Carlsbad Marathon

Day 215


I toed the line with maybe a thousand other runners on an early chilly Sunday morning. It seemed like a small town race but they hosted like a big city race. They exceeded my expectation in swags given out and the expo.

They did it better than the Marine Corps and the Baltimore marathon in some aspects, such as dividing the lane between the half marathoners and the full marathoners, so that the Half marathons did not get in the way of people running the full marathons. This is the first time I have seen it done in a race!

starting line at the Shopp Shopping Mall parking lot)

It was well organized. At least for the Full Marathon. We had plenty of potta-johns before and after the race. There were only a thousand of us and we probably have one toilet per runner. I can’t speak for the Half crowd, they were ten times the size of us. There were plenty of volunteers and water stations spaced at nearly every mile.

I stuck with the 5-hour finisher pacing group until past 13 miles then I stepped up my pace to reached the 4:45 finish-time pacing group at mile 19. However that was short-lived. I ran out steam by mile 20. I had to walk and run for the rest of the race (last 6 miles). Luckily, I was still ahead of the 5-hour pacers. I finished at 4:54 (hr:min).

What a beautiful morning. The temperature was around 50s.

My first goal was to finish the race and the second goal was to finish in 5 hours and lastly to have fun. Haven’t not run much after my JFK 50 race last November I was really nervous about my physical condition. I chose 5 hour finishing time because that was the last pace group available and I did around 5 hour on my last few marathons. The course had a time limit of 6 hours. I reached all three goals and had a good work-out.

I felt great and refreshed when I started out. I did not have the hang-over feeling for having lack of sleep for the last couple days. The Hotel was great but because of the time difference I didn’t sleep that well. Also I have been going to bed quite late (past midnight) and waking up quite early (3 AM) – biological clock from having East Coast time. Or maybe it was a pre-race jittery. I always have that before every race. I would wake up at every hour and check the clock.

The view was beautiful. We ran along Carlsbad Blvd (local name), which is also called Hwy 101. Hwy 101 hugs along the coast of entire California and is considered one of the most scenic highways in America.

There were many pretty lookouts but I am not much a photographer to capture them

My nutrition plan for this race was out of wack. At first I wanted to go to Target or Walmart to pick out sone candies or chewys for the race but I procastinated all day yesterday and by the time I could go, I was too tired and decided to just wing it. Meaning let manna comes from heaven.

I had chinese food two nights before: white rice, broccoli, mongolian beef, scallion and chunk of carrots and ginger with some kind of chinese sauce – probably oyster sause. Yum! Last night was even better. I had a wedding banquet – a fancy buffet style kind, but I felt it would be rude to get a second serving. I didn’t see other people getting a second. I am not good to describe what was on that menu.

However, I think the Bride/Groom secretly ordered a side dish of Chicken on hamburger buns with sweet potatoes fries for me. I was so surprised when I returned to my seat after going to the buffet line and saw the fancy burger on my plate on the table and no one can tell me who put it there. I even suspected if there was some mix-up of some kind, maybe for people who are on gluten free diet or vegetarian. People were asking ne if that a real chicken breast. Mind you we were on a farm and there was no McDonalds or ChickFil-a nearby! Bride and Groom used to run a few half marathons before. They must have brought it beforehand for me. I looked around no other people had special meal like I did. It was a mystery but I was so touch, because it was supposed to be their day not mine. And how thoughtful of them.

As for breakfast this morning, also from the bride and grooms after the guests have left, they gave them to me. I think it was from their secret stash. I took couples of them and ate them before going to bed but saved one for this morning.

Crunchy pre-race breakfast. I was going to stop at a McDonalds but ran out of time. Chips would do

As for during the race nutrition plan, I had a 6-8 oz hydration bottle on me during the race, which I sipped from it for the first 13-14 miles. I was a bit dehydrated even from the beginning. My mouth was dry. Also my throat was hurting from all the potatoes chips I ate late at night. For the second half while doing walk-and-run I used on course supplies. Their Gu was quite good. I was afraid to use Gu at first because the last few times I used them I had an upset stomach. This time there was no issue. Also the gel was in a much larger package and it was less sticky, they were almost sauce-like and I like them a lot. They were not too sweet. I think I used about three, one at the 16 miles, 20-ish, and 24-ish.

As with all marathons I did, the last mile was the hardest. I don’t know how I overcame that, maybe one foot before the other, but I finished it and sprinted in full stride after the 26th mile mark. It might not look that way, but in my mind I was sprinting, crossing the finish line and reaching all my goals.

One of the post race goodies. I noted it required heating for 90 seconds in a microwave, but unfortunately I did not come prepare with one. The rice probably can be eaten without heating but I didn’t try.

Post race: I sticked with the usual bananas and crackers, and water. I chucked two cartons of muscle milk they gave out. Ah that felt so good even though I am lactose intolerance. I feel sorry for whoever will be seating next to me tonight on the plane on my way back to Boston and then DC in the morning.

traveling time

Day 214

OK OK. I flew to Boston to pick up a milkshake and then finally got to San Diego. It was a lay-over because of the cheap ticket.

I love Jet Blue. I have been flying American, United and Delta. Recently the last few trips have been with Delta, but Jet Blue is above them all.

I got a free check luggage, well probably included in the price of the ticket and had also prority boarding. It doesn’t matter to me much since I was not using the overhead bin. Our flight was full and some people was forced to check their luggage too. They were not trilled.

I flew Jet Blue many many years ago when I went to Boston. I haven’t been back since then. Might have been 15+ years. The airport has changed. At least I couldn’t find McDonalds or maybe it was Burger King. Any way the food court was not how I remembered it. A lot changed in 15 years. There used to be a big food court and now it is a TSA security check. I got my Oreo Milk Shake and happily reboarded the plane to my destination. (and you know why I was hungry later on? no solid food for dinner).

The lady at a seat over was having her plate of Walburger on the plane with cup of fries and here I was thinking, why I didn’t think of that.

O why I love Jet Blue? Free WiFi!!! And electrical outlet at every seat. Thank you Amazon for partnering with JetBlue. They give air mileage points for shopping on Amazon and free Prime Video.

I had plenty of leg room. It is not business class but every seat feels like one. I flew Delta on my Chile trip and Jet Blue felt like it has way more leg room. It doesn’t matter for me, since I am ‘short’ any way. I am like an inch or two shorter than my peers, though I am a tall guy in my family.

The trip was long and by the time I landed it was 7:30 local but actually 10:30 back home and I was hungry and sleepy. I have been on the go since 8 in the morning, that was like 5 AM local. Cheap ticket I tell you. I was too tired to explore the city.

I ate at an authentic ‘Cantonese’ cuisine at the airport while waiting for my baggage at the baggage claim. Yes it has some Cantonese flavor – steam/boiled carots – tasted authentic alright. Everything was bland except for the mogolian beef with scallion. I love carrots but somehow I had no appetize. They just don’t look good when they are not cut right. It was a bit too thick and there were lot of them, whole plateful. Truly I finally realized the different between Cantonese vs the normal chinese carry-out that I eat every day in the East Coast. But chinese was probably cheapest meal I can afford at this time. I used to not mind paying $14-15 for a meal, but now that seems to be the minimum. My chinese dinner was $12. They did say expect the food to cost more here in San Diego.

I was still hungry after picking up my luggage and got a rental car. In no time I was zipping down Interstate-5. Didn’t know at the time but I had no clue where I was going. Just zipping down the highway toward Los Angeles. North was where I wanted to go.

I almost did not bring my phone on the trip. I would have been so lost and would not make it to the hotel. Another thing I almost forgot on the plane was my passport. The air attendant stopped me from going back into the plane to retrieve it, but luckily they found my passport and brought it to me.

I missed having a traveling companion like back in Chile, because I didn’t need to figure out where to go. I was now on auto pilot mode just following the flow. I had to tell myself, well wake up and find some direction otherwise I would be in big trouble. Um, where I am going again?

Luckily I booked everything on Orbitz and it had the direction to the hotel. With a few taps I got the map and navigation going.

I checked in at my hotel, staying in Best Western in Encinitas. I butchered the word many times over – to me it is a food. The hotel room was more beautiful than any other I have been in. I usually stayed in places like Days Inn. This was heavenly and all by myself! This race would costing me arm-and-leg at any other time but fortunately the price I paid for the stay is like any of my other previous trips.

Of course I am here for a Wedding. The marathon was something a bonus on top. Danged, my suit is ruined because I did not fold it properly. I thought I followed the directions as shown on YouTube of how to fold a suit. Anyhow, yup Wedding and then a race the next day.

I love my rental car too! Nissan Altima has plenty of zoom-zoom as a friend told me. It is my first time driving one. The guy at the counter was offering Nissan or Kia and I couldn’t say it fast enough give me the Nissan… like a race car or something. I know I wouldn’t take a race car if he hands me one. It has about the same horse power as my truck but in a much lighter and smaller body. I love it. Of course I was also thinking I am blowing away a month worth of food while driving the car (I have been very cheap with my meal lately – like $2 a day limit), and it pained me to pay that much for a rental. I love the car though. You paid for the feel.

That’s Day 1 of my trip. Best remembered by oreo milkshake from Boston and fast driving on the I-5.

Flying over Boston. I was trying to find the Gillette Stadium and didn’t know it wasn’t even in Boston. Duh.


Day 213

Finally I did a couple short runs last week. That was monumental. All thanks to my running group. I finally got myself out of the door. It was good to be back on a regular schedule. I was glad to see familiar faces and some new faces in my running group.

up and coming – A Race! But you know, I feel like I am under prepared for an exam. All the plan I had about hitting the road running after my trip from Chile were up in flame. It was more like smothered out by the holiday season. Why I feel that way is because I have a marathon to run this weekend and basically I put in a total of 10 miles on the pavement in the last five weeks. I have never feel so under prepared for a race!

To San Diego. The first race this year will be in San Diego, for Tri City Carlsbad Marathon. I will fly out tomorrow afternoon and come back on Monday. We have a holiday. Yes another Holiday! Looking forward to bagging the state of California.

to Bolder Boulder, CO. Our running club is going to Colorado for the Memorial Weekend in May going I think a 10K. It is called bolder Boulder (city name). I just like the roll of tongue.

We got a massive Air b&b house that can sleep 30. Our group leader had that off and I gave my initial payment for it. I still have to sign up for the race and book a flight. I hope a lot of people will join, so my share for the house will go down. Currently we are each expected to foot about $200 for a three night stay.

Talking about numbers! I have been doing lot of that last week. I finally did a total of my trip to Chile and it was under $2,100. Probably the cheapest trip so far. I had to do it because I was out of money. As well as there were some fraudulent charges on my account so I had to get that sort out. My bank was very helpful. I got the last bit straighten out today. It was complicated, somehow. The representative said it might still take up to 90 days and I should continue to monitor my account. ah! I might forget about it three months from now.

I had to pull out all hat tricks for my up and coming races. I have been looking at flights for my trip to Colorado in May and another Marathon in Maine. I was contemplating which day to fly. Apparently flying out on Saturday or Sunday is cheaper than flying out on Friday. I almost decided to fly on Sunday arriving early Monday morning, run the race on Monday and then fly out immediately Monday afternoon. This way I save on the Hotel!

As for my trip to Maine, I have looking at the option to drive 10-11 hours there but the car rental, gas and toll came out to be just about break even with flying. I don’t want to use my own car.

About my car. It had been a busy week stressing out on my own personal problems. Car. In my state, probably any where else too, we have to take our car to the mechanic for a safety inspection once a year. Mine car is due for one at the end of this month. So, last weekend I took my car in for the inspection. Normally this only should take half an hour, but for me it took over three days and I still haven’t had it passed.

What’s wrong with it? Nothing and everything. I realized the tires were under inflated and I did not have coins for the air pump at the service station to fill them up. So I searched all over my hous for coins.

The first station I arrived the pump did not work. I drove to a second station. There were two cars in front of me. One of them was having the car cleaned. So I queued up waiting. Then the lady in the second car knocked on my car window, I rolled down mine and chatted. She said her car has a flat and she wouldn’t move her car. By that time I probably waited half an hour already. I ugnored her and said OK. Aftr waiting a bit more, I looked out my window and guess what! her front tire on the passenger side was indeed flat! OK she is really telling the truth, she couldn’t move her car. I had to go to another service station and got my tires pumped. As you can see, it is just string of bad luck! I spent my Saturday driving around my town looking for a gas station with a working pump! On top of that apparently there was something going on that we had gridlock traffic in my small town on a Saturday.

Unbelievable Life! That was only scratching the surface of the frustration I had. I replaced my windshield wiper. I won’t go into that. I then went for inspection and failed because some lights were burnt. I replaced those and it was a long story too juat like the tire incident. Today I finally had all the lights replace. I will take my car in for another round of inspection once I am back from San Diego.

catching up

Day 212

I was just looking back at last year resolutions, to get some ideas for this year. They were not bad.

1. eating healthier – kind of did that. At least during July and August, I cooked my own meals.

2. train more consistently – I certainly stepped on my runs last year, while giving going to the gym.

3. Make new friends, yes. I deepened my relationship with couple people and it was rewarding experience. Some are online like you dear readers.

4. camping by myself – yes, I went to Wild Oak and ran the loop, while camping the night before all by myself. I planned some smaller trips (like Seattle). The Patagonia trip, though didn’t plan or led it myself, it was definitely very challenging and rewarding.

5. saving money – ahh. 2019 was unbelievable in term of investing and numbers by measurement aspect, and made quite a gain myself. Yet I spent significantly more and my earned income was not that much to begin with, so I was near the point of being bankrupt after my trip to Chile. I think I have less money in the bank now than when I was in college!

I had to stop eating out for a while and I was digging up food from over the places. I found cooked meals left in the company freezer I prepared back in July and ate those. Of course, I got sick after I ate them. I found frozen chicken breasts in the freezer from also July. I cook those too and got sick as well after eating. Any way, I survived. That was my start of the new 2020!

Also I was begging a coworker of mine for money for a race. I run ‘Run my heart Out’ every February, but this year, I don’t have the money yet to pay for it. It is $40-50 depending if I get the early registration. My coworker rolled her eyes. I should put up a go fund me.

A joke for all runners each new year is we all try to run as many races we can afford and a few we can’t.


Day 211

Either so much has happened or nothing has changed. It has been all talk about running but I still haven’t stepped outside my house for a practice session.

It was good I got a little hiking done over the weekend. It was not much, just under 6 miles. In the past, that would serve a warm up. Still I did not capitulate on it to get some running done.

A new year brings new (or renew) resolution. I did not care to make any this year. It is surreal we are in 2020. Maybe the trip of a life time really dulls my senses on the mundane things of life.

It was not until last night, when I went to church, I was awaken a sense of passion.

The reason we do things is drive and passion and resolution. The pastor expounded on the word ‘resolve’.

I have been disappointed in myself in being inactive physically (as well mentally) last five/six weeks. It is not what I want of me.

I have a bunch of bucket list items! Many of them will take more than a few years to do, like paying off my car loan! The passion is just not there to do them…

Resolve means a decision or an ultimatum and a declaration. There is not and should not have any further discussion. I need this kind of will. To make a final decision. To make up my mind and put away my distractions.

I renew my resolve to run in this new year.

We seek transformation. To change from what we are not to what we want to be. Transformation means a radical change. Each year, I look at myself, and I want that kind of change. To be a year unlike any years before.

To change means to cast aside something. My pastor from a previous year reminded me in a sermon, no matter if last year was good or bad, we leave them behind. We pick up and look forward to expect and do something new.

My ‘vision’ for myself this year is to see myself crossing the finish the after running 70+ mile at 1 or 3 AM in the morning. Why? I am dreaming to finish by 1AM. No DNF. Run even if is raining that day or Cold or lack of sleep or tired, I will push through. This is my transformation. That is my biggest race for 2020…unless I want to attempt a 100 miler in the next winter.

PS. The pastor gave stirring speech about seeking God and renew our commitment to the Almighty. I found that it can be applied to all facets of life, like running.

Mountains and Valleys

Day 210

The kind of race I like best is one that goes up and down. Yes it iss hard to run where there are hills, but it is what so fun about it. Thinking back, my memorable moments last years were the Baltimore Marathon where there were ‘tons’ of hills and Morgantown, and Jack and Jill in Seattle.

Life is kind of like that. Having came back from Patagonia, I was feeling very good. Nothing is compare to that kind of experience. Now back to daily grind, I seem to be in the low valley.

I have not run much since getting back. I have to get through this rut and refocus my mind. Who knew running require so much much mental power! I feel so weak in my resolve right now.

I went on short hike today on Sugarloaf Mountain in MD. I was a very light excercise but it got me outside the house. Yay!

off running

Day 209

Since getting back from the trip a week ago, I only ran once and that was about one to two miles during my lunch break.

I really have to give to the two holidays…no wonder people talk about gaining weight and messing up their diet during this season. I did not have as strong a resolve as I did in the past. Xmas and New Year really throw a wrench in my running plan. I was hoping to immediately started back on my running regiment once I get back, but now I have been off it for unimaginable long time (3 weeks).

With the new year tomorrow, I hope to finally get back into it again. Maybe I should start running tonight!