19.5 Review

Day 150 Summer / review no 5

[Last] month review (May) can be found here. Every time I write this, I feel like doing a project, except I have no idea what I am doing. I just feel it is right to write a report.

This month/quarter had me twisted in a knot but finally everything sorted out. Well kind of.

I ran couple of races. York Marathon in Pennsylvania and Eastern Divide (EDU) in Roanoke VA. And I thought, I was exhausted from those. I probably were.

The big news was my doctor told me I have high cholesterol. I took the news like I was about to die. I started fasting. No more eating out, no more candy, no more soda. I started to lower my calorie intake. I fasted from food at least once a week, on every Monday and on first of every month. My friend taught me to cook. I wanted to eat healthier. I was handling fine. At least I thought so. It went on for about three weeks, until I began to get weak, very weak.

I didn’t do less though. I kept to my running and camping. We went to Laurel Highland and I had a blast. It was one of those places I wanted to go for a long time.

I got so weak though soon I was not able to run nor hike. People in my running group when they saw me begged me to go home. I persisted but soon I had to give into my body. I was no longer could run a four miler. Then even two milers were like running a marathon.

I went to see the doctor, luckily he was quick to identify that I got Lyme disease. I was put on antibiotic and finally as of couple days ago, I finished the treatment. I regained my strength just in time for me to do the Jack&Jill marathon two weekends ago.

I pretty much back to where I was, being strong again. Granted with almost two months off from my training, there are a lot to catch up. I canceled the 40 miler ultra for August. I am now focus on my September and October marathons. The next report will probably be about those races.

I felt I have come a full circle. The training plan I had for the summer, well they had to be adjusted. It was pretty much toasted. Luckily not too many things were affected. I learned definitely where my limit is. If the body refuses to move, there really not a lot of way to force myself to do anything. I always believe mind over the body, but that only applies for short duration like during a race. It is much much harder to do it during a long illness. I got a taste of being not able to run. Really really not able to run at all when I was seemingly healthy (well I thought so was healthy at the time). I now believe people when they say they can’t run, they really can’t run. Now at least I got back a body that can.

Finally, I can begin my summer training. It is not too late.

Last: https://antin.blog/2019/05/14/19-4-review/

York: https://antin.blog/2019/05/19/two-for-one/

EDU: https://antin.blog/2019/06/15/race-3-eastern-divide-50k/

Jill: https://antin.blog/2019/07/31/reflection/

Filler post

Day 149

Sometimes in TV shows or especially in long anime series, they would put in fillers because the writer needs some time off.

I hope this is not a filler but I don’t really have anything in particular I want to write about. Maybe it is a filler.

I just finished my last dose of my medication. I should be completely rid of the Lyme causing bacteria in my body. How can you tell? People asked if I am to see a doctor again to have them declare that I am healed. Nope. Or Maybe. There is no more blood test as far as I know that can show that I am bacteria free. I am not sure if they can tell, but base on what I read about how they test for Lyme disease they can’t. Many people seem surprised by this.

I am tired from the past trips. I haven’t unpacked my things yet. Last night though, I did laundry. I won’t say much but that were a lot of clothes. Any way, the next trip seems to be challenging in term of navigating because there seemed to be lack of map and direction. So last night, I opened the map of the place. Indeed we will travel off the map for part of the hike. Some of the trails we will be using are not shown on my map because they are not officially recognized trails. We will be doing some bushwalking too. Even the leader of the hike is saying, let hope we won’t get lost. I don’t think we will get completely lost, but we might make a false turn here and there. And by the way, we will hike a bit in the dark. Luckily, I think the moon is up. Where are we going? Dolly Sod, especially, the southern part called Roaring Plain.

VA Beach

Day 148 / False Cape

It was a long weekend. I took Friday off to drive down to Virginia Beach for the weekend. The three and half hours drive became close to six hours because of the traffic. The place was farther than I remembered. I was there six months ago for a marathon (First Landing Seashore 50 K). I was stuck in traffic in the DC area trying to get out of town. We moved about 18 miles and that took almost two hours. I was stuck in traffic when I arrived. It took an hour to just move three miles to cross the Hampton Rd Bridge Tunnel. Weird name. It is partly a bridge and a section of it is a tunnel. I sat there in traffic for an hour contemplation about the bridge and other cars around me. It seemed everyone is going to the beach.

I arrived at the first landing state park campground and settled in. Set up and everything was a breeze to me. I am used to ‘primitive’ camping so family/car camping is like living in a hotel for me.

I went there for a weekend event with a meetup group. I know the leader from previous trips I did. We walked along the Bay. I liked my campsite. Virginia Beach is in an urban area. We went out for dinner. I packed some Mountain House (dehydrated food) I ended up using those just for breakfast. For dinners and lunches we ate out.

The next day, we biked in First Landing State Park. I ran there before and was familiar with the trail. It was not a race. We stopped along the way to look at birds and flowers. It was my first time doing bird watching. We saw snowy egrets, indigo buntings, and grey heron. We wanted to find snakes too. We heard cottonmouth or water moccasins are native in the area, so we tried to spot them. They are venomous.

On the last day, we drove to Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, located in southern end of Virginia Beach. We biked into False Cape State Park. Biking and hiking in is the only way to reach False Cape. You could also take a tour bus called a tram. It is the most prestine beach in Virginia. No one was there, at least we saw no one on the beach. It borders North Carolina. We actually crossed to the North Carolina jus to say we did it. There is a fence between the two states.

We hiked along the beach to get to where we left our bikes.

I am not a travel blogger and didn’t take any pictures. But here is the Garmin tracker that showed I’ve been near the NC border. I think they built a fence to keep NC beach goers out of the Virginia side and it works. You could see on the NC side, people drive their trucks in and there are condos and houses, but across to the VA side, there is nothing for miles. The beach on the VA side has nobody. The fence has a little gate for people to go across but no one crosses into the VA side.

Day after

Day 147

Actually it is like five days after but still it feels like a day after. I ran for the first time. My soreness has gone down. I ran 7 miles today. After 3 miles fatigue set in. It was a great feeling. Kind of. It was like an old friend. It brought back memory of the race and the feeling of being at mile 20 during the marathon, trying to struggle to the finish line.

I had a half hour break and did 4 more miles to finish the 7 miles. I ran with my friend and I didn’t tell him I did a marathon a week ago, so he was running fast (8 or 9 min pace) and I tried to keep up with for most of the distance. It was a great feeling to run fast again! That pace is near my peak speed. Of course I was out of breath near the end.

Looking ahead, this weekend, I am doing beach camping. We will bike and hike and maybe kayak. It is mostly a relaxing weekend. I will do some long run (15-20 miles) on the beach. Totally excited. And swim in the ocean and bay too.

Reflection

Day 146 – full race report (Jack and Jill)

The marathon course by itself is one worth seeing. The course started from Hyak (aka Snoqualmie Pass, which is not near the Snoqualmie forest at all) and ended in North Bend. North Bend is about 45 minutes away from Seattle. The course is point to point, started from the top of the pass end in the valley, with a total about 2000 ft of elevation change, all of it was downhill with maybe 15 ft of uphill. The trail is on an old rail track, so any change in elevation is gradual. The path is wide, a double trail and even 3 or 4 people can run side by side. It is mostly gravel. The tunnel section is paved asphalt or stone.

The race is known for running through a tunnel of 2.5 miles in complete darkness, no light except from either end of the openings. Look can be deceiving. It seemed near but 2.5 miles is far away. We lost sense of perspective and even our sense of balance in darkness. Most people couldn’t maintain their pace. GPS watch was completely useless.

We wore head lamp. But I turned mine off, to kick it up a notch. There were enough light from other people’s lamps for me to see and made out the path, but other people couldn’t see me. It was kind of dangerous, like running with my eyes close (even if I had my light on). I dressed in complete black. Nothing reflected off me except for my shoes and my water bag. Others wouldn’t able to see me as I slipped in beteeen them and passed them by like a ghost.

The place was damp and cold. I felt the draft blowing through. Cold is relative but I had on two long sleeves, and a short sleeves underneath. There were reverberant too inside the tunnel. You see light reflected off people’s clothing. It was an unforgettable experience. I ran (walked) it alone the day before, so I was familiar with the feeling. It was more scary to be running alone. As a group, I felt like we were doing a prison break.

Besides the tunnel, the whole course is scenic. Mountains and valleys can be seen along the course. It was one breathtaking sight after another at every turn. Pine trees are everywhere, probably (Washington) Douglas fir and other pines. It was breathtaking. In the morning there was mist and fog surrounded the mountains and trees. That morning had a bit of drizzle. I didn’t mind. Not many people mind. The rain came to keep us cool.

One thing though, we had to park at North Bend, which was not a bad place at all. It was truely beautiful when I finished the race and looked back up the mountains surrounding it.

As for that morning, we arrived before the crack of dawn at a park, which I don’t remember the name. We were in no mood to enjoy the view since many of us didn’t sleep the night before. I had to wake up at 2AM to get to the bus pick up site for the 4:30 bus. There were 700 of us, so it took a while to transport us up the mountain. If anyone considers running this course, either have someone drop off at the starting line or take a bus up the pass. Most people took the bus. Buses were for runners only during the morning to the starting line. Later in the day, buses would take runners or family or friends members to/from between the finish line and the parking lot.

Everyone brought their breakfast with them. I got more. I prepared a 3 AM meal, a 6 AM meal, and an 11 AM meal. I figured food is my source of energy. I needed to eat. Unfortunately, I lost my 6AM breakfast on the way. Not sure where I lost it. I later didn’t even need my 11 AM food, as seen from all the left overs I carried back. I could have run faster without the extra weight.

We had a staggered start. I think there were at least 5 waves. I started in the last wave and it didn’t feel crowded at all. I passed close to 200 people. Only a few people passed me back. I was racing with the 4:50 (finishing time) pacer, she handled it with ease. She was running close to 4:40 and I was aiming for 4:30 or less. She of course left all her runners behind at that speed. She was a bit confused about her pace since the tunnel section has messed up everyone GPS watch and mine included. They had pace band but I don’t know how she couldn’t keep the pace. Maybe she is bad at math. Our distances and pace were all reported incorrectly. The 4:50 pacer thought she was 10 minutes behind and couldn’t figure out why, hence she was running with me. She finally passed me at mile 21. I saw her again at mile 24 where she stopped and I think she realized she was 20 minutes ahead of her pace by then. She waited and finished at 4:50, a few minutes after I crossed the finishing line.

The race was well organized. We had aid station with water and Gatorade every two miles. You know the race director has thought it out, that Gatorade was served in Gatorade cups and water was in the plain cups. Usually Gatorade was placed up front (first table) and water on the second table. The volunteers called out which one was which. There were stinger/gels at certain stations but I didn’t use any of those.

I hit the wall around mile 18-20. I slowed down to walk and run. I ate my peanut butter sandwich. I recovered a bit. I was too full to eat earlier but I should have eaten to avoid hitting the wall.

My energy returned. I might have able to finish at 4:30 but I felt I didn’t want to push myself. My original goal was just to get to mile 20 and walk the rest of the way to the finish. I know even if I walked the rest of the way, I would still have plenty of time. I reach mile 20 in 3:28. I could run a 10K when I was healthy under an hour. But I was kept on running and was expecting at some point my heart/body might make me stop and I would walk. However, that moment never came. I checked my pace, I was doing 13-14 min mile pace.

Since haven’t had much training run over last six weeks, my quad muscles started to hurt halfway in the race. Luckily they didn’t cramp up. Down hill usually make it worse since it keeps using the same muscle group without rest.

I couldn’t walk once after crossing the finish line. And not even talking about climbing up the stairs for the bus, which was impossible. I pulled myself up. I don’t know how other people did it, but I had such a hard time getting on and off the bus. For the next two days, squading down was a trial.

I didn’t stay too long after the race. The post race food was the usual stuff. There was no pizza but they offered some kind of pasta. I didn’t take any. I took a carton of muscle milk and a bottle of water and couple bananas.

They also have another exactly same race the next day. I didn’t go for the second day but I can imagine someone signing up a second day too. I can’t imagine the race director and volunteers coming out for another day. One day seemed to be all I could take. I appreciate all the volunteers to make it possible. Our first day is like a preview for them. I hope their second day would be just as good.

What else did I do? I cleaned up, unpacked my stuff, I ate like a pig and slept for the rest of the day.

The next day, I went out to Seattle and visited the farmer market. I saw the original Starbucks store.

For the rest of the trip, I drove up to Surrey and Richmond and Vancouver, BC. I ate to my heart content there. I am not much a travel blogger, so I won’t share too much. Vancouver is a nice and big city. I was amazed by its public transportation. It was unlike what we have in the DC area.

As now I am on my way home back to the east coast. I finally understood why Seattle airport is called Sea-Tac. I thought it was a cute and weird name. Sea-tac stands for Seattle-Tacoma. It is kind of boring after knowing the truth. That is a kind of secret I took from Seattle.

Race Completed

Day 145 – Jack and Jill Marathon

I did not have to use every minute available to complete this race and that in itself is a good news. I finished it an hour and half ahead of time!

It wasn’t my best time but I was very happy though. I felt like I broke a record. Indeed, it was a miracle that I could even run.

One lesson learned was that even though the race said I have 6.5 hours to complete, but I started on the last wave and that cut in to my time and in reality I only have about 6 hours to finish (race close at 1pm). So in the future, if I ever plan to use the full time allotted, I must factor in the wave start time.

As expected marathons unlike ultras did not provide food at the aid stations. I also didn’t eat most of the food I brought with me to the course. Here is a picture of the left overs. It looked like as if it was for the start.

Update: I checked the last finishing time for the race. They extended the race beyond 6:30 hours of the race clock time. (The last recorded time was 7 hrs chip time, so they were very generous). My worry of losing time at the wave start is not a concern for this race. Though for future races, the time it would take crossing the starting line should be part of the pacing calculation.

Just a little bit more

Day 144

It is only a few more hours before the race starts. About 9 hours away techically. But to me it is just a few hours since I plan to wake up at 2:30 to make it to the pick up location to get to the starting line.

Everything is set. I wish I could take a picture of the things I will be carrying. I am planning this race as if I am doing an ultra 50K race. I got my water pack and food. Real food. Snacks. Tons of snacks. I got coconut water. Strawberry-apple sauce. Gatorade. Rasins.

I got to sleep. I am excited. I am nervous. Much nervous about this race than when I did my first marathon. The reason is I don’t know if I could finish it or not. I felt I should be able, but who know if my body will throw a curve ball.

By the way, I had an all you can eat pasta dinner at a Chinese buffet restaurant.