had expected more from my body.

After a few days of rest I was finally recovered.

I really forgot what I was going to write. There were some insightful things I was hoping to bring the previous post to a nice conclusion instead of just dropped off and said that’s all. I’m not trying to that here. I only hope I can recall them.

Why I love running long races is – it takes my mind off things. I love the moment when it was just me and the woods. I could run forever carefree. Pure running. I wish and really deeply inside if I could have heaven be just running to eternity. I like Devil Dog for that doing loops after loops. Runners hate loops, I do too, but once you get into the motion you don’t want to stop. Races are good because I don’t have to worry about the essential things like ‘safety’ and food and water. Those were all provided. All I need to do is just run.

*There is eventually an end. Weird about a race is while you want to run ‘forever’, you do want to reach an end. I would be pretty disappointing if I fail to finish (DNF). I run with all my heart to reach the finish line. I was miserable on the third loop when in my mind the finish line is so near, yet took so long to reach it. It was like every step I took, the end was just been moved a bit farther away because my pace was slowly down.

*Another idea I observed is I hate mud and water, but usually the few ‘nasty’ races I did I really enjoyed it. Same with cold weather running. I hate the cold but once I am in it, I love it. Usually I run my best (a few of my PRs were) in nasty conditions. Is that weird?

Finally, hopefully kind of tying everything is when after all the dreads about running a longer race, is seeing you actually did it. This is more about the Stone Mill race but could apply to any. I was dreading running the 50 miler. Yet it was just one step after another and eventually reaching the finish line. Looking back, it was a cinch.

Addendum. For real, last thought, A race is so much more than a training run. I do a lot of training runs, but when you do a race, it has a different feel. You feel you accomplish something. A race gets to be memorialized.

That’s all. I ask you…what things are you dreadful of but find you enjoy doing once you are looped into it 🙂 hopefully not chores.