A bit of house keeping

Day 151 – Upcoming events

Time flies. A bit house keeping because of everything been going on, I lost track of things regarding my race schedule and all.

The August race Iron Mnt is canceled (for me only), at least I wrote to the race director asking to be withdrawn from it and to give my place to someone else. Race Director accepted it. I won’t be running that but I will still try to run the course on my own on another weekend. I haven’t picked a date yet. They have a 30 miles training this weekend but unfortunately I will be doing backpacking in West Virginia. I really want to run this course though.

As for Labor Day, same weekend of Iron Mnt Ultra, my friend and I will backpack somewhere south near Roan Mnt. I have been there last year camping with the Sierra Club. That was like a light version. This time the plan is to do a 50 miler, with shuttle pickup, not sure if a shuttle drop off at the beginning or a pick up at the end. I think we prefer dropping off and we walk back to our car. This way we won’t have to worry when we have to get to the pickup point. This trip will be huge because it will be the longest BP I’ve ever done.

I just looked at my September race schedule and what I saw scare the daylight out of me. I signed up a bunch of races. I think the first Saturday, or there is a marathon in the morning (double checking realized I haven’t registered for it but now debating if I will run it), then there is a 5k (9/11 remembrance run) at night on the same day, and then early next morning on Sunday there is a Half marathon (I am sure I registered for this one). This will be my an ultimate test thus far! I haven’t tried a back to back run before marathon-5K-half marathon, but it is probably good training for doing a future back to back marathon.

Couple days ago, after I knew I was all better, I signed up a bunch of smaller local races. My August calendar was pretty clean, there was no race. So I added a 10K and a 20k. August is my special month because three years ago, it was when I started running seriously. This race, South Lakes 10K, is one that started me on the path of being a marathon runner! It brings back a lot of memory each time I get on the course. This will be my forth time running it.

I signed up a 10 miler in Sept. This is also a tradition race. It was the race I ran with the lady of my dream in 2016. It is a race dear to my heart. It was a race when everything seemed out of control, the race brought everything back into focus. It might do so again this time around because it will be a race that going to launch me into the crazy month of October, when I will be running a marathon every weekend! (Or attempting to).

I really need to get back into training mode. I am no longer on a run schedule, so the first step is to have one. Second is to reestablish my long run. Third is to do real hill training. Fourth is nutrition – this has been my weak spot; I just have been eating too much junks. Fifth, is consistent sleep schedule.

Next year, I will focus on speed improvement – which means track work and interval training. That would be phase three. Goal for next year is cut down my time to 3:45 (marathon finish time). Phase 4 would be BQ time attempt. I will go into phase 4 when I am near BQ time (probably hiring a coach by then), going for the broke.

Finally, last night a dude I know signed up for the Quantico tri. The event is in two weeks and he told me about it. I am itching to do it with him. I know my time will be suck but hey it is a local race and someone I know is in it. He hasn’t been training but he seems to be in a good shape. He is a marine so naturally, he will do fine. I am not like him…I looked up the time of last person finished from last year and I think I at least can do that. So I am still debating if I should do the event.

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/

Got me thinking

Day 135 / long post

I pretty sure I wrote why I like to run some time ago. I think I did. If I had not, I am sure it can be pieced together from all my posts. It was kind of obvious why I run.

My mother dearest spoke to me over last weekend after I finished the ultra and is preparing to do another, and basically asked me why I am so gunho on running and doing outdoor stuffs one after another. I will be running by myself another ultra (28 miles) this weekend, untimed and self hosted, in the woods, far away from any civilization (not true but to most people it is) and is moderately risky. There is probably that 1% of me not making it back, because of from lightning, bear attack, or falling off the cliff, or from a common cold (I am still sick) — all outdoor activities are inherently dangerous, or maybe from being in a car accident…there is a higher chance of that, since I will be driving back in the wee hour to do another race, a half marathon near home in DC. Joking aside, death is real. Ony last race it hit home when a gentleman collapsed on the course and pass away. Those around him tried to help him but it was not successful. I know the danger. It will about a 4 hour drive to get back. I will make sure I’ll get plenty of sleep before getting in the car after my 28 mile run.

She said and I agree that if I am not running I’d be camping and if I’m not camping I ‘d be biking or swimming or doing this race or that. If none of those, I’d be traveling somewhere out in the jungle or in another country. There are constantly activities and there is no break it seems.

I know she is not against my running. She has been very supportive and been to many of my races. She stressed I have to do things in moderation. I understood her point of taking things in moderation to slow down the wear and tear on my body.

Basically I disagree with her about doing thing in moderation. The reason is there is not enough time in the whole world of I wait! While my body is still capable of handling the stress, I will increase in intensity. It is that word! My key word of the year. I am reminded of Hector in Achilles. I think it was Hector. He could stay back behind the city wall and not face Achilles knowing once he did he would die (at least according to their prophesy). But he rather die young in a blaze of glory rather than of old age. I think Achilles’ mom was saying the same thing to try to convince Achilles not to go into battle but Achilles was a spoiled brat for other reason. He sat out not because of his mother’s word but because he was sulking about his war spoil, a woman, being taken from him. Later, he rejoined the battle out of rage on Hector and it was all due to his own making, but he was blaming others for his own problem. Any way….

I know Hector’s circumstance is much different than mine. The guy is fighting for the survival of his home and kingdom.

I do know that by doing a lot now, it will probably shorten my life tiny bit. I’m pushing my knees to ruin – it is possible at least according to general consent. However, if I don’t push to do as much as I am able right now, who know in the future if I am able. One fact I do know is each year, my body is getting weaker and weaker – a process called aging. Time is fleeting. The energy level I have now in my forties would not be the same when I am in my fifties or sixties, generally speaking. There are always exceptions. We met an 80 year old man while hiking the Laurel Highland trail last month. He was about to finish 70 miles with only couple miles to go (a task not many of us is able to do) and he was carried a much much heavier pack than ours because he was old-school, while we the newer generation benefitted from having the newer and lighter gear. He blew us all young ones out of that mountain.

The final point is why? She knows I want to run but where does it end? The answer is until my body can’t do it any more or my interest wane. Right now, I want to do more. So what then after I conquer my next challenge, say 50 miler marathon, or a 100 miler, or an Ironman. So what? I understand there is always something bigger out there. In a way her reasoning is, we shouldn’t even bother doing anything because we as normal people never really make it to the top.

I am not doing it for a bragging right. I felt as long as my body is able to handle it, I will do it. Pain is insignificant because there is a joy in overcoming all obstacles to get to the finish line. I think there is an intrinsic value to set a goal and reach it. Hey, if I am good with other things like making money, I probably would focus my life on doing that. Running so far give me that peace and joy. Making money does not. Running, I can say it is something I am good at doing to a degree. Probably a non runner would not get it. I know I never be an Olympian but still there is a potential in me I got to reach for and be the best I can be.

On a secondary point, each new challenge prepares me for the next one. Like a 5K led to a 10K and a 10K led me to running a Half marathon and a half led me to doing a Full. This year, I have been running Ultras and marathons are almost becoming a 10k for me. Not saying those races or events weren’t hard any more but they are no longer an end of the world for me. I did a 5K after hiking 26 miles two weekends ago, and that 5k was the hardest 5K in my life.

There is no more answer to why or reason for my running. I kind of want to qualify for Boston, to be able run a marathon under 3 hours instead of 5. But that just a small goal. If I reach it, I would still continue to run.

She gave an example that some people after all their searching and busyness and they come back to a full circle of where they started. They found what they found if they haven’t run all over the place they would see the answer sooner. Not sure what she is driving at. It sounds like I should sit and meditate on the essence of life and reach my dao. I don’t know.

I don’t think I am searching for anything though. I felt every time I hit the peak, I could see a little more that only those who have been there could see. I got this from a web novel I read called Terror Infinity (a bad book with a bad ending, don’t read it). The main character reached a stage only he as a leader was privilege to get a glimpse of. It is hard to tell others what that was. Other characters in the novel just had to trust him that it was worth it for all the troubles and suffering he went through. It is a refining process.

Right now I am still trying to wrap my mind on how to run or endure a 50 mile or 100 mile event. It just blows my mind that people did it and I don’t know how. I don’t know if next year I would be brave enough to tackle a 100 miler. Yes, they all say left foot, follow by the right foot and repeat until you get there.

Life

Day 127 Special Edition (Two posts in one)

Maybe because of the last weekend trip and I over extended myself, I am a bit under the weather. Physically it shouldn’t be that taxing since it was pretty much low mileage trip. 13-18 miles per day. We were on the trail about 6-7 hours each day and it was pretty relaxing compared to previous trips. I had done hikes where we hiked from dawn to dusk.

However, we were rushing from point to point and that kind of worn our spirits. The two other ladies though seemed unaffected. Maybe it was just me who was tired. I like to take my time – if we get there we get there, if not, then make the best of it.

Being pressed at all time get to me. I was stressed out with my own run these past two weeks. I have a marathon in two weeks and I don’t feel I am ready. I haven’t been running much since the last marathon. I ran about 12 miles per week since. I want to be ready for it. I hope to be able to pull a long run thos weekend – if only my body can handle it. Then taper a bit. Or the last two weeks really has been the tapering period.

I was a bit stressed at work too. I won’t say much but there are a lot needed to be done. Somehow, some way, they will be done.

Trying to sleep whenever I can, I took a quick nap during lunch the other day and another one on my way home. Those breaks were good.

Mentally, I am all over the place.

===

This was an old post I wrote on Tuesday but didn’t publish. The content is still relevant to be published. So here it is but it might be a bit repetitive to the ‘last’ post (126).

I finally remember what I was going to write for post 126. It was originally intended for this post (127) . The ordering is a bit mix up but it is OK.

Many people think I am awesome and did many crazy things (in term hiking, running, camping and all). It is because I only post things when I had something great to share. Many times though my days are pretty boring. Only maybe a weekend come around that I get to do something ‘exciting’.

In my fellowship group this morning, we shared what would make a good life. We all kind of know the answer that we want to have a meaningful and purposeful life. We want to make a different in this world. Make things better. Not to just to take take take and then run the place (earth) down. We want to be happy. It is also a deep question to answer what can make us really happy. Ultimately it is point to something intangible and eternal.

As I was pondering about this, a separate thought occured that I am reminded of my new year resolution. Every day, I want to be better myself (especially with my running). I have to consciously make that choice. I realized the past two weeks, I have been backsliding. I lack the intensity and the aggressiveness (and drive) I had before. The word that dawned on me was I want to be transformed. Radically changed. A total make over.

My pastor on Wednesday spoke of what it takes to be transformed. People around will know if you have a relationship with him like people all around me know I have a relationship with running. I was going to tie it in on my last post with that idea but somehow it escaped me until now.

19.4 Review

Day 120 / Review#4 – spring time

What happens: A review of last 30 days from March to May. I felt a lot had happened and also not much at the same time. Last time I wrote a review, there was still snow and I did the first half marathon this year then. Note 30 days are not the actual calendar days but days of that were journaled (a meaningful day). I could also use the word entry, but I like day better.

As always, the last review can be found here [last]. I am still figuring out how I want to do this, if I should write strictly a summary or provide something new focusing the present (like provide a snapshot), or both.

Here’s a look back of the last 30 days.

1) running of the Roanoke Marathon. Its training spanned through several months. The race was a foundation for all the races I will do this year. The training was long and I felt I was a beginner runner all over. More on the race is in the report [race].

My goal this year is to be an ultra runner. My first trail ultra race is only a month away (actually will be my second, but it is a first one with hills). I did some mountain running and I gotta say, it is hard. Hills are not hills,… they go on forever. Roanoke marathon showed me that.

While hiking is a fun activity, to me it is also a training. I am pleased that I was able to do a great hike (backpacking) at Tory Ridge [hike]. I also started to train on trails during the weekends. I am not there at where I should be yet. There is still much to do to get ready.

Off tangent: I probably leave my review with one point hanging. I ran out of things to say…I have stuffs to write about but I found them boring (like doing chores). I like to go off tangent.

I started to write only on the weekend because that when things are happening. I do my races on weekends. I hike, backpack, train, and everything on the weekend. I do train during the week too, but each day mostly after work, there is only limited time and I want to hit the bed as early as I can. One thing I changed was going to bed early! It was part of the over all goal to be more efficient and choosing to do what most important.

Other major events were running the Frederick Half, (too lazy to provide a link), running the cherry blossom race, couple weekend training (Easter).

I looked back on my New Year Resolution couple days ago. Some of those were on the right track. I’m proud of my training and runs. Other things like eating better…Needs much improved, to try again.

I started going to gym last couple weeks. I like being sored on other parts of my body other than the legs. I’m so proud of this. Along the same line, I found a buddy who will do a mini triathlon sprint with me. Hopefully that will get me into the Tri world. I’m excited. It is all about ramming up the intensity.

Relationship. Everything is tied to people. I would like to ignore this aspect but it is really the bedrock of everything I do. It is through people that I found meaning in all my activities. I could say run in the woods by myself but then it is because I want to able to run with people in a race. I don’t know what I’m writing here, just taking a stab at it. I like to run for the sake of running too.

I thank God for friends and a group of guys who keep me on track in life. Having this group of friends is the biggest change in the last couple months.

Last couple months, my Friend K really got me back on track. I had a defining moment! I (or she) solved one of the biggest problems since the beginning (120 days ago), which was just lurking in the back and I had no idea how to tackle head on. I was much relief. I’m speaking vaguely here but really, it should change my life. Of course my relationship with K, and my perspective of everything changed. More to come. I now have more intensity and life than ever before!

[Last] https://antin.blog/2019/03/06/19-3-review/
[Race] https://antin.blog/2019/04/15/roanoke/

[Hike] https://antin.blog/2019/03/31/torry-ridge-bp/

Wednesday

Mid week already. Life really starts on weekends. There were so much happened that it takes a week to unpacked.

I was going to write more about it. There were so much other thoughts I wanted to capture. Friday night was a high point because I attended a talk called Secret Church from an organization called Radical. This was my first ever. We had a long prayer/fasting marathon and I was dozing in and out. In the end everything was a blur. We prayed for East Africa — I forgot the name of the country. A recurring thought to me was I got to go there. There are probably some amazing hikes to do there. I wish there were more videos on the place, but time was short. The talk was entertaining though that was not the point.

The next day, I hiked Meneka peak. I thought nothing could top Friday night. A lot of interesting things happened. It was a first we got to hike with some of our good friends who complained we always doing too many crazy 20 miles hikes. We brought the intensity down couple notches. It was under 9 miles. The crazy thing happened was near the top, we ran into a group who told us some fire up on the peak. We went and checked out. My group leader didn’t find any smoke or fire. Few hours later, while I was doing my trail run on the mountain, I ran into a team of fire marshals/rangers and they were asking me if I saw any fire/smoke. I then checked every camp sites up on the peak making sure no fire. I touched every fire pit and they were cold. I did came a large log or a long tree trunk some crazy camper was trying to burn. The campers had left. I guess they didn’t completely put out the fire. Maybe that was what the cause of concern from a group of hikers we came across earlier and they called the fire department.

Sunday was also pretty amazing because I was running a race. It was a new race I never done before. I want to write a race report on it. It was a 10K. The race was short, but there were 2,500 people running it. It was just awesome. I wasn’t at my usual pace but toward the end, I got faster.

Today, I did some ‘hill’ run by running up the stairs at my office building. I realized I could only mantain my breathing up to five floors. I was not used to doing hill run.

The week has been good so far. I started working out at my work gym everyday and it feels good to be sored all over.

And lastly, there is a chance I will do a triathlon this year. I found a friend who indicated he will do it with me. There are too races I have my eyes on.

Day 114