Reread

Day 139

I reread a blog post I wrote a few days back about why I run. At that time I thought my running career would go on indefinitely. I was young and there doesn’t seem to be why I couldn’t run except for lack of interest. Now looking back I spoke too soon.

I don’t think I am being taught a lesson. But immediately after that I started to struggle with my run and everything. It is like a switch is turned off.

I did many things since. Too much to recount them here.

Last weekend I had to take a break from running. A 5K was only thing I did. A consolation for me was it could have been worse. At least I finished. I don’t mind when people were passing me because at least I know I have done my best. Run used to be effortless for me. I just tapped on the pavement and I would glide across. Big steps and fast steps and I hardly breathing. Now I am huffing and puffing. It doesn’t matter if I take a big step or small step or if I run in fast cadence or slow cadence, I just don’t go any where. My lung feels like exploding and my heart really twists violently inside and a few times I put my hand across my chest to feel if it is alright. People were calling out to me, asking if I am Ok. Luckily at the 3 mile mark, I had a burst of energy. I felt a little bit like my old self and ran to the finish line. It wasn’t super fast but the feeling was the same. It was like I could fly again.

I have been fasting every Monday for the past month immediately after I got the news that I have high cholesterol. I was determine to lower it. A total life change. I went from eating burgers every day to eating none of those food. I still eat out but choosing Panera or Chipotle instead and usually having a salad or a wrap. So that I cut 15-20% of my calories. No fat or sugar either. Instead of Coke I now have vitamin water.

The result is my run now is 25-33% slower. I can’t get any slower than that. Any slower would be walking. I can walk in a 5K but I can’t walk the whole thing in a marathon. I wouldn’t able to finish within the given time. Walking through a marathon takes about 10 hours and most races stop around 6.5 or 7 hours. I used to do it little over 4. And I thought I was slow because others were doing it in 3 hours. Everything is relative.

I wish it is the other way around. If I improve on what I eat and my run would improve 25-33%. Why food matters? On the weekend I went for a bike ride. Originally I planned to ride on a trail that is 45 miles long from the city to way out in the suburb and back making it a 90 miles ride. This was before I experienced being very weak. It is actually biking to another city in the outskirt of the DC area. By middle of the week, I realized I probably wouldn’t make it out and back, so shorten the ride in half, a 45-50 miles ride instead. I did this distance a few times before. But on the day of, once I got on the bike, I knew I wouldn’t make it at even this distance either and cut it down to 30 miles. My friend was biking with me. He biked slow but he had to stopped and waited for me a few times. The first 15 miles was a struggle. I just couldn’t keep up. We got to Leesburg by lunch time, and we met up with a friend for lunch. I had a whole 14 inch pizza. It was one of a few times I broke my diet. Actually 2nd time since I started eating right. The result was, on the ride back, my friend was getting tired but I was full of energy. I felt I could pass him if I want. We ended up biking back faster than when we headed out. I was so happy. Food really helps. It was an insight.

If I continue on my vegetarian-like diet, I am thinking of taking vitamin supplements. That is a start my friend told me.

Exhausted

Day 137

People are saying I am exhausted. I don’t feel tired but I can’t no longer run fast.

I have been trying to do couple of short runs, just under four miles but they have been very hard.

I would be out of breath after couple minutes and I never was able to get into my pace. I run slower than the slowest person in our running group. It is almost to the point of walking. It is not like I am not trying.

I felt my heart was up on my throat. Garmin thought differently. It said I haven’t broken a sweat. My heart rate stayed in zone 1 (resting) below 90 with on occasion entered zone 2, 93-120 beats, but I felt like dying at the time.

I am taking this Saturday off training.

I also measured my blood pressure. It is low but I am not sure if that is normal. They say runners tend to have low pulse and pressure. Mine is 90 over 65 and a pulse of 50-55.

Still sick

Day 134

I might have some type of bugs inside me. I haven’t felt well since the last hiking trip that was two weeks ago. Probably those ticks got me. I was sick though before the trip, so couldn’t blame on the ticks. I have been checking every day for the tell tell sign of Lyme disease. No sign yet. But I am not feeling fine.

It has been almost every night that I am having a fever, or I think is a fever. I don’t have a thermometer to check. It was not hot like before when I was sick but it too uncomfortable to sleep. I sweated a lot in the middle of the night. I woke up swimming in sweat. Something is definitely not right. I’m tired and it is not running a lot kind, but being sick- low energy kind.

I have no running nose, no cough. Physically well during the day. I was able to run a 50k though not at my best time but did it.

My muscles feel crammy but that is probably from the run and not from being sick.

I had a short 4-mile run yesterday. It was not one of those run you feel great afterward. It was raining too. I felt cold in the end. I never feel cold from a run. I took a long warm shower. I didn’t felt right for the rest of the night. Luckily as always I woke up fine again the next morning.

Surprised

Day 131

I was surprised in a bad way when my family doctor told me I have high level of cholesterol in my blood and that I should take medication to lower it.

That scared the light out of me. I thought those kind of medications are for old people. My mom takes those. Wait, I am not young any more. Welcome to the party, I was told! My body is started breaking down.

Though initially, I have some bias of taking medications, I am resigned to the fact that they do help. You can’t play around with this. I did some reading and concluded my doctor is right.

I decided to take on a total life transformation, meaning, I will do everything in my life to live healthier. Three years ago, I started exercising by running, but not for health reason. However, I paid little attention on the food I eat or when I go to bed. Now I am seriously going to do all these things. I will count my calories intake and I will eliminate fat and sugar from my diet and if possible no more eating processed food. I was told my cholesterol level were high all my life, but now the news sinks in. I must do something about it. I want to live long enough to finish running in all 50 states.

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Here’s an update of last weekend. I caught a cold or a combination of a cold and heat exhaustion. I was sick the Friday night before the hike. My fever came back in the middle of the night and have been like that the last few days.

I still went on the hike any way and did 26 miles. Luckily the fever left me during the day and my strength returned.

I was more exhausted than usual at the end and went to bed early, like at 10. From the hike, I picked up a couple ticks and I still found one on me yesterday. Yike! I got careless and didn’t spray myself beforehand. Hope, I didn’t pick up any Lyme disease.

Also from the hike, I got two giant size blisters on my bottom heels. They were painful during the whole hike. I think because I wore an old pair of socks and I didn’t pull them all the way up and they were wiggling at the bottom. So the extra bit was creating friction and voila blister.

I tried popping them after the hike but was unsuccessful. I was too tired and couldn’t bend my foot to reach the blister. I started cramping whenever I tried reaching for it. Later the next day, I was able to pop them.

I ran with the blisters on Sunday in the 5K race. I didn’t do so well. Finished at 27 mins. I was two or 3 minutes slower than usual.

Funny thing was I showed up at the race course and there was nobody there. Because I mistakenly went to the wrong place. Luckily the real starting line was about a mile away and I got to it on time.

I have been laying low the last couple days because of my illness. I am feeling much better today.

I ran too last night. Every step reverberated in my head – I had a headache still from the cold.

I’m hoping to be fully recovered by coming Saturday when I will tackle my 2nd 50K ultra. I will write all about it afterward.

Friday night

Day 130

I ran last night and did not feel good afterward. I was coming down with something. Last night was very hot and I might have suffered heat exhaustion. I was shivering after getting back to the office. I did not have any clothes with me other than my running shirt. I should have changed it out but didn’t. I felt terrible the next couple hours. My head hurt.

I woke up this morning feeling better. As the day wore on, I knew something was wrong with my body. Headache came back and I couldn’t concentrate. Then I was chilled all over. My chest hurt. My whole body hurt. My joints and muscles too. I couldn’t move much. I felt a slight fever.

I took an Advil before leaving work. The fever broke while on the way home. Now my strength returned. I am eating like crazy now to prepare for this weekend.

As always there are a lot for this coming weekend. I will hike 25 miles tomorrow. Going to wake up early at 4 am. Base on 3 mile per hour we should finish in 8 ish hours. We plan to start at the trail at 8:30 and should finish around 5 with an hour lunch :). Probably we will skip lunch and finish by 4.

Then on Sunday, I have a 5K. I haven’t focus too much on speed so my 5 K won’t be that good.

In the afternoon, I and the other guy who is going the triathlon with me is doing some bike ride. We suppose to begin our training this week. I have been slacking off on my swim this week.

As long as my fever doesn’t come back, I should be fine. I’m bringing couple of Advils with me.

Intensity

Day 115

I came across a training article. The concept is pretty simple and logical, but it occurs to me that it is an important truth that I have overlooked.

The concept is we train in three phases. The first is foundation. We build a good foundation and hopefully the last three years, I had a solid foundation. Then come the real deal where we pursuit after our goal by increasing the effort/power and intensity at the growth phase. Lastly (third phase) we maintain our level and perfecting our goal.

I think intensity is the key. I felt in a lot of things I do in life, I reach a mediocre level and normally stay like that with very little growth. What I missed was I have not really amped up the intensity to get to my potential. And I have gone through life/everything in a boring kind of way.

I came across the article at the right time. Intensity is what make what I am doing exciting. What drives my passion is doing more of the things I like.

I attended the talk (secret church) last week and there was segment on having a passion for God. What drive Moses to know God more? It was to know God’s glory. And the speaker was saying did Moses see enough of God’s glory already? He was a guy who spoke to God in front of a burning bush. He saw the Red Sea parted and many other miracles. What drove him to ask God, to show him more of God’s glory when he already seen more than anyone else in the world. The answer was it is never enough.

In parallel, I never experience enough of running. It is not a bit different for me to do a 5k or 10k or a marathon. Some might think (those who are not a runner) ask whether it is enough since I have run 8 marathons already. Nope. The experience of running my eighth one was just as exciting as running my first one. Related to intensity of what we are talking about, I actually want more! Some call it an addiction but I think not. I could easily be satisfied with one race! But because I love it so much, and my body is able to handle it, I am upping my races both in quality and quantity. I don’t need more race to have the same ‘high’, which is those who have an addiction needed. Any way…

Running a 10K is just as fun, except it is just too short! Haha. Sorry for those who were dying on the course when I did mine, I don’t mean to put them down. 10k might be the hardest thing they did.

Last weekend I did the Pike Peek or Peek’s Pike, whatever it is. This post was originally about this race but I got suck in on the topic of intensity from something I read.

Why I love doing 5k/10k is it bring out community. Almost anyone can do it. You will be surprised if you think you can’t run a 10k. I got it that many couldn’t do it but some, a few who attempted, I applaud them.

The race is usually open long enough so even those who walk (fast walk) can finish. That was a reason you get to see many who are not a fast runner on the course.

Runners are a friendly bunch, but with the slower crowd out, it is even friendlier.

The crowd support was great on this one. For the race, we ran down Highway 355. It has 4 lanes going each way, but they closed three of the four lanes, so that they can have more room for runners. We ran down most of the way. There was a festival at the end (Peeks and Roses). I had to be somewhere so I didn’t stay too long. I stayed long enough to see the slower people finish (last few). I think it was the 1.5 hours crowd.

That was that. I probably can go on and on. I love the race and will do it again.

Finally got outside

I finally got myself outside and ran. Not going to go in details about how my body reacted…and adjusted to running again. My right hip area still bothers me. It feels like something is wrong with the joint socket or one of the nerve/muscles is a bit off. I could locate that particular muscle with my finger but I was all at lost trying to look up a human anatomy diagram to figure out which one it was… I know I should go seek an expert/specialist. Somehow I am like one of those people who never seek a doctor unless it is time to roll over and die. Oh my goodness. I know.

Anyway, the run was great.  Continue reading “Finally got outside”