Random thursday

Day 126

1. Post-Marathon Blue again. I am beat on today run. I am more out of shape than I thought. Whether it is post marathon blue or what not, today run was horrible. I ran with two guys, the same two guys I have been running with. I think their names are Jack and Chris. We are usually about the same pace. Today though they seemed much better. They had to wait for me. Normally it is I who wait for other people. I felt they were like couple minutes faster. I couldn’t keep up at all. They beated me on the flat and downhill and uphill. I thought I would beat them on the uphill portion since that is my strength. Nope! Then I thought I would beat them on the distance since I am a distance runner. Nope. I gave up on the sprint. They dominated the whole thing. I guess I have been eating too much junk food and drinking too much sodas. Or it is really post marathon decline.

That’s life. I don’t want to believe in post marathon blue but I have run 9 marathons and each time is the same. I am suffering mentally and bodily after finishing a marathon. Life just don’t go well the following few weeks. Even my best hope — in running, I am doing poorly at it. Why even run, right? So much suffering for what.

I forgot what I want to write.

Passion. At church last night, there of course was some major lessons I can apply to running. However, I don’t remember what they were. I kind of zoned out in the middle of it. Something about the river of joy inside flowing out once you believe. Ah, once you have been with him, it will be known. It can’t be contained. Pastor looked at me and immediately identified me as a marathon man. When did I even tell him I ran a marathon? We are identified by our passion. We can’t not talk about it.

A Funny story about the hike I did. Last Sunday, I was hiking from camp to camp and the Sunday was our longest hike still. I think it was between a 18-20 mile hike. The machine (phone app) said we did 27 miles – it was way wrong. But it was a long hike.

We started out at 7 am on the dot. We actually woke up at 5 and packed our tents and had our breakfast and leisurely got our things together. There was supposed to be a heavy thunderstorm and damaging wind in the middle of the day and we wanted to reach to our camp/ a sheltering place before it hit. We knew that the half way point has a shelter. So we were hiking at a relatively fast pace around 2.4 – 2.6 mile pace. I think we hit the 10/11 mile mark by 11 o clock. This was with the full pack. 35-40 lbs. I didn’t have time to weight mine.

I was calculating that we should get to camp by 4pm. My friend thought otherwise and was aiming for 3 pm.

We stopped for ‘lunch’ which was pretty much just meant taking out our lunch from our pack and continued to hike with the lunch in our hands. I was fooling around looking for a place to pee. The sky got dark and wind blew. We were back on our way without eating (my friend finished hers before I even had mine ready). I had on my rain coat and rubber pants with my sandwiches in my hands.

Boy did the last eight miles a hard hike. The two ladies pretty much disappeared from sight on the getgo. Occasionally I got a glimpse of them like whenever we came to a hill and I was able to look up and saw them way up top while I was at the foot of it.

I started to day dream. It might be a coping mechanism because I was about to pass out. It didn’t help because I was falling even farther behind. Then I abandoned all thoughts. I only think of one name, my friend K and instead of looking at the ground I strained my eyes to look straight ahead like I could almost see her way in the distance. I was probably half a mile behind by then. I kept chanting her name in my head and I was like a train. A machine. I caught up with them on the last mile and passed them.

We laughed about it when we got to camp. The storm didn’t hit us but to a place like 30 miles south of us (Ohiopyle). I was all drenched from head to toes not from the rain but my own sweat. My friend looked at me and asked if I had on a different pants because it was darker.

They were dark because of my sweat. I knew if I would stop sweating during the hike, I would go into shock/heat stroke. We laughed about it because I was really foolish/and stupid because I could have taken off my raincoat and pants and would have able to avoid all the suffering to the point of passing out and would have hiked even faster still and might have kept up with them. It never occurred to me to take off my jacket on a 90 degree day. My only thought was if I died I wanted my last thought to be my friend’s name. It was really stupid. Haha. Guys are dumb they say.

Laurel Highlands

Day 125

My friend led a four days hike on Laurel Highlands. We went south starting from the end point mile 70.

Notable things:

-we had three people going. It kept the trip interesting

-we had a little bit of storm (like 10 minutes) and we were able to stay in a shelter until it passed. The other time we were already in our tents.

-though stormy weather supposed to last the whole weekend but we happened to avoid most of it. The storm went 30 miles south of us.

-we stayed one night at a state park before heading to Laurel Highlands. We car camped and had a good meal on Friday night in Hagerstown, MD

-sleeping locations were pretty good. We made reservation for our campsites. Not many other people showed up and we basically had the place to ourselves.

-we didn’t complete the entire 70 miles but we did 40 miles. Given another two days we would be able to finish it. We plan or hope to do the rest in the fall.

Overall, we had good time.

I learn fire doesn’t just burn on its own, it will go out if no one tends it. Fanning is important to keep it burning.

Impression

Day 103

I have been to many great hikes. Last weekend was one of those perfect hikes. In term of work out, It was about there. I wasn’t totally exhausted but I got blisters, probably from getting my shoes wet. I got chaffing, probably from wearing cotton clothing. My hips was bruised from carry the weight of the sack, my friend was saying what do I carry in that thing. I brought more than enough food to eat. It was just perfect but my friend had the Friday meal ready for me. She also gave me ‘brownies’ that was good for lunch. We hiked out early on Sunday. So I saved three meals. I had about three meals left over.

One thing I learned was I need to get the system down. I have been out a dozen of time but it still feels like 4 or 5 times. I still don’t know what to do or how to pack. It took me too long to organize or get dress in the morning. Twenty some minutes to take off my clothes or putting them on is way too long :). And I only had one set.

Routines. Routine is good. I need to get myself down on routine. Like what to eat and how to cook. Even boiling water took me longer than my friend who cooked her entire meal.

Bearbag. Yup. I forgot how to do the PCT style hang. It took me too much time getting the robe over the tree. Got to remember to bring a small pouch to put a rock in to throw it over the tree. It was just unbelievable. There were many things I felt I know, but actually doing them, they felt like the first time.

I slept great. I love sleeping next to the creek and also on the ridge.

Another thing I appreciate from this hike was it was a preview of the run I will be doing in two weeks. My run will be on the road but it will have similar elevation change as the hike was. I will be running on Blue Ridge Parkway.

The whole hike was generally peaceful. I had no great alarming thoughts. I was feeling generally calm and happy. My life was peaceful. In the past, hikes provide me a mean of escape, this time, I was not running from anything. It was as pleasant as a walk in the park.

Torry Ridge BP

Day 102

It was a beautiful hike. My friend and I spent a couple days doing 20+ miles. The first night, we hiked a mile to the camp site. There were three other people there already. They happily let us shared the camp. They were using hammocks and so there were still room for us to pitch our tents.

We got up at usual backpacking time, and after breakfast we set out. There were a brief rain for maybe 30-45 minutes. We actually got back to the car and sat until the storm passed, since there was no rush.

We hiked a short loop, 20 Minutes Cliff/Overlook — that was what it was called. It think it took us more than 20 minutes to that.

We then got to the Slack Trail Overlook and continued hiking up on the Slack Trail to Torry Ridge. We did the whole trail and reach Sherando Lake. We stopped for a twenty minutes lunch. The lake was a popular spot. We saw several other families out and about at the lake. But we pressed on since there were some rough climbing for the rest of the day.

He hiked up Torry Ridge again, and that was a tough climb with a full stomach. The rest of the hike was not so clear to me since I didn’t look at the map for this portion. We hiked to the Torry Furnace to connect to the Mill Trail, which runs parallel to the Torry Ridge Trail. We did the whole thing and at the end we had to climb up. That was one of the most intense climb especially when we were tired (it was around 5-6 pm by now). We could have camped below in the valley by the river but we want to leave early the next day with less mileage. Based on the map, if we camp at the ridge, we only have about 5 miles to do the next day.

We met another backpacker and he said the ridge was too windy. However, we decided to press on ahead. It was indeed very windy. Luckily the temperature was warm. I was able to sleep but the wind kept my friend up.

The next day was an easy down hill hike and we were out by 10.

One of the first

Day 95

This is one of the firsts that I showed up And found out I’m not registered for it! There was something wrong with my registration because I used a race coupon and it wasn’t effective for this race (they took my coupon though), hence I didn’t know it didn’t go through. I didn’t check for a confirmation email.

Anyway things worked out, I decided not to run the 10K due to over-doong it yesterday. I need a day to recover. Hearing the registration didn’t go through was a good news. Earlier I woke up cursing to myself why I signed up and pulled myself together to get to the course. It was raining (misty). Just a relief to me. Now I can go to church! 

My weekend ended up to be Plan A – the original plan. No craziness of run a back to back race or doing a marathon. 

Hiking was fun though. Here are couple pix.

Snow and fog turned everything to black and white
Snow covered forest

Fun and Rest

Day 94 / weekend half marathon

I had one of the best races ever. I say that to every race though. But this race I set a PB. I didn’t upgrade to the full marathon and that was a very wise choice. I knew my previous record was 1:49 (hh:mm), so I lined up behind the 1:50 pace group. I was assigned to Coral 3, but the  pacing team actually lined up at the end of Coral 5. We had wave start and Coral 1-5 were part of the first wave. With a couple minutes delay between each coral. Boy did they started out fast. They knew they were going faster than pace. I followed the last pacer of the 1:50 group. He was saying if we want to finish at 1:45 we have to run at 8 min pace. And I checked my watch we we’re running at 7:45 and he agreed. He said the other pacer of the 1:50 group was even faster than him, and laughed. Later on I think after 5 miles I couldn’t keep up with them any more. I told myself I have to run at my own pace. I had no hope of breaking a record. They finished probably at 1:40. They totally left everyone behind!

My legs were heavy from the start. I think my calves were still in recovery. My breathing were surprising under control. I wasn’t breathing hard at all. I slowed down a bit at mile 5-6 because of a big hill (400 ft?). No good. I couldn’t climb it. I know next marathon is all hills 2000 ft of them. 5 times higher! That is only a month away. I got to the top and got back into my pace.

I was slowing down again at mile 11. Luckily I saw someone, and she gave me the strength to speed up again. I caught a second wind. When I crossed the finish line and looked up at the clock, unbelievable, it was 1:46 and a Personal Best (PB).

First half I had 53:10 and second half 53:33. I stopped my watched a 10 seconds late. However, still I didn’t run a negative split. 

I celebrated this by going up on the mountain in West Virginia, the Big Schloss.

The race though was in downtown DC, and there was no snow there. It was cloudy and a very decent temperature for running (3-5C?)

Hike

Ice every where! Day 68

Back in December around Christmas I hiked the Overall Trail and the placed was flooded with water due excessive rain. My friend and I went back there today. The flood was gone. There were still plenty of water, but because the temperature was below freezing, the ground was frozen, otherwise we would have been in a swamp.  Continue reading “Hike”