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life running

Day288 weekend joy

[old post] originally written on 2019 Veteran’s weekend

It was a wild weekend and I was still running high on adrenaline just thinking about it. I spent 12 hours in the car to do an eight hour marathon. I spent eight hours running before, and even 10. What tired me was not the race, but everything surround it, either before or immediately after. I overpacked my weekend, as always.

If it was the usual running, I wouldn’t have been so exhausted. It was too three other camping trips or outdoors events in one weekend, plus the cold weather, that really got to me.

Thursday, I came home past midnight and was franctically packing for the trip. Why I always leave things to the last minute? I don’t know. I had many things to pack.

I intended to do a bike ride on the race course on Friday, which mean I had to hit the road at dawn to get myself down to the course around noon. Fortunately, I didn’t wake uo in time on Friday and didn’t leave my house until 11. I brought my bike any way. It took up all the backseat section of my truck. Luckily, I did not try biking because it was way too dangerous. I am not a pro to do downhill biking with such steepness they have there at Kairos resort.

Then I had to pack for Friday night cold camping. I brought the usual stuffs, tents, sleeping bags (two of them), fleece blanket, pillow, toiletry kit, food, cooking kit, fire kit, safety/med/first aid/injury kit, water and filter, flashlight and batteries, camp shoes, and hiking boots, and lot of thick hiking socks. Cold weather gear – wind breaker, wool layer, a base layer, long johns, spandex underwears, head cover, gloves (two kinds, inserts), and more socks (for sleeping). Then duffle bags. You got to waterproof them even if no rain was forecasted. I got together four or five bags. Yes it was overkilled. Oh, let not forget my stuff animal. I love my cat! It served as a good pillow.

Then of course the big event, the race itself. You got of think of clothing for pre-race, race, and post race. Pre-race was a fleece jacket over a long sleaves and a short sleeves. I had tights on. I ran with my camp boots with two layers socks. I had two buffs on, one over my head and one around my neck. I had my racing glasses and a heavy trucker cap. For hydration pack, instead of being minimalist, I had a 20L hiking daypack. It held my phone (which I forgot in the tent), my thick wallet, my Sawyer water filter but forgot the sawyer water bag. My set of keys. I carried a wool long sleeves, and a clean shirt to wear at the end of the race. Two bottles one with half filled with Gatorade, the other empty to be filled at water station because this race was cupless. I also carried an empty hydration pack (2L). Keeping all the things needed for the race was not fun.

During the race I stripped down to only one layer and the rest of stuffs went into my day pack. After the race, I pulled out a clean set from my pack and bundled up. I know I could have left everything at the starting line (because starting and finish line was at the same place) or use the dropbag and left them at an aid station. Silly me to carry everything on me. I don’t think though that was a reason it took me an hour longer to run the 50k.

Ah, I placed in my truck also four pairs of running shoes. In the end I did not wear any of them. The hiking boots did it all. They are now very muddy. Surprised to me some finished with very clean shoes. I am just sloppy I guess.

Don’t forget the food. I brought lot of them, both for pre-race dinner and breakfast. I did my shopping on the way. Unfortunately, I did not pack the food to eat during the race. I brought a lot of food too for after the race meal. You have to eat a lot to add back the calories lost during the race. I did not eat that much though and brought all the food back home. I did not have an appetite after the race!

Saturday night camping was an optional challenge. I could have driven six hours home that night. I would have arrived around midnight or a little after. However, I had a habit of sleeping immediately after a long workout, so driving the long distance home would have been a very bad idea. Or I could have stayed at a motel/hotel along the way. Spending money for such luxury and I did not want to when there was the ‘free’ /low cost camping available. My campsite was only $15 with race discount (about a price for my meal).

The other option was to go camping at a place nearby. Jefferson Forest is just down the street (still about 30-45 mins away) and Salem, which is where I wanted to do my hiking (the Triple Crown). I thought about going there and hiking about 10 miles into camp. So, I packed a separate bag for all the light weight gear for this second trip. Fortunately, the plan didn’t pan out. I stayed the second night at the race course venue. It was all by myself then since everyone else had left and I got to unwind on a dark and cold night (moon was up). Still being by myself, the night felt darker.

I had the Saturday night camping as an option was because my friend and I were supposed to go to do the Triple Crown, which is really close to where I was racing. I would have gone there if I knew for certain that my friend was going to be there and that she would be happy to see me.

However, she said her plan has changed since I was going to do the race and she did not feel like driving six hours to hike by herself. For me too doing it by myself was no fun, knowing she probably was not there. Also even if she were there, we kind of still left on a sour note the Friday morning, so I did not want to run into her not knowing how she would reacted if she saw me. It was a no-no to be out in the middle of no where with someone who doesn’t want to be with you. However, I had all the gear with me and was ready for that trip after my race. I just was not able to will myself to do it. Physically, I know I can do it, but mentally, I was not.

I had no regret because there was nothing better than to be able to unwind after the long race. I did. I built a fire, both for cooking as well as I had nothing better to do and there were a lot of fallen branches. I sat all night by the fire by myself tending it. This was a big thing, because I was not good at making a fire.

Then on Sunday morning, I had to leave at the crack of dawn to drive back and to have everything pack up ready to roll out. However, I overslept again! I would have a long drive of about 5-6 hours back home, except I was not going home. So it was not a leisure packing up, but a rushed packing. Just I threw everything into the back of the truck and drove. The morning was beautiful!

One of my friends wanted to do a day hike in West Virginia at Harper Ferry. It was his birthday and it has been a tradition we started last year to get together. So, I was beating the traffic to get back by 11ish to meet up with him and his other friend.

I packed a separate bag for this day hike too. I would be simple since at most we would be doing only 5-6 miles. It is a cake walk for me. However, a hike is a hike. I carried the daypack that I ran with on Saturday. The day was warmer, but I had my fleece jacket on. I had hiking pants and boots. My pack was light. I had a fresh shirts and pair of socks.

The birthday event took whole day, but there was still one more event left — church. I didn’t mind the slow pace stroll. We had a lot of fun catching up. It though caused me to be late for evening church. However, I ended up of not going. I had packed a fresh set of clothes for that event. I had also intended to shower first before going to church. I did not want to smell like I had ran an ultra and spent two days camping and a day hike before arriving at church. In the end I missed the evening church.

I closed my day with stopping by my mom’s place. This was not planned. However, they don’t care how bad I smell. I found out then everyone there was sick, from the oldest to the youngest. Even the family dog was sick. I stayed a long time, talking and listening to my mom talked.

This post ended up longer than I wanted to. It was because, man I had an awesome weekend both with the race and time by myself, and with friends and family. I did not end up being with the one I wanted to be with, but it was definitely a worthy trade-off. Sometimes, you can’t have everything.

[race] https://antin.blog/2019/11/11/epilogue/

Categories
life

Day285

I had a perfect blog to write while running but things and thoughts vanished once I stepped inside the house.

I don’t feel like writimg any more because I am sleepy.

I received a sad news couple days ago of a pilot missionary or missionary pilot depending how you want to stress her job title. She was a pilot for a Christian organization that delivers supplies and transports people in remote places. She flew in Indonesia and her plane went down on May (12?).

It is just another death. So what? Somehow, I met her once in passing couple years ago. I had a deep impression of her during the brief presentation she gave at my church. It was a life I very much like to live. Her words resonated.

I felt it was tragic how soon her life has ended.

I was very frustrated the past couple days. Not just trying to process through death of the missionary. Work too, I worked till late yesterday night from morning to midnight. When work interferes with my running life, I am not happy.

Another sad news was no matter how much effort I put in the work, I ended up making a big mistake, one of the biggest ever in my 16 years of working. Of course I am very unhappy about it. I should have dropped everything yesterday and gone for a run. Sometimes, it does not make a different when you trying to go the extra mile, things backfired.

I heard a wonderful tip about resilient people on NPR this evening. A few points I got are: always believe you have control in even most desperate situation. Know that troubles only last a short time. Don’t blame failure on things that you can’t change – like I’m lazy or I’m stupid or this is the way it is, instead lay out causes of failure on area you can improve on.

I got some tips from my pastor too on transformation. I will leave that for another post.

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life

day282 random Friday/Sat

Not that I don’t have things to write about but I haven’t had a single fully developed topic to post.

So this might be a garbage can or a recycling box that I dump everything.

About running, pretty consistently done. I love it and can’t do enough. My body is definitely taking a hit this week. Recovery from the 100k is slower than I want it. Kind of expecting that. It has been a miracle that I could even move. In the past, it took me months to recover and now we are talking hours, and get back out. I am taking easy this weekend. No more another 100k.

I switched to evening run again. Just been busy every morning…not busy busy, but there were things I got to do, and before I knew it I blew an hour and so gone was the time allotted for running. Luckily I had the evenings to run.

My body now aches. My legs (calves) are jelly. My shins hurt. They say need better shoes and rest. Sleep more at night. Eat better. Don’t ramp up miles too quickly. No more than 10% a week. I guess From 58 to 103 miles is a bit more than 10%. I’m not good with math. I will try buying better shoes or switch to no shoes, maybe that will help. I want to be a moron, just denying the reality.

Oh, I checked on the blister on my little toe, and it is not good. It has harden on the outside. I dare not pop it now. It might be painful. Bad bad bad. I waited too long. They say to soak it with water during shower and rub/file it down. They say don’t develop calluses on your feet. Hopefully my body will absorb the blood clot into the body and it will be ok. I plan to order those pumice rubbing things for my feet. No calluse. No pic here.

Though I didn’t post every day like last week, I was writing stuff to be posted later. Don’t do that right? Post now and post often, right? Sometimes you just have to wait for the right timing. Otherwise it is garbage bin like this post is.

The down side is if I don’t run, it means no dinner. I love running but no dinner is an extra incentive. I love food too. Usually my runs took 1.5 to 2 hrs and by the time I was done there would be no dinner any way…because the stores were closed by then. I cooked my own food but there was no food to cook. I have been putting off doing my shopping this week. I learned the hard way — Stores in our area used to open till midnight and IHOP is 24 hrs. But COVID changed everything. I didn’t know because I was sheltering in place. I thought they were essential and would keep to regular schedule but didn’t realize no one steps out the house after 9 pm now, so the whole city goes dark after that except for road construction – they don’t sleep. So after one of my runs, I said oh it is still early, only 10:15 let me go to Giant (our local grocery chain), when I was there, the restocking staff outside said they are closed. I did again the second night and the third night. By Friday, I got the message. The store has changed their hours. Duh.

I said I will call for chinese. There was no one picking up the phone. I drove there and saw a sign. It thanked the patrons for all the supports and all the years of doing business with them, but they have closed temporary since April 1 for everyone safety! what!? I looked in it didn’t seem to be closed temporary. I suspected many mom and pops went under during the COVID. Same thing played out for my haircut place/barbershop.

That’s that. I found what open late at night! It is 7-Eleven. Trusted old 7-Eleven. I finally got my dinner there couple nights ago. My third option would have been Walmart but that would be a longer drive and I didn’t think of Walmart at the time, who would do grocery at Walmart? I got dinner from a gas station couple times too (a bottle of soda really), but you don’t want to eat (drink) the same thing all the time. I know they charged me twice what I normally pay at a grocery store, but when you are hungry after a run, you pay whatever. I would even sell my birth right to my little brother for a bowl of stew 🙂

Virginia went to phase 1 of the reopening last night. My area is still closed for two more weeks because we made up the bulk of the infection numbers. My tiny locale is still showing 200 infections a day, that more than entire Australia (107) had in a week. These are known infections, many are suspected to be unreported.

They say wear a mask. Save life. Stay at home. That what my aunt in Sydney is telling me. She thinks we are nutz to protest to our local government for not willing to reopen a few weeks ago. Some here even refuse to wear a mask because it is their right. I told her, we have to liberate Virginia and Michigan – joking here! I feel proud of our state motto – sic semper tyrannis (my loose translation: down with the king).

I thought about my mission statement. I had something but it is not ready to be posted. On my last run, I was rethinking some of the stuffs of what I want to do. There is some problem with that. We are (I am at least) too focused on the doing this and doing that. Get this done or that. Buy this or that. Reach this level or that. So forth. Action items are easy – either you have done it or you have not. I like bucket list. You don’t have to refight the same battle every day. Have it done and move on.

I was reminded, there are mission statements out there focus on Being. Am I a better person? Am I more gentle and exhibiting patience this year? Am I more at peace with myself and people around me instead of being frustrated, contending with this or that? But shaking things up or throwing out the bath water with the baby, those are what I really like to do. Demonition and rebuilding! Have I gain any word of wisdom to live by?

Categories
life

Day281 Dream

As I pondered on my mission statement, someone asked me what I think is missing in my life? This can be answered in many ways. It is hard to answer – I wish it is simple as a concrete ordered list of items. Deep down, I don’t really know the answer.

There are people who are perfectly content of where they are in life. While life might not be perfect, they are happy of what they have or where they are.

Not me though. I am not sure if I can ever find myself at peace with the way things are. Sometimes though I do get too tired and lazy and start accepting the status quo, but that is not who I am. I have been contending with myself and my environment since day 1. Things can’t stay the way they are. I measure myself by changes each year and positive changes over a period of time, which I called growth. My struggle and inner drive is probably the proof that I am alive.

I wrote up a blog on this to answer this question, yet it remained unpublished (maybe some day I will). I wanted a rewrite, because while running an amazing thought came to me of how I will write this, unfortunately I forgot. Let this be a take two if you will. I don’t want to be too negative as one who is ungrateful of what the Creator has allotted to me.

I know I am already part of the one percent by living in a developed nation, and not just any nation, but the world only superpower. In many metrics, we outshine the second place by huge margin (it is not a perfect nation, but we have done well in many ways, especially in term of wealth). On top of that I am much much well off than many in the nation already. I might not the one percentile in term of wealth (many of my peers are, or near there), but I live a much comfortable life, not having worry when my next meal will be or where I will sleep. All bills are paid on time and best of all, there is a lot of money left over for me to ‘spurt’ on vanity spending for example, on races and running shoes — stuffs I don’t need to survive.

That said, I am not unhappy. There are something missing still. There are things I can have control over and there are things I have less to no control over. Obviously, we all fighting with the limited amount of time and money. I can only do so much in this amount of time. There is also talent. Say, even if I have eternity, I will not be a great musician, that is something I must accept.

I wish to do better in life. 1. What this mean I strive to make more money still. Much much more. Humongous amount. I talk as much about money as I do with running. Stocks and investments and 401K are my lingo.

2. A better job.

3. A wife. I found love once. I used to believe it doesn’t exist. Then encountered it, but it was like a mirage. I am a changed man though. A lot can be said about it. I think it is most ironic facet of life. There is a blog I follow, I think it called something the brokenspecs, which captured this irony. It is not simple. I can’t wrap my mind around it.

4. A house. I don’t really need one, but seeing other people buying, kinda make me go hmmm, why can’t I buy one too. Of course I can’t afford one yet with my salary.

5. Advetures. Life would be dull if it is just work and paying off debts and on the weekend either endless chores and too tired to do anything else. Having a focus or cause to pursuit is what make life real and worth living. I don’t get it exactly what I want or need to be satisfied. Over the years I came up with two lists: The first one is my bucket list items [BL], and the second list is what I find delightful [JY].

[JY] https://antin.blog/50-joyful-things/

[BL] https://antin.blog/bucket-list/

6. Religion. I am a religious guy in a way. I know I was taught that there is a god-shaped hole inside each of us, that can’t be filled but God himself. Whether this is true or not is religion. I wish it is true. The argument goes, if you have God then you don’t need anything. I am a simple guy, I can’t think too hard on these kind of things. I don’t think it is true. But by that argument, there are very few people who attain this, because most of us have ‘other’ goals in life than ‘seeking’ God. Any way, I think about this stuff a lot, and I probably not the first one in history to do so.

I prefer focusing on item 5. I can say a lot on it. I like to travel. So I need more money for this. Hope to go around the World one day! I already did in an airplane, but you know that is not what I mean. I want to climb to the base camp of Mount Everest. Visit Nepal to do trekking. Climb Kilimanjero and touch its snow. Go to Galapagos islands. When I went to Chile, I didn’t get to go to the southern most point (they called it the end of the world), so I would like to go back there. Travel on the silk road. Plus many more places.

Adventures – Trek. Hike the PCT, CDT, AT. Cross the USA continent, experience the Oregon Trail.

Running. There is no end to this. Run marathons in all 50 states. Do some ultras and triathlon. Escape from Alcatraz seems interesting.

Backpacking. Many adventures. Vermont. presidential traverse. Adirondacks: the great range traverse. White Mnt. camp in Alaska.

Other sports. I wish to able to Kayak more. Bike more. Learn how to ski. I hear skiing is a lot of fun. Swim.

Ya, we have only limited amount of time on hand. For me, I wish to do all these things within the next 10 years of life when my strength is still near my peak.

That is what I am struggling each weekend.

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life

Day277 one of those days

Random Friday – I am ashamed to put up any number today, because I walked 75% of the time than run. 4 miles done. GVRAT total ~ 86-87.

My body is fine with minor fatigue here and there on my foot. My spirit though is not like yesterday. I rather skipped prayer meeting for a run but the run didn’t lift my spirit. One of those trade-offs.

Forgot what I was going to say. This will be one of those aimless blogs. I had great thoughts during the run and was going to write about those too, but now can’t recall them. Had it all plan out.

A fellow blogger was blogging about childhood favorite things. This brings to mind of songs I remember when I was a kid as I was running. I like to hum during my run. Today I hummed How Great Thou Art. I don’t know the lyric to it but in my childhood, that was something I remember.

I wish for a normal life, but nothing is normal. The stay-at-home is supposed to be normal. It likes this is what life is supposed to be. You get to spend more time at home and to do the things you always don’t have the time to do, like cleaning and endleas chores. Then I said it is not normal to stay at home. I never have enough time. Why life is always so hectic?

Then in the middle of my run, I got to plan out this race across the America for real. You can’t just wake up and run out the door for it. Same for the real run down at Chattanooga. I can’t just go and do it.

I figure for the next 10 years, I will need to take a break 3-4 times during the summer to reach some of life goals. Cross the America will take 4-6 months. Hiking the Appalachian too will take about that much time. I might want to throw in the PCT and CDT. And the question is if I have $50000 what would I spend it on? A running vacation or downpayment on a house? I am struggling whether to do the sensible thing or to do what my passion dictate.

This reminds me I still looking for a mission statement for this year or the next so that my life has some kind of anchor. I know I have one – Run.

Oh I finally remember what I was going to write. Nothing earth shattering. Many people who embark on this epic journey pf 1000k GVRAT wanted to watch some documentaries on running, or podcasts. Fpr me I don’t feel like reading or watching on any those right now. What I feel like reading is the Canterbury Tales, and the Pilgrim’s Progress.

Hope y’all have an awesome Friday and weekend!

Categories
life

day269 dream

This has happened to me several times before, all recently within the last couple months, well maybe six months, three or four times. I woke up, between sleep and wake stage actually. My eyes were still closed but I felt I was awake and conscious. I was pretty sure or I thought I was back at the old house but in my present body. My mind pictured everything in the house and if I walked down the hallway, my mom’s room was there. I laid on my bed and felt exactly like I was in my old room. No one was home and no one here either. I had two rooms but I felt I was in the smaller room. My mind said hey, that couldn’t be. It doesn’t make sense. I am living alone now, how can there be a room for my mom.

I don’t know what age I was in the ‘dream’ but it was so photo, more than photo realistic, it was like I was there. Virtual-realistic if that is a word. Well I think I was in my present age – hence plot hole.

Even when I woke up, I was still disoriented and really wanted to open the door of my room and peek to see if I was dreaming.

I guess I missed the old place. I moved about 10 years ago. Gosh, not sure what bring me back to that place. I ran passed it couple weeks ago. It was a feeling that I was ‘back at home’. Even then it didn’t make any sense.

Maybe because before falling asleep I had a super strong desire wishing I was a teenager again. The mind just laid down the images of what I wanted and I was submerged in it.

It was one of those weird feeling to relive a moment of my teenage year. Well not like reliving, but more like traveling through time in my present mind and body.

The weirdest feeling was when I opened my eyes, I had to remind myself, I am now here in the present.

I don’t usually dream (they say everyone dream but it is just we don’t recall them) and when I dream it was about sleeping in my dream. In anime, there is a genre called slice-of-life, where to me is pretty pointless to watch – I guess it is like reality tv, but usually the main character is doing something irrelevant and there is no plot and sometimes the whole conversation in it is pointless too — well maybe I just don’t get the genre. It is a window into someone’s life at a moment in time and most of the time, that moment has nothing going on. Who would spend all the effort to produce an anime about nothing? But I still watch them, sometimes, because they produce certain feeling – nostalgia.

I felt my dream is like that. Those are what my dreams are like. There is no action, I just laid around in my dream doing nothing except thinking of stuffs. Weird. The plot hole happened when I realized I am in a dream and forced myself to open my eyes to find out. I rather dream of adventures and battling monsters, going on quests, those kinds, not the boring kind.

Is it scary when you realize you might be in a dream and can’t wake up? It happened to me. There is a pause between sleep and awake. My mind convinced me that I was in a dream, so now how do you wake up. I have seen the movie Inception. It was almost like that except there was no sleep machine. But it was a freaky realization…since your mind was telling you that you are awake in the dream. There was that brief pause where I can’t move my body (I guess for transitioning) – or at least I felt I can’t. Luckily I was laying then. And somehow my eyes were closed in my dream but I could see too with my eyes being closed – I guess I was using the mind eye. So I woke myself up by forcing my eyes to open. It took a great deal of effort. When my eyes opened I would be fully convince I am back at the real world. This time though it was easy to wake up. I think the first time it happened to me, it was pretty hard to get out of the dream.

Am I losing mind? Is this some kind of disassociation?

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life Uncategorized

day266 kind a random Friday

This couple weeks I have learned quite a few things from Youtube while having nothing to do. It was more like an excuse of not wanting to do anything.

Napal, it is a beautiful country I want to go there trekking someday. It was not on my radar other than the Everest base camp trek.

–I watched couple videos by Sarala Thapa https://youtu.be/wUon4Npzdis

Her mini documentaries reminded me of the serious tone from NPR (US National Public Radio) news reports or movie of Dances with Wolves. It was a pleasure to watch. I just love heavy things like this.

-I know about Bobby Fischer, American Chess champion and herarded as the greatest chess player ever, from a movie “In Search of Bobby Fischer” many years ago but I haven’t looked at any of his chess games. I found stimulating watching couple videos on his games on Youtube. After that, my mind was too tired to continue, but it was well worth it. Plus I learned about a new chess game he invented, chess960.

It led me to watch many chess videos of the current world chess champion, Magnus Carlsen. It was beyond my ability to follow. Plus, speed chess is not my cup of tea.

I throughly enjoyed the interview he did with Dick Carvett Show in 1972.

https://youtu.be/zIE3CFNpZ5Y

WW2 Battle of Midway. I want to know more about World War II and I like strategy.

The video from the Japanese general’s perspective was interesting. The battle could have gone either way. The video puts the viewer behind a ‘fog of war’, meaning you only know about things as it comes and experience confusion occurred during the battle.

After that, I went on to watch the American perspective and an earlier naval battle of Coral Sea. I love this video. It is likely boring subject to most people, but the narator of this video is excellent.

There you have it. Heavy stuffs for a heavy time.

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life

day263 cabin fever

I am losing my mind. It is not even a solitary confinement, but it feels like one. I don’t know how prisoners are dealing but this is tough.

I want to get outside. There is nothing normal about staying at home. First couple weeks seemed great but now, it is like how long do I have to stay like this. I can’t stand it. I literally feel like I am losing my mind.

Such a strange day every day.

I now kind of have to resign to the fact that it might take a long time – we are talking about months – maybe another 2-3 months. Our governor gave a date of June 10. Not sure what that date is, but it is telling us nothing is normal until then. However, our number of infections is still rising, but at a slower rate than the day before. It is still rising. We have not hit the top of the curve yet. The date for that is April 26 for our area. One more week.

I have to remind myself not to get a false sense that we are improving by looking at New York. They hit their apex of the curve and is on the downward slope or plateauing. We like to think we are too on the downward slope for our area too. Nope. We are like two weeks behind them. We are still on the upward side. But people are out and about now. Or is it just me?

Our state is also doing better than our neighboring state or the capital (DC). It might make people, myself included to think everything is better now. There is now traffic on the road!! Not proud of that but see people can’t put up with this crap any more. Yup, Viriginians should be out protesting. People around the nation are shaking their heads at us. I blame cabin fever. I wish to hear from our governor to tell us, you guys need to stay inside.

I have done that this weekend.

On Friday, the parking lot at my food store was full! When I went in, man, the place was packed – I am exaggerating but there were a lot of people – I turned around and headed back out the door. There was no need to fight with all the people. I know, it was a peak period, and everyone wanted to buy food to make dinner etc. I usually shopped around 9-10 pm and it is much less crowded, no line at the check-outs. It’s just hard to change everyone’s behavior – why do everyone feels they need to go to the store right before dinner time? Me included.

Why is our state better than the neighboring state? I don’t have an answer.

My guess is there is a river separating us and ‘them’. DC of course is a hot spot just because it is more densely populated, and more people going in and out (tourist, business, govt offficials, commuters, etc). Note that there are a lot of essential employees since our federal government has not shut down. People still need to go to work.

They also say wealth disparity can affect the number. If we are wealthier that could explain it. But I don’t think we are wealthier than Maryland, at least Fairfax County vs Montgomery County or Howard County. But VA is always perceived as being richer. I could look up the stats on this. [1] Can’t really tell from the stat. MD spent more per capita in 2016 data than VA. I looked up the county budget too, it seems Montgomery budgeted for $4.6-4.7 billion in revenue 2018. Fairfax budgeted for $4.1 expenses in 2018. not apple to apple, but seemed to be about the same, with Maryland having a slight lead.

Back to geography, our northern Virginia land area is smaller than Maryland side. Maybe a third of the total Washington region. That could explain why we have a bit less of the infections (about 4000 cases difference). We have less metro stops in VA for the same reason.

Why does it concern me? Because the overall rate seems lower here in VA makes me and others feel we safer and we are doing the right thing! Thinking deeper at the reasons behind it can reveal a fallacy. I think though the northern VA might have the same rate of infection as DC and MD, or we might even have more than them – it is just our statistics might be skewed because we have more land/people in the country side who haven’t caught the infection yet. We don’t have a regional specific statisitics. Our state population is larger but more spread out and they are all far away from the northern Virginia, so making the numbers seem fewer infections per capita. This might give us a false sense of security, because watch out now that people here (myself included) started going out their houses and we will increase the rate of infection!

Some say Governor Cuomo’s briefing is like a father lecturing his children. In a sense he is. I like that – yes stop fooling around people – kind of talker. We know we shouldn’t be out, but having someone being ‘mean’ and lecturing us about it is helpful. Otherwise, I will be running about.

I feel in Virginia, we don’t have that fatherly figure imploring us to stay in door. Instead, we have the President next door telling us to protest to our state for a quick reopening! I think we are going to whether or not our President is encouraging it or not.

[1] https://ballotpedia.org/Maryland_state_budget_and_finances#Estimated_2016_expenditures

Categories
life running

day262 midweek look

I hope to do a post over the weekend, so this is more like a mid week posting for me, but to you readers, it is weekend already.

Time flies. While in college, my roommate used to tease me whenever I said time flies. He would ask me to show him how does it fly or something like that, because he likes to be very literal — since both of us were majoring in engineering, we were literal and only say things with precision.

Time does fly. Oh Boy. I can’t believe a week has gone by. Not just a week, but a month. Five weeks I think of being stuck at home, 40 days to be exact since we have the first coronavirus case in the DC area. Why does it matter? Like everyone because of it, our lives – my life has been turned up side down. I know, I can’t consider myself suffering – having read and saw on the news of those who lost someone in this pandemic. Or those whose job was lost from the all the closings. I read a sad posting of a runner losing her father to the virus on here WP. Not sure if it is alright to share it, because it is not my story. Yet, it was very touching because it brought the virus to a personal level and not something I read on the news. [1]

My personal experience during these five weeks was not bad as all. As I wrote in other entries, it was more like a dream vacation. I am working from home of course, so it was not like a vacation-vacation per se. But it can be as relax as it can get. I won’t go into the details, but you can imagine. I do dress up each day and treat my work as if I am at the office from 9-5. I have a separate area just for work. However, all work is hectic and burdensome – real pain in the butt – if I have the choice to retire, I would, except I am still too young. Everyone say I have 30+ years to put in my due. More on retirement in another post – I try to be one of the FIRE, google it.

So working from home is not coasting at all. There are a lot I can say about it. My stress level is through the roof, yes coping with the virus plus just normal business cycle, we have a lot work – not a down turn at all for us, plus our company is in a transition to a new ownership, and plus a relocation of office. Yes, everything is through the roof. Virus thing and closing regulations are not helping when you need to get certain things to happen by a certain date. Things go wrong when they are not supposed to go wrong. I think like an engineer you know. We should have everything in control. I won’t get into it, but that is the stress of required me(or my company) to do the impossible each day.

I keep saying each day is like the day before and each week is like the week before. The only thing changes is how the coronavirus is spreading. In our community, we have over 1000 infections (1375). We have about 1 million people in our county. So it is 1375/mil, and can be thought of roughly is 1 in 1000 (my neighboring state and/or county is double that even though we are identical in every way – I will write in a separate post why that is if I get to it – make you think how the statistics is being counted). What this means is there is likely within a typical week, I would run into one person who has it. And this is the known infections (what is counted). They say the unknown (unreported) numbers of infection might be has high as 10 times that, so at 1 in 100.

Well I don’t think I would come into contact of 1000 people in a week especial now in a lockdown mode or else I am not locking down. But think with me, would a store or restaurant (carry-out) has 1000 customers in a day or in a week? I do go to the store at least once a week. Granted that those who know they have the disease would be in isolation. However, the spread is still ongoing even after a month, meaning there are still those who are carriers but don’t realize it. So 1-1000 is not farfetch at all. The window of me come in contact at that brief time is small, but in the back of my head, it is telling me, some time during today or this week, someone with the virus has passed through here!

The scary thing is I read about a store that was rumored to have 16 infections with many coming from the store employees – and the store is still open. This is a store I used to go to when I was still at work, but I haven’t gone there now since working from home. If readers want to look it up, search for Logan Circle, DC and Whole foods, infection. I won’t provide a link. This is the one that was published in the national newspaper. But the point is, how many other stores also have ‘cluster of infections’ like this except we just don’t know about? I suspected many stores are like this one and this particular store is not an exception but the norm. Hence it is still open and operating as normal!

If not for the virus, I can say with certainty what I will do over the weekend. I do have plans, but nothing is certain. Ha, this is reason for this post. Not about the virus, but my life. Yes, let get on with it and be safe about it.

One of the plans is to run a 50 mile this weekend. If I could pull this off, man, it would be one hell a weekend. It might be a 15-16 hour run. So I was thinking of starting at 3 am and finish around 6-7. I wouldn’t want to finish in the dark. I rather stsrt thr run when it is dark than finishing after sun is set.

I haven’t decided which day to do it on, Early Saturday or Sunday morning?

Also, would I quit when it becomes too hard? Last time I did it, there was no option to quit halfway because I was in the woods and usually 10-15 miles to the next aid station. The only option at the time was to run and tried to reach the aid station. Now, it could be very tempting to quit any time before the finish because the house wouldn’t be too far to get to and there is always uber (ya coronavirus etc, bad not social-distancing), but bailing option is available if ever comes to that.

I might be too chicken to do it this weekend and would have to defer to the following week or even one after. Any way, Happy Friday!

[1] https://ariruns.wordpress.com/2020/04/12/this-wasnt-supposed-to-happen/

Categories
life

day259 more the same

Blog. When I started blogging and following other people blogs, I often came across a few of the posts, that started off apologizing to users that they have been away for a time. I have seen blogs by the way side. I have one of mine too on livejournal that I haven’t updated in years. I have been telling myself, I try not be like that to leave for a long time without a heads up. I told myself, I will keep up with my blogging. I know it is mostly for my own benefits.

So I took a week off from here last week. It was not intended but might be becoming a habit for me, because I have nothing to write about in this coronavirus time. I usually blog when I have running to do and thoughts come to me that I can’t wait to write them down. I still can run, but I haven’t. No sure why is that. I know I could go outside each day and at least walk around the neighborhood for my own good. Instead, I’m just doing so vicarously by reading other people’s posts on here.

It is just that I like do things by a set routine. I wake up at a certain time, go to work at a certain time, train or run at a certain time and repeat them the next day. And of course I go wild on the weekend.

The truth is I am not so much worry about the coronavirus of how it affects me. Some people I know is deathly afraid of it. I know I can die if I catch it. At a time, yes that can be scary. Now though things seem to be getting better. I am not down playing it, but it is more a society problem than a personal problem. More a concern is like how and when are we getting back to work. We have a big problem on that front as a nation. Not just us, by around the world as well. I have been following the news in Hong Kong and they are just as bad on the economy side though they did pretty well on the virus containtment side.

But this short three weeks, now a month (if counting since March 7, when Virginia–DC area had their first coronavirus case) my schedule has been completely off. I could still try to keep the same routine, but really it is not the same. I only do two things now. Wake up, lay in bed for long long time then get to work, which is just me walking to my living room where my computer is, and then at the end of the day go back to my room. In between is cooking, getting food, throwing away trash, etc. That’s pretty much it. No trip. nothing after work hour. No TV or netflix because we don’t have those. Yes, reading blogs is my thing. I love those of you who post three or four entries a day!

My social run group and my church too, meet online. We do Zoom calling. For me it is kind of silly to do happy hour over Zoom conferencing. I haven’t joined my social running group for that. I should say toast to you with my milk glass. Cheer!

One benefit is I am saving a lot of money! Zippy. I was down on my luck — if I can say that, for overspending at the beginning of the year, and it got me to see what it means to live from paycheck to paycheck for a short time. With the coronavirus, I have nowhere to go. So my expenses basically has drop to zero, except for food and phones and some fixed payments like rents and loan payment. Thank you for all the hotel bookings, they were willing to refund me! At first I thought those thousands of dollars going down the drain. Zup, I am hording in cash! I saved thousand of dollars too for not eating out and or on transportation. Can you believe my commute cost me a thousand per month before? Food was too! Ya got to think what kind of food I ate that cost so much. Now only couple hundred for cooking my own meal. No more having to pay for parking for work! No haircuts either. I’m becoming a caveman.

Do I find myself having more time? I don’t know. Time is a fixed quantity. I should have 3-6 hours more, however, they get filled up with random looking out the window time. Navelgazing? Gosh, I hope it hasn’t been just browsing the web.

I finished reading a web novel this week and reread couple of the old ones and currently do not plan on starting on another 2000 chapters book. I don’t plan to do any review on them. The current one I finished is “Sovereign of The three Realms” (SOTR). Eh. Not recommended.

I have more complaints about the website than the novel. It limits how many chapters I can read unless I pay. I don’t mind paying, but the site organization sucks. Unless there is a compeling novel I want to read, just randomly browsing for one I like is a very difficult thing to do on that site. I won’t say the name. It was like reading on my WP site. Even if I know a particular book or chapter I want to read, it was very hard to get to it. I thank them for offering bookmarking. I could use my own bookmark as well (I usually don’t close my browser now, just keep the page opens until next time).

True though, I haven’t been paying for their novels in the past and had enjoying reading for free for last couple years. Thst is like 10k plus chapters. Oh gosh, what a time drain. Now they made it impossible to binge read, unless I pay. So I have been searching for a new site. I am a hypocrite, haha :). I really do appreciate the army of volunteered translators that make reading novels in other languages possible for English readers.

That’s my week. Ciao.