Day303 LH#4

I decided to go to PA this weekend. Staying at a campsite tonight. Normally, I go into the woods and camp to my heart content, but my mom is with me. She can’t do the wilderness survival stuff I do, so we are staying at a more civilized campsite, where we have bathroom and we are three feet away from the car.

One benefit is we have unlimited amount of food. I don’t have ration out my portion. A store or bakery is only several miles away. There is probably no bear.

Tomorrow I will do some running on the Laurel Highlands Trail. I have done it before at this section. Twice at least. LH1 and LH2.

I hope to meet up with couple other people to run together. We are just doing a short run. No one will be doing the whole thing (,70 miles).


Day302 crawling

The day is crawling by.

I was caught in the rain last night. I got my move back and ran 10 miles. It started raining at mile 5 and I had to head back. I checked the forecast then and it was showing the heaven is going open up. So I took shelter in the bus station and double check how long it would last. It was showing going last until midnight. I told myself, I am not sleeping in a bus station, I am heading home.

So dashed into the rain and ran as fast as I could. Luckily the rain was not as heavy as forecasted. After a mile or two the rain was gone and I arrived home. The heavy downpour didn’t start until midnight.

Thursday and weekend starts tomorrow. My camping trip is canceled. I am itching now to go to PA to do the 70 mile run on Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail (LHHT). Couple runners might do it but no one has committed. I don’t have a crew and it will be tough to take on. 22 hours to get from one end to the next. For me the problem is what to do once I reach the end. There is no signal to hail an uber and I will be 70 miles from my car and no town nearby. Jonestown is a bit away, if I must, then got to hike to the nearest town in the middle of the night.

I haven’t thought it through.

Or I stay local and run my 70 miles here. Or drive down to Tennessee border and do my long run there.

My GVRAT race has less than 90 miles to go. Then I would finish the 1000k challenge. Hoping for another 10 or 15 miles to knock off some of those miles.


Day301 RnR

I need some Rest and Recreation time. Couple nights (Monday) ago my body just refused to run.

I had planned to run about 18-20 miles that evening. I was halfway through at mile 9 and I could feel it, my system shutted down. Usually I could run forever once I started running. You just lock yourself in a pace and the body does it thing and your mind roams and daydream and does it thing.

But the Monday night run was hard. I told myself, let walk a bit. Actually I didn’t realize I was walking and my mind woke up and said body when did you started walking?

So I decided to walk a bit. Run and Walk is a good strategy for a long run. I tried to restart running here and there but in the end each time I lasted for maybe a block or two. The last four miles I gave up completely. I walked all the way home, choosing the shortest path possible.

There was the fear I couldn’t get home at all. When you know it has been easy to run 18-20 miles and now you are stuck at the last few miles and it felt like an eternity.

In the past three miles was like half hour for me and in term of running time it is fast compare to 4-5 hours of my total running time. It should be like a blink of an eye.

But my last three miles was a struggle. I was walking and thinking, this can’t happen to me. Will I have to call a uber to pick me up, being only three miles from home?

The last time something like this was last summer when I had Lyme Desease. I went into the woods last weekend. I checked for ticks afterward. I hope it is not that. Last time though it took a while (over a month) for the symptoms to appear. I hope it is not that. I hoping it is just plain fatigue.


Day300 review 20.8

A last minute change of plan, I do have a post for today, which I have written back in March but decided to keep it a little longer until I reach Day 365, because it makes more sense that way, since it is a yearly summary. For this quarter though, it will just a normal summary.

So bear with me. A review is usually take me more time to write because I have to go back the last fifty posts and glean some insights or find something interesting to retell again. I am doing this for myself as well as for some people (my real life friends) who only stop by every so often and they want to know what the scope with my life. This will give them everything. I bookmark (under bookmarks) this page so they can easily find it as well as other monthly/quarterly summaries there. The last quarter summary is given here.

This quarter was relatively quiet since we were all sheltered at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. All my races were canceled, including the one coming this Saturday, which I have been training crazy since returning from Chile in December. I didn’t take any trip since. I was working from home and each day was like the next, very alone, and always the same. There was no different between weekend and weekdays – except during the week I worked. We all put in long hours. In the beginning it was hard adjusting to working from home. The normal coworkers/manager interaction was gone. Now I have to manage my own projects and tasks and usually couldn’t finish them within the 8-5 time frame. Everyone hours were all over the place. The day starts at 7 for some and finishes around 8-9 at night, with meals in between. There were very little communication among us except for work. My assistant started out sending me daily hello and then she totally went silent after two weeks. I guess I am not very popular person. The truth comes out – or they too were experiencing the same, ready to kill their annoying family. I am not offended. So be it. We have Zoom, but everyone is exhausted from that. I do it for church and my running group, so it was really fatigue.

My work manager called me from time to time though and usually it is not about my work — he treats me like his friend – we talked about investment and everything. Mostly he does the talking. I love phone calls. Millenials hate it, hence the ‘silent treatment’ from them. Those are who I work with. I got into investing because of him. We were playing the market like crazy during this pandemic – he said so himself, it was very risky and he admitted that it was no longer sound investing but gambling. We lost big time after the first week, he stayed out of it now but I gambled on the airlines, and burned by that. Not blaming him on that, he usually gives good tips, airline was totally on me. I did it after reading the millenials were betting on cruises to make a killing when they are bellying up, so I went for the airlines. anyway… my sadness 🙂

One good thing / bad thing came out from this period, depending on the perspective, was I had to cook my own meals because all the restaurants were closed/ and I was too afraid to go get food from them when they reopened up. I ate healthier.

As the result, I saved ton of money. There were no races to sign up, no eating out, and no trip to go. I didn’t order things online because there were no trips to go. I only buy stuff for my running or backpacking. No trip means no shopping. Money only comes in and no where to spend it on except the normal “fixed” expenses like housing and car payment. Oh, my transportation cost dropped to near zero. Is not life great!

It was sucks though. I was going crazy really and experiencing depression, lack of motivation, and a bit maniac side too – can be seen in my running, since I live myself. It was like being in prison, yet knowing I have the key to the cell. There was nothing to do! I have two other roommates but they left the during this period. My running was not going anywhere. There was very little motivation to run since there was no race to train for — for me it is like why study if there won’t be a test?

I did couple virtual races. The results were not good. The course around my neighborhood sucks – since it is not a real race – cars don’t stop for you. I just not running my heart out. There was no aid station, so I had to either bring my own snacks or buy them on the way, which eat (pun) into my time.

Some people ask me what are virtual races. They are canceled races but like a consolation prize given. The race director usually do not give refund since most of the money from race registration are usually spent way ahead before the actual race (such as paying insurance, staff salary, shirts, medals, sometimes race food, site reservation, price money sometimes in term of gift certificates, and usually very little is left over by race day). So the reason they put up so call virtual races where you run on your own at a place you choose, and you report the time and they will record it and send you a shirt and a medal. There won’t be first/second/third place award for this kind of races since it is nearly impossible to certify the course/truthfullness of the timekeeper. Virtual race is just a fun event for us runners, yay.

However, some people recognize the truth and think it is a scam and raise hell to the race director (my Shipyard Marathon was like that, 9/10 of people were unhappy about doing a virtual). They were such a whinner. True, with one complaint was that the RD was slow in communicate until very late whereas all other races were already canceling way ahead of time. The Roanoke RD were almost at tears explaining why the race had to be canceled. I got my shirts for these races, and I should take a picture of them! They were memorable moments of 2020.

Though I have lived at my place (about 10 years) for a long time, this coronas virus, forced me for the first time to run around my neighborhood. Over the three months I got to know the area better. Not just my immediate neighborhood but the whole region as well. For the locals who know the geography, I went all the way north to Reston, and all the way south to Springfield, and all the way East…to Fairfax Circle (exaggerated, halfway only, but last night I ran all the way to Arlington, but the run report has not been written yet). I explored the nearby places, going into all the trails such as Cub Run, Chantilly along Walney Road, and to Fairfax County Government Center. Only direction I have not done is running to the west.

I did couple marathons, a 50k, 50 miler, and a 100k. Here are reports: Maine Coast Marathon, Roanoke Marathon, DC Rock n Roll Marathon (I didn’t report it though, so no medal and shirt), 50k run, and a 100k run.

Finally in May I was reenergized after invited to run the great virtual race across Tennessee (GVRAT). It is 1000k and we have until August 31 to finish. It seems to be a challenge because I don’t even know if I could do it. 1000k seems too big a number to comprehend. Yet I signed up and each morning or night I would be out on the road running. I never run this much even if I were training for a race. This Virtual Tennessee race brought me to a new level in my training and understanding (this will go into another post), “so this is what the big boys do”. I will write a race report once I am done.

I had a lot of time on my hand during this period and wrote up this little bit of post, freshing out what I really want in life. It is not a resolution or a mission statement, or a vision, but it is a step closer, a dream. It is what is in my heart.

That is it. No idea how to bring it to a close. Can you imagine, half a year is gone? I am still chasing my resolution. I know I have to do better the second half to bring this year to a good conclusion. So much have happened in our nation (protesting, and the virus), many want this year to be done already. I need to focus. What is my goal and how to achieve it.


Day299 Last day

Yay! Tomorrow we will begin a new chapter and we kick this crazy corona2020 in the bucket. Kidding. I think we will live with the new normal for a long time.

Not anything spectacular to write about today except it is the last day for filler. I do have something but they are controversial and I don’t think it is ready for prime time. I watched some Chinese propaganda videos on youtube, how they were exluded from the international space station and another video on why people are missing out on the windfall in investing in Chinese companies. I had some thoughts on those, but I think it is controversial, so I will keep my thoughts to myself at least for now.

But I found a post that is in my queue, that was written in the beginning of May, when I took on the challenge to virtually run across Tennessee. I wanted to know basically on how my body is handling the high mileage. So here a month in, I am taking a look again.

I dare not boast too much about it. My body is recovering well every day! It is handling well. I am sore and they are the good sore of general fatique. I am easily tired and feel sleepy…usually very early in the evening. I want to sleep a lot. I guess it is a good thing for the body to recover.

No significant injury. I battled with shin splint early on but so far they got much better. I don’t think I have what they call hiker legs yet, but it should be getting there. The balls of my heels are hurting a bit. Yes, I am wearing old pair of shoes and they are due for replacement. My heels are taking the pounding, and that can become a new injury, if I am not careful.

Health check. I should get a real physical when the doctor office is open. I think the doctor is in but everyone is leary of coronavirus – at least still present in my area. My state has been claiming this and that metric is showing we are beating the virus but they always put a star next to the data saying excluding the northern virginia which is where I live. They don’t have a specific regional data for my place because it is splitted into so many “political” juridictions – Maryland, DC, Virginia (Fairfax and Arlington are virtually on top of each other), which made statistics hard to come by. I have been using Maryland data as proxy because they are so much closer to us.

I have been at it running relatively high mileage for over a month, nothing too bad. I do take days off, but also want to maximize the running time. It is a delicate balance.

It is hard to tell if I have overdone it, so we will see. Will check back next month. I hope to stay healthy and motivated for at least a month more and evaluate again.

In long distance like this, I read most people drop off after a few weeks in. If I can tough it out for another month and be careful about it, the summer will be great. My secret ambition is to cross the US continent one of this days, so this is really a baby step toward that goal. One step at a time.

hikes life running

Day298 The Peak

I am so happy after what 3 months of staying at home, I am finally back on the trail. Indeed happy trail.

I guess I could always go by myself. The park is always open. Some do if you know where to go. Shenandoah was going to stay open until too many people misused it and it was forced to be closed during the pandemic. It think there were also some politic strong arming against the park officials.

But we are reopened now. Our state went into stage 2. I think there is a stage 3 too. Our local area is still in stage 1 since we just entered it last week, unlike the rest of the state. They have been in Stage 1 I think for almost a month.

So we were back on the trail. The side trails,(trails at park boundary are still closed. So we had to drive on the skyline drive to get to our trail.

I went to bed early after finishing my shopping. However I could not get up at 4am in the morning to do the run. I didn’t leave my place until 6. I still got to the trail couple hours before everyone. I ran about 6 miles on my own.

I put in about 20 miles today mostly hiking, but we did get in 4-5 miles of running too. I am kind of tired now, Vegging on the lazy boy, writing this post. I could run long miles but hiking is something else. I feel so sleepy right now. I wish I can have a full body massage.

I got a hug from my lady hike leader…what about coronavirus 😮? I was like hold on, I need to think about this. This is the second time she hugged me. Maybe for surviving the shelter in place this past three months. And it was the first time seeing each other since the Chile trip back in December. The first time I was hugged was like three years ago when we did our first backpacking trip. Not going to read too much into it. I was surprised that was all, since I am not a feely touchy person, but she is.

My first real hike as in 2017 and also after the corona-covid19 here. Called The Peak and not the mall. Yes malls in our area reopened last weekend. Instead going to the mall we hike the Peak

I love this loop hike since it was really the first hike that got me into the wilderness thing and loving outdoors. Old Rag hike doesn’t count. We did the Anything But Old Rag in 2017 before this one, that could count as my first hike. But the Peak not the Mall, was a hike I saw my first bear literally face to face with one and there was no where to turn and the hike also literally broke me, because it was so hard (now it is like what I do that each day before breakfast). Well it is still draining but not that I need to bed rest afterward for the next two months.

The Peak is the name of a nearby mountain called the Peak. I actually have not climbed up there. They don’t recommend people doing it because of the erosion / to prevent further erosion of the trail. Also the trail up on the Peak is no longer maintained and people will need to have serious bushwacking skill to do it otherwise you can get very lost out there.

My friend also mentioned about next weekend backpacking…I haven’t decided on that trip yet. I do miss backpacking but kind of want to go to Pennsylvania to do that 70 mile run. Will saved it for another post.

I was going to do a random Friday post or Friday fav post… but a hiking post is fine. Also I need to post something to get to Day 300. Just one more filler post I’ll be there. Hope you enjoy! 🙂


Day297 getting closer

Another day likes one before. I am not ready for a random Friday 🙂

Weekend starts soon. I have my fingers crossed. Tomorrow will be busy because I have a bunch of things to do to get ready for Saturday.

I won’t likely be posting a Random Friday post on Saturday morning as I have done the last couple weekends because this weekend I will be heading to Skyline Drive to do some hiking with my hiking lady. Well she is leading a big group this time. There probably 10+ people — note we are still required to wear masks and practice social distancing. No comment on the group size. She said those who are afraid should sit out on this one.

I will be going. There will be a fast group and a slower group. I haven’t decided which group I want to join. I probably with the fast and high mileage group. We will be doing at least 17 miles in about 6 hours. Decent pace. The slower group will be doing 8-10 miles in the same amount of time. The bigger group will do a loop hike while the slower group will be doing a out and back and they can control when they want to turn back.

I am thinking of heading out a few hours beforehand to do trail running on the Appalachian trail. It has been four or more months since I last ran on a trail. I am so excited.

I need to go to bed early tomorrow. No more midnight or 2 AM kind of stuff. I will be in bed by 9. And Need to be up by 4. Trail/Park opens at 5. So I want to be the first one there. I guess my run will go from 5:30 – 9:30.

This means I have to fill up my gas tank tomorrow. I need to do some shopping. I need to prepare for my 1st, 2nd breakfast plus, 1st and 2nd lunch.

Remind me to bring water and a bottle of soda. I need my water filter too.

Hopefully I will have a ton of mileage.


Day296 holding pattern

I’m still in a holding pattern, being lazy to do anything on everything.

Next Next Friday is supposed to be my June race in Pennsylvania, which was already canceled, but I plan to go and run the trail any way. It is supposed to be very hard.

Yet, I have done zero planning. Where will I sleep and when will I sleep. How long will I run. Where will I get food. The whole 70.5 miles trail is in the woods far from any stores, so only way is to stash supplies along the route. Water and food. More importantly water. I have done absolutely zero on thinking it through.

I signed up also for the Atlanta race. I know, I need to buy a map and sit down and draw out turn by turn and have it memorized. Yet , I am sitting on my butt. If I am driving down to Atlanta, I should think about the scheduling. 10 hours going down and 34 hours running. I need 2-5 hours resting. Then 10 hours back. 60 total hours of required operation time over a four days weekend. Plus have to build in 8-10 hours of sleep. Not sure if I can pull it off. Yes, need to think things through. 60 hours is 2 and half day. Technically it is doable. Ya you don’t want me to be on the road driving a 10 hour trip back after 3 days with very little sleep. A recipe for disaster. I was thinking about flying … but possibly corona infection is a concern.

I like doing things and thinking of the big picture, but when planning for the operational stuff, I get paralyzed and indecisive. Simple decision like plane or drive…is taking me two days thinking about it and still no solution. Ya, I know, best if not go at all.

Third trip. I wanted to head down to Tennessee to finish my GVRAT race. I have 200 more miles to go. I think I can run the final 100 miles over a weekend. Yet I am paralyzed with when to do it. The thing stopping me is I don’t want to do it myself. The drive would be long 6-7 hours, one way. Run a 100 mile and drive back 6-7 hours. 50 hours operation. Not including sleep. Need minimum three days to do it. Technically, could leave work a little early on Friday, and do a long drive. Start the run at very early on Saturday, Will finish by noon on Sunday and make the long drive back before midnight. Very tight schedule and also very little sleep. 2-3 hours on Friday. And lucky if 2-3 hours before the drive back on Sunday if I finish the run early. Wish I can get a friend to do the driving for me.

Prepping for a self support run is a lot of work. You have to think way ahead of where you will be at any given moment, to plan for contingency – bail out points, support points. Emergency and stuffs, but I’m so lazy of doing the homework.

Tennesee trip would be a go if I have it on the 3rd weekend of June. This is planning. I need to set a go-no go poll.

Anyway. My hiking buddy is asking if I am free the second weekend of June for some backpacking. I miss backpacking. Yet I want to do the running too. She found another guy to do the hike with, so my interest in it wane a bit. I know the guy. Not jealous or anything, but it was more like ‘a polite or formality’ in asking me, and like I was expected to decline the invitation. I am in a holding pattern. I wanted to go, but didn’t give my yes. Any way, I should do the PA trip myself since it was ‘planned’ since who knows when.

I wish I am more decisive. If it were not for the pandemic, I would have all my weekends planned out…with this race and that race and I hardly have to decide on anything. They all fall into place.


Day295 fillers

There will be probably a bunch of fillers from here on out to Day 300 because I just need to fill up the gap and there is not much going on.

I guess those in the US all focusing on the civil unrest taking place. I have not much to comment on it other than I need to watch out for my own safety. I have been feeling safe in my neighborhood, as you readers know, I take long runs that sometimes last whole day 8-12 hours or longer. My usual daily run now typically last 3 hours, doing somewhere between 12-20 miles. I run from both sunrise to sunset and to late hours into the night.

I have been feeling pretty safe. But now I have to watchout for myself. People don’t care if I am a runner. I might get caught in bad situation. Also law enforcement might not care if I am just a passerby, I might get identify as one of the rioters. I have seen even a CNN reporter was arrested on TV for doing nothing, but reporting the situation.

I haven’t been out to DC at all. I have heard protest been going on for 5 days and police trying to clear the people out.

Our president was trying to gather the troop as a show of force, but seems to fail spectacularly. Virginia has refused to send their national guards for the task. This is unheard of. I have never seen chain-of-command being failed to honor. The commander is chief is calling his troop and his soldiers refuse to obey. This is unheard of. I see a lot of politic going on. Virginia governor doesn’t see the protest in the capital a threat to the nation survival.

But any way, I said my piece. I think we as a nation is comical to the world.

Tonight run was one of my best run. I put in 18 miles. I was light. The first mile/first step always was hard for me. Before I went out I felt very sleepy and I laid on the sofa and slept until past 7 pm. Normally I go at 6. Maybe the nap help. I was an energizer bunny and was out on the road until 11 something. That is 4 hours!

I feel very awake now. I could probably run another 3-4 more hours out there.

During the run, my mind was mostly on the protest. I read many different things. Racial tension is not something new in this country. It relatively new for me. I remember growing up hearing about the Rodney King’s incident. Subsequently other similar stuff took place, and many more occurents in recent times. Charlottesville incident was something closer to home for me. All this was crazy to process.

I thought back to my trip in Chile. There the protests were much more frequent (daily) and much worse. They had the popular support. Everyone would bring out their pot and pan and started banging.

I don’t see we here will get to that level soon. This time there are a lot of popular support but it is not at anarchy state like Chile.

I see America is changing. The constant theme of the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. This is so much more true today than when I grew up. I have seen reports supporting this. Real wages stagnant while expenses and cost of living go up. We have people now working two jobs and still could barely make end meet. At one point it reach a breaking point and society will unravel like in Chile.

Today, I was talking with my manager at work. He was telling me how in China they don’t have credit card. People can only spend what they have. They now switch to digital currency similar to bitcoin. He said we can’t have something like that here because it would kill all credit cards. Our economy would collapse without credit in the system. But then it is matter of time – like inevitably we would switch to a digital currency. He said that is a scary thought.

I don’t know what to think about that but he is right on one thing that we as a society rely heavily on the availability of credit.

That’s it for now. I will think of something to write tomorrow.


Day294 weekly run summary

I don’t remember which days my runs were on, so this summary is kind of a joke.

ah Monday. Normally a rest day but it was too good not to use it for a run. Did 26 miles on Memorial day. Wrote a blog about the run to my former high school. It was a hot day.

Tuesday. Short run 14 k. So about 9 miles.

Wed-Friday. Work got busy. Friday put in couple miles. Weather was too humid.

Saturday. Just plain lazy. Watched the shuttle rocket (SpaceX Falcon9 capsule Dragon Demo-2) launched. Ended up it took whole day and didn’t run.

Sunday. out of guilt ran 20 miles. I orginally intended for 26 or more, but started out way too late. Just too much to do to get ready for work again. Great weather though nice cool 65 ish.

GVRAT progress. I reached more than half way. At 380 miles. There are about around 250 more miles, to be considered “finished”. I haven’t run that much in a month, 380 miles! Normally that about how much miles I do for the whole season!

I finally signed up another virtual race and it will take place in Atlanta. I am a bit nervous because it will be my first 100 miles. We have until the end of August to do it. The event itself has a 34 hours limit (yes, it is a 100 mile event).

I am nervous because I am running on an actual real course and it is far from here. I am thinking on the logistic right now, like how do I get myself down to Atlanta.

The curfew and rioting there is not helping. I plan to do it on the July 4th weekend, but nothing is concrete at this point except that I have paid for it already. Hopefully things will calm down a bit.