Day 229

I filed my taxes today! My office manager helped me. I can do it myself and I used to do it myself but for last six years, it was my manager who helped me. One less headache.

It is safer to hike/backpack with a friend. That was a big idea I had while on the trail last weekend. I took several tumbles (more like a dozen times) and I could have been seriously hurt! Sometimes though it is hard to find someone to have the time to hike with you.

Tonight message (from my pastor’s preaching), was mind-blowing when I started applying them to my running. What I distilled from my pastor was 1. Got to be transformed 2. image – we are transforming to conform to an image (a model) 3. breaking out of our present mold (reality) to glory. 4. meaning giving up something that is holding you back. There were more but I didn’t catch them

None of these were new to me but it was like a wake up call. Like why did I not see it before? Now my running will definitely improve. I know my pastor means changing our life and walk closer to God for eternal good in doing what God wants us to do in our present life. Yet what is more practical for me is about improvement on running. I was no longer falling asleep at this time through the sermon but was wide eyed. Preach more pastor! I want to be a better runner!

What this all mean to me is how to get out of my stagnation. I feel I am in a hump (really!) and am ready to change – breaking out. I want to get better at my running and I am not satisfied with my current progress. I feel my runs has stagnated. Because I have fallen into a rut and at time being complacent with my training. I know back in 2016-2017 I would set alarm to wake up at 4AM and run! That was some dedication. Even at 10 PM when my friend would call me, if I want to go to the gym, I would immediately say yes, count me in. Let’s go! I lack that kind of enthusiasm now a day. I prefer let me sleep in a bit more. A lot of junks (bad habits) have creeped into my life too.

How do you deal with not being the same as before? I have been running for 3 years and what do I really want to accomplish? If I want to run faster, I really have to reach that goal. Maybe I am getting older and so I am getting slower. This calls for a need to transform. But how do you do that?

One needs to see what is happening and change it. Truth. We need the truth (to see what we did not see before) and the truth will set you free. Truth is revelation. We are constantly learning. Take in and evaluate. Sometimes it comes in a dream. We need to start dreaming. I get my inspiration about my running while I am on the trail, and listening preacher’s sermon. I need to use my off days to learn!

Ask yourself what do I have to change. Change is hard because we have accepted what we currently are doing is right and we have to see that it as not right. We have to turn things up-side-down. We can’t do things the same way and expect to have a different result.

-Thought#2 – embrace change. That was the biggest breakthrough I had tonight. I hate change. A girl has turned my life up-side-down too and it was too much. I wanted my sanity back and what I am comfortable with. No more craziness. But just as I decided to take the easier path and the calmer choice, my pastor preached about change. Why changes require taking the harder path? Looking back the changes I have been making were rather small!! I need to embrace bigger changes boldly. Doing things differently. It could me losing myself in the process! It will no longer be the me I know afterward.

This means we are willing to take some pain. Not so much physical but it means sacrificing comfort and ease. Giving up time of doing certain other things we like. It means certain areas of our life have to be cut back. Priority. Someone told me recently, we see our priority in the things we actually do, not what we say we want to do.

Objectively, we do something because we like it. I secretly want to run faster each year. Realistically though, I will improve but I will never be out-of-this world fast. This brings us to set a reasonable goal or expectation.

visioning/image. We can do it only when we can see ourselves doing it. We have an image of what success is for us. We push ourselves to change/evolve to match that image. I have been doing that each season. Changing our expectation to a new reality.

I feel each quarter or each year, I am making myself new again. Three years ago (summer 2016), if you tell me to run a marathon, I would have laugh at you silly. I did not run then. A mile maybe, but not a marathon.

Things have become too easy for me lately. After 3 years of training, I need to step up again. Change starts today!

At the end of each service is an altar call, where we rededicate ourselves to do good once again. It is usually most uplifting time of the worship. You feel you could take on the biggest struggle! I need that each week. A time to reaffirm I can do the run. I can put down my distraction.

-No more half heartedness effort but a full commitment

vision & mission

Day 224

Goal: Key ideas usually come to me while I am running. I have been trying to have some kind of goals for this year. At first I was not so into the new year resolutions this year, which I usually made one in the past for all my adult life. It was probably all the ‘destressed’ /breaking in period from coming back from Chile. I was going through a time of mini depression but now better after finishing another marathon (Carlsbad). So I am back in the swing of things.

My last few weeks of training have been going great! I put up double digit back to back. It was even better than last fall when I was struggling with all the training and non-training activities, plus the stress from work. That was a mouthful.

Life was looking great! But I am not satisfied where I am. It seems too haphazard. It seems things are too random. Suddenly everything in life flows together where few months ago it was rough and tumbling.

I want control! So looking at my life, what do I really want to do this year? There is not anything ‘exciting’ I want to do. I am pretty much happy of where I am at.

This is not a resolution but pretty much a plan. I will get to the resolution later.

1. Running more ultras. I enjoys running so much and I think I am actually overboard obsess with it. Excessive is what can described about me. I don’t know why I was so down back in January. But running is what I like. This year I have signed up so many races! Incredible races and not sure how I will be able to do them all! see races.

2. I want to run fast! This should be a year I was trying to get a sub 3 marathon. However, this dream will be deferred for a few more years. I hope I can get a sub 4 marathon time or somewhere close. This will be very challenging. As of now, I am not confident if I could run a 4:30 marathon time.

3. Do something exciting! (Travel). Planning year for next year. I know I don’t have much money to travel any more for this year. But I should plan for the following year. Some exciting things are to travel to Everest! The group I usually travel with is going there this fall. A fall back option is, I would take Mt Kilimanjaro. I also want to run Rim-Rim-Rim of the the Grand Canyon. Basically you run across the Canyon to the other side and then back again. People plan this a year in advance!

4. A Hard Camping/BP trip. This is already happening but I am still quite nervous about camping by myself. A trip or few trips I want to do is Black Forest Trail in PA, Hut-to-Hut at Presidential Traverse, NH, and Andirondack the Great Range Traverse, NY. These hikes made my great leader/grown-man/women cried. I want to experience the same.

5. Be more open to people. Singleness. I am single and in many ways great because I am enjoying the single man life of running/hiking/traveling. Yet being single is not for me. It is definite a resolution item to get myself out there and meet more women who want to share a life together. My goal is to share myself more. Ah, how hard this is for me. Don’t laugh.

6. What would be good to have! Pacer. Running is mostly a solitary thing for me. As I tackling longer distances, I wish I have a training buddy, a coach, a crew and some pacers. I am actively seeking and recruiting pacers for my first 100 miler. I already put down the race I want to do. C&O ultra. I probably can do this without a crew or pacer, but it would be really nice to have one or two!

Back to topic. Yes these were what I am currently doing any way. They are in no way what I call a resolution. A resolution is something I must do differently.

As I was running on Thursday night, I realized I need an aim or focus. One thing that can give me an aim is to have a mission statement: what do you want to accomplish? vision statement: How do you see yourself when you reach your goal.

I really don’t have one written out yet. I have been running on auto pilot. Mostly to run and to run a lot and to run fast etc.

To enjoy life. To do something I don’t think I can do. I have been breaking a lot of mental barriers and did a lot what I couldn’t do five years ago!

Day 219

Buy one get one free got to me this week and spent over $70+ on grocery and it is only Tuesday.

I brought three loaves of bread! Normally one loaf would have taken me three weeks to finish. But it was cheap!

I cooked a pound of beef Sunday night. Ate most of it. It was supposed to last for a whole week. So I went and got another pound of ground beef. I made Chili last night and had them with my bread.

What caught my eyes last night was chicken breast was $1 a pound. I spent $12. I am rich with food. I cooked all of them last night and it is like a pot of meat! I will be eating chicken sandwiches till kingdom comes.

The rest was mostly fruits. I had avocadoes, oranges, banana, asparagus, strawberries and lot of lot of Jello.

Can’t believe I went through two pounds of ground beef in two days.

random: what to do for Feb 14? Who want to head into the woods?

normal day

Day 217

I skipped my group run tonight. Not feeling well. Having a slight fever since yesterday. Coughing and having running nose. They say, if you are hurt from neck down, go run. If you are hurt neck up, don’t run. So no running for me. I could have gone out, but feeling a little woozy.

I replaced my other car key battery. I have two different keys for my truck. I have a Viper 7756V clicker and one from the auto company. The battery for the clicker was delivered today and I had some fun disassembling the key and put in the fresh battery. I haven’t done something like this for a long time. I love taking things apart as a kid.

That’s the old rechargeable battery and can’t hold charge any more.


Day 216

I finally got my car inspected. My car is absolutely safe to drive but this year inspection had more dramas than any preivous years. I think it took me about four tries and three days time (of over a span of two weeks) to get everything square. And the cause of it was some minor lightbulbs. I almost needed to spend hundreds of dollars to rewire the whole thing because of all the problems it was giving me.

Here is a picture.

I was wondering the whole time why a ‘simple’ car has so many types of light bulbs. Why can’t they all have one type of socket like household light. All you need then is to match the right wattage or power to get the light you want. But no, a car has dozen of lights and they are all different.

None of those bulbs I replaced were essential except the headlight. I replaced the fog lamps and the day time running lamp. LED bulbs really caused all the headache and I couldn’t put back the normal bulb because it was no longer wired for the normal bulbs.

That’s that. I replaced the battery for my car key too as well as have all the fluid and oil changed for the car. There are few more maintenance items to do but I can wait till end of the year.

As for running go, I had a few miles last night. Still very stiff and tight all over.


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.