Categories
running

Day291 Long run to high school

[long post] Back about a month ago, I went on ‘a walk‘, which was really a long run but I was very under-motivated at a time and was too ashamed to call it a run. All my races were being canceled at the time and my training for my biggest race of the year (June 13/Laurel race) was derailing faster than I can blink, since I want to train in the woods for that race but couldn’t do it because all the parks were closed (and we were supposed to stay at home) – led to no LH#4 trip. I know I could have sneaked into the woods and no one would care or be able to find me. Virginia has a lot of woods and national parks. Rangers can’t cover all of them. There are places no one would go to.

The walk ended up being a 24 mile run, but was short of a marathon which was what I truly targeting, since the last few runs earlier were virtual marathon runs. This one fell short and couldn’t be used as a virtual marathon.

The cool thing about it was I got to see my neighborhood – the big neighborhood what I normally don’t get to see when traveling in in a car. I experienced how big my community really is. It is a new perspective knowing it is big, yet also feeling good that I could walk around it. If you look at the map, the path I ran has a triangular shape.

Near the tip of the triangle, is where Main Street intersects Lee Hwy and becomes Rt 236, and I decided to turn back at the time because I never walked across that street before (crossing over to Main). I felt that was a new frontier. It was like in the Lord of Ring, when Frodo and Sam said after taking one more step, they would left Shire behind. I was there not daring to cross it that day, because it would have taken me outside my zone (neighborhood) and into Fairfax city.

Well, this past weekend, I crossed the street and continued on much further, in fact all the way to my former high school. I spent the afternoon exploring that new area, basically running up and down on Lee Hwy and Fairfax Blvd (same street but their name changes along the way).

I got to my high school. It was remodeled after I graduated. It looked a lot different. I have been back maybe once or twice to watch a play and at another time for a football game (something I didn’t experience while I was in school, it was all 20+ years ago). Funny how time flies. I felt it was just yesterday I graduated. I was feeling though, that this run was like the first time being back. I was wondering whether our senior class gift to the school is still there (most likely not). This moment was strange too since school is out due to the pandemic. There were a few people around. Some were running on the track. One father was taking picture of his daughter who was in her graduating gown. There were many signs posted along of the side walk congratulating the seniors because they were denied of a formal graduation ceremony.

Sadden that this year there won’t be a high school graduation celebration

At the time though, I wanted to see if I could run to my university, which was another maybe 5 miles away. In the end, I was hungry. It was about 6 pm in the evening. I scratched the plan to run to my college, since there are fewer restaurants near the college, because it is outside Fairfax City.

So I continued down on Rt 236. Got my dinner. There are a bunch of asian stores in that area, where I was. Annandale is known as Korean town (now Centreville has taken over that title; or has become K2, 2nd Korean town). No, I didn’t get to Annandale yet, but its influence can be felt.

The sun was hot. My pace became a walk. I walked for the next couple hours after dinner basically around a 6 miles block, by turning on Pickett Rd, and again on Fairfax Blvd, which took me back to my high school, after passing Fairfax Circle.

The rest of the journey was uneventful. I saw a beautiful sunset as I was heading west. Fairfax Blvd becomes Main St. I stayed on Main Street, which later becomes Lee Jackson Memorial. Once I crossed back onto Lee Jackson, the rest of the run was like the previous ones. I was in a familar territory, my neighborhood. Funny, a month ago I wouldn’t have considered that to be familar to me.

Why am I going into all these details? It can be a little dry even for those who know the geography. Get to the point, right? I passed through many sections of my “big town”. From Centreville, to Chantilly, to Government Center, and Fairfax Corner, into Fairfax City. Fairfax City is not small.

Centreville and the surrounding areas have been blooming like crazy for the past 20 years, even last 5-10 years, the place has become unrecognizable. They are still building it and transforming as we speak. To me that is very exciting, because I live in a dynamic city. For example, while growing up, Centreville was not a Korean town. There was only one Asian store there. Two actually, a Pho place. However, over the years, now almost every store has become Asian, mainly Korean, exaggerating a bit here. The best things are they stay open late into the night (pre-pandemic). There was once a Korean restaurant that opened 24 hours. I never went out that late, but my friends said it is typical in Korea.

Example of Asian influence. Bubble tea stores are popping up every where. Bubble tea was going to be my dinner, though I ended up with a bowl of Pho, from few stores down. By the way, Pho doesn’t taste good as a carry out. Regretted of getting it.

In contrast, Fairfax City, while is still ‘expanding’, as I ran through it, has kept in its historical state. There is of course much history behind, since it was established 1869, but has existed long before that. I would say, the residents or local government has put a halt on it being transformed too quickly, because in the 50s, the surrounding area was growing at 60% [wiki] in population. That is quite a scary number (from 299,000 to 489,000) of people for the region in 10 years time. I think Fairfax too struggled to keep up at that pace. Things have slow quite a bit, especially the heart of Fairfax (the city).

Note, we have Fairfax City which is inside of Fairfax County. Sometimes they seem to be synonomous, but Fairfax is self-ruled, I think (and is separate from the County). While many other municipalities like Centreville does not have self-ruled, and is under the County’s management.

I felt I have walked into the past as I traveled down Fairfax Blvd. It was how it look maybe 30 or 50 years ago. It was just a weird feeling. Having been living in Centreville, and also working in downtown DC, I have come to expect new buildings and the modern look. But as I ran, I was saying huh, how come there isn’t any tall building here or there. Or why is there a strip mall here? There were a lot of ‘huh’ moments. It seems the locale is 20-30 years behind time. It is changing, but it is not doing as fast as out in the extended suburb. There are not many buildings/houses over three stories. Most of them are single story, flat. There are a lot of “green space”. All the surrounding places around Fairfax City has exploded with ‘high density’ this and that, but it seems Fairfax City is still a low density area. The image I had in my mind was like New York City Central Park being surrounded by all the skyscappers. I’m not complaining though, but that is how it comes across to me. I get the residents’ sentiments. People want to feel their root, how things look when they were a child here.

I came across a ‘house’, but it was like a farm to me. It might have been one. They kept all the land and now zoned as residential. There is a house at the very far end of the long driveway. This is rare in a city. I have not come across a lot of houses with a driveway, and one that is long, where you almost couldn’t see it. I said wow, I never expected a farm to be inside a city. Centreville and Chantilly used to be farm land too but now you can’t find any. You could if you drive a bit out to the next division/county over, e.g. to Cox Farm, where my sister loves to bring her kids there. We still have the street name called “Centreville Farms Rd” or Franklin Farm Rd, but no farm there.

To me, it seems people don’t want their neighborhood to be changed too quickly. Yet it seems also they are being left behind.

I was thinking, how come our city is not like say New York, or LA. Of course no one wants to be like them, at least not to have their troubles. But there is a good side in how ‘efficient’ city is when it is planed or organized. I have spent most of my running time, running in DC, or around my house in Centreville, and I just love the inner city feel (at least the rich part). I felt Fairfax or Centreville is missing something. It seems they lack a ‘vision’ of having a coherent master city plan. DC is a planned city. Yes, we have ton of growth. And Yes we have people who don’t want changes. But as I ran through the city (Fairfax City), I felt things got built or placed randomly. We do have zoning laws, but it doesn’t seem being done right.

Another thing we lack is an identity. We don’t have something to make Fairfax City unique. We have a lot of streets named after Confederate Soldiers/generals. This little history too I think one day will disappear because there is a movement to push back anything that has to do with the Confederate because of its tie to slavery, and the negative aspect (white supremacy), as seen in recent years’ protests, and antiprotests, and racial killing.

In DC, we have a lot of statutes and monuments and museums and government buildings to showcase – a tourism magnet. But in Fairfax, when someone speaks of Fairfax nothing really comes to mind. People make fun of it by saying we have Bulgogi (Korean Bbq). There is a video out there on Youtube made a few years ago comparing Fairfax with Arlington. Arlington has Starbucks. I think we have more than that!

I felt the city should have visible symbols that they can be proud of. We have a Fairfax Museum. I have been there, but it is nothing anything close to being like a museum in DC. There is nothing we can be proud of. Our identity mainly stems from being a suburb of DC. Fairfax City is even less developed than its surrounding. The whole city is underdeveloped, which is not neccessary a bad thing.

It does have an university, which was actually built outside the city because it couldn’t find enough land in the city (or that people doesn’t want anything to change within), that was where I was going to run to, but changed my mind as I was heading there.

Our county too lack a distinct identity. We are known as having one of the largest school system. We are supposed to be a pretty rich county, something like top 10 or even higher. We have tons of trails, for which I am glad. We have couple well known towns, mainly Reston, Herndon, Tysons, Vienna, Centreville, and Annandale. I leave out Alexandria and Falls Church for a reason (they have their own thing – self rule). I felt we can do better in term of having the infrastructure to support ‘future growth’.

Another example: The county has now a place for all its adminstrative building (in Fairfax Corners). But it seems to be a half baked idea. Not all the government functions are located there. I felt they should. We zoned it as such, why not make it a full blown the seat of the government for the county there? But we have too much money. We have three or for four different locations for the county HQs (headquarters). Might be a good thing. We have divided the county into “areas” by number internally, e.g. Area 1, Area 2, Area 3. Is there area 4? There is the north county, and south county. The government center, is on the west county, but we don’t call it as such. Weird, it is neither north or south. Don’t ask me which area it belongs. The area number seems to be labeled as such by construction people or some engineers/city planners (internally) and was never a name supposed to be used by the public. Schools though are divided by area number (weird right?).

It brought to mind as I ran, that DC has Wards (political sub division). I felt our county would be better if we are divided into wards, like DC. I don’t know why it is better, but at least I felt each Ward then would have its own identity. Ward 1, vs Ward 10. It is a bland identity, but at least it is something. Yes, voting wise, we have district – I am belonging to the Springfield congressional district even though the actual Springfield area is 20-25 miles away! They gerrymandered my area into theirs for historical reason. Don’t remember how many years ago that was. It is meaningless. I don’t vote for Springfield issues. There is probably some wise man, saying I got this wrong.

Another similar thought on identity is we should bid for an olympic event in our area. This actually came up last year or the year before when we tried to submit a bid – I think Baltimore did, they tried to get the Washingtonians to join them, though a lot of people I talked to were laughing at the idea – horrible idea to bring an olympic here to DC with our high security concerns. But we should make the place ‘tourist friendly’, and a successful olympic bid would do that. Also we should have a stadium or two, with at least one for the university. We should help our university to get into div 1 for its football program. Yes everything is about sport, especially football, in our nation. We should have national standing, and even internationally if we have an olympic here. The Washington Redskins were looking for a practice facility. We should have built one for them. However, many people opposed it. Not in our backyard, they say. Imagine every weekend tailgate party; the noise and mess of 40,000-80,000 fans streaming through your quiet neighborhood. No way, they say. I have attended a ‘big’ school with a football program. Ya, you can’t sleep or study with a game on.

I have traveled to couple other countries. I saw how they arranged their cities. There is some desire for my local area to be like that. Fairfax county/city right now feel a bit of being in the backwater.

Bland architecture. I felt the whole city is like this. Having been in “better” places, this has a rustic feel in the middle of the city. Not that they planned it that, but time passes them by. Not making fun of it.

Those were just some silly reflections. Not sure if they will ever get any where. I am not a politician nor have plan to become one. I see it as quirks or wrinkles of my locale. No one has tried straighten them out. Maybe some did and failed.

I got home after the sun has set. It was a long 41-42 miles run. My watch battery was low and I had to stop the gps tracking 6 miles short.

Watch data. 35 miles. I stopped it 6 miles from home. I ran the remaining miles using Runkeeper to track. (not posted).
Destination: My former high school. It was recently renovated. Now it is a lot better looking. When I attended there, it was a flat ugly building, said to be built in 1936, like the shopping strip photo.

[a walk] https://antin.blog/2020/04/12/day260-random-walk-around-the-neighborhood/

[wiki] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Virginia

Categories
running

Day290 supposingly a run summary

I am a bit tired after a run. Not sure if I can pull my thoughts together for a post. I am been wanting to post a lot so I can get to Day 300. Yes, I have a post ready for that day.

Every 50 days is like a pause to look back what has changed and how my life is doing. It is like looking at a big picture. I wrote up one about a month ago when I was bored with the quarantine/stay at home policy.

Surprisingly the last three to four weeks have been rather busy. For a couple reasons. I got a hang of the working from home thing and I also have a renewed interest in running due to the epic virtual race I am taking part in – The Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee, aka, GVRAT, and we are known as rats.

So each morning, I’d wake up and do my run and each night I would be out there 2-3 hours. I would be out on the road 14-16 hours over the weekend on Saturday and Sunday. If I feel good, usually I do, I go out again on a Sunday. Yes, I am I like the hamster in its little running wheel, never tired of running. I used to have couple hamsters and I would love to see them spin the wheel.

I get home late at night usually after 10 or 11 and am half dead, trying to stay awake to cook and stuff food into my body before collapsing in my bed. It is a good life! There’s too little time to think of anything else.

The big concern is how is my body holding up? It has tear and wear. I hoping it is holding together. I feel like Lazarus each morning – a dead man rising.

The hardest distance to run is not the long ones but the short one between my bed and door. As long as I could get out of bed, I would be running. I took this from the race director of GVRAT. It is so true. The first step is the hardest one to take.

Today, I received my shirts from two of the races, as well as a medal.

It is a big hunk of metal with the word Footlevelers Blue Ridge Marathon. Has a picture of the sun and mountains and trees. I did it virtually 26.2 miles. The quarter there for comparison. Probably 20 quarters can fit inside the medal.

The medal is from the Roanoke Blue Ridge Marathon. Originally I was going to run it twice (called the double) on the same day, but I chickened out, and did only the normal marathon. Later, those who have been following my blog, knew I ran 62 miles couple weeks ago, which is much longer than the double marathon. I consider that goal is reached. Maybe next year though I might try it for real.

Oh as a weekly run summary (back on topic), I ran a lot. 95 miles total. I had two days off Monday and Tuesday. I ran a total 42 miles during the rest of the week days, and on the weekend I put in 53 miles.

Categories
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
running

day287 50K around Centreville

[old post] I wrote this up to recap last weekend run. Boy don’t they come fast. Happy Memorial Day!

I did a 100k the week before, so it was no surprised I tried a 50K the following weekend. I started to be more familiar with the roads around my neighborhood and a few nearby neighborhoods as well. I am always searching for a new place to run.

I did a virtual marathon couple months earlier when we first started the shelter in place Centreville [Marathon]. Originally, I had no name for this 50K, but Centreville 50K seems appropriate, though the race went through Chantilly and Fairfax as well. It was not a virtual race, I didn’t attempt any virtual race when I started out. I have started to run high mileage, and so hearing 50k doesn’t daunt me as they used to be. A 50k was just another run.

I started to enjoy the longer runs more because I am not dying during a long run. There is this point they call it the wall when your body is out of energy (glycogen) and it has to either convert your muscle cells to energy, which is typically the case or to convert fat cells (as I read it somewhere) to energy. It hurts and you can’t run fast and if you are dehydrated, you can’t think well either. You feel really mess up. So most people hate hitting the wall.

But now, not every long run will cause me to experience hitting the wall. Maybe I am better at constantly fueling the body with high sugary drink and food. That is a great feeling when you could run indefinitely and not feel tired. Quite a contrast from before. If you read my first couple virtual marathons, they were a struggle to finish. Now, it is like running a 5k or 10k for me. Well almost.

It was a low key 50K run. I knew it would be a long run 20+ miles but I didn’t know how long it was going to be. My weekend plan like any other weekend was to run until I drop.

The mind is a funny business. If I feel a hard run is coming up, I would avoid doing it. I woke up pretty early. Thinking back, there is no need to fear a long run. However, I was putting the run off the whole weekend. I was going to go out at 7-7:30 and have it done but it took me the next five hours to get myself out. First I told myself, I had to have breakfast. Then I did various stuff including uploading my blog. I delayed further by browsing on the facebook page. There are so many people showing various places of where they were running and I could not separate myself from it. Then I started to feel hungry again, so I said I need to eat again, since it would be a long run, you need a lot of food for energy. Ended up, I didn’t step outside until 12 pm.

Luckily I had all my runner pack and snacks all ready the day before because I wanted to do the long run originally on a Saturday, but my body didn’t feel ready. The 12 miles on that Saturday was a struggle. How I hated that run. This run though was a breeze.

Sunday run was totally different even though I started late. I knew it the moment I started running. Usually I need 2-3 miles to warm up to pace. There was no struggle at all, I was in my rhythm and on pace right at the beginning. It is a long run so my pace was slow but it was not dragging slow like on Saturday. You can tell. My breathing was better. I was not struggling for air. My legs were fine. They were not heavy. There was no pain or discomfortable anywhere.

The idea was distance. I need lot of them. This one was to rack up ton of mileage (I am in a 1000k virtual race and need a lot of mileage during the weekend to keep my standing). With the late start, destination run was out of the equation. I wouldn’t have the time to finish the run if I were to head for Reston or to Springfield unless I am willing to come home the next morning and the next day is a work day, so it was out of the question. My boss wouldn’t be pleased if I had showed up half dead. Destination runs would take more than a day. I decided to just run a boring loop. In the end it was a hybrid. I combined the routes of the last three weekend runs together. It was a mini destination run to my old neighborhood. The idea hit me while I was in the run itself.

I ran down on Stone road as I usually do. It was quite familiar to me, having done so many times in the past two months. Stone road became West Fields and then became Walney until I reached Lee Jackson Memorial. While from time to time I would make some loops into the neighborhood, which I also quite familiar now, to rack up the mileage. I was able to turn what normally a 4 mile run into a 12 mile run, that takes skill! That was my first leg. That was quick impressive to make a run three times as long in a relatively short stretch of the road. Apparently a coworker of mine saw me on the road, and she later emailed me about it. At the time, I was totally focused on my run.

As usual I made a pit stop at my mom’s place. She was home and I was able to top off on food and water and I stayed maybe 20-30 mins.

By then I already had in mind where I wanted to go. The time was after 3 pm. It was late but not too much. I was not pressed for time because now the sun doesn’t set until 8:30 and doesn’t get dark until after 9 pm. I have plenty of daylight. I wanted to head to my old place where I lived during my high school years. It is about 4-5 miles away and I planned to do loops there (at least once) at the ‘government center’, that is what that area is called. It started as the Fairfax county government center but now it has been redeveloped as a commercial and hip residential place. I feel our county is rich enough to rival our state government, that it even has it own district, very similar to our nation government district (in DC). I grew up running loops in this place (of course back then it only had only one road and now it is a whole maze).

That was my aim. I knew I could get 15-20 miles from going this place easily.

I took a new way there by using the county parkway. Instead of strictly following it like the previous week when I ran to Springfield, I took some turns. At first I ended up in an unfamiliar neighborhood since they had redeveloped the place. The street name was familiar though. I ran down Monument drive. After couple miles I came out to the area I recognized.

I drank too much water before the run and I needed to make a pit stop. Only store I could think of was to go into the grocery store. At the same time I could refresh myself with drinks and snacks.

I ordered a cold chocolate mocca, but because I had my face cover on, the lady gave me a hot one instead due to the confusion of the word ‘ice’ and ‘white’. Beat me how that two words get mix up. The outside temperature was pretty warm and I was dripping with sweat. Oh well let not give her a hard time. She did repeat my order couple times, it was like do you really want this drink and I thought I’ve heard her but in the end she still got it wrong. Maybe because people don’t drink coffee that late in the day. Hot and cold though was in a different catagory.

There marked the end of my second leg. I was hoping a quick in and out to use the bathroom and then top off with some liquid and calories and be on my way. Now I had a big cup of hot liquid in my hand. I couldn’t run unless I drink some of it and it was too hot to just gulp it down. I went out. They had a park nearby with benches. I sat on one of them and watched the traffic and enjoyed my hot brew. It was most relaxing part of the run to say the least.

Once my coffee was done, I hit the road again. Spinned around the government center. I used the old 5K race (PR birthday bash/Run Your Hear Out) route there. I finished in the shopping center and there were a few employees from a restaurant on break and they clapped for me as I went by to the invisible ‘finish line’.

By then it started to get late and I headed back home following almost the same way as I came. No stop for a 2nd cup of coffee. My mom was no longer there to answer my call either when I passed by her place. I was a bit disappointed. I carried enough water on me though. I zigzagged the remaining miles to get 31 miles out of the run.

At the last couple miles, I passed by a thai restaurant. It has been my habit to eat at a Thai place on my run. So I went in and ordered the usual Tom Yum Soup and Thai icetea. I really need to learn how to make these. I saw you can order the powder on Amazon. Any way I told the guy, I am going to run home and come back with my car. So I finished my last couple miles in my fastest time and it was the most motivated mile ever! I wanted to take a shower too when I got home, but I didn’t want my food to get cold.

I mentioned in another post the down side of having the long run on Sunday was there no time to wind down afterward. I got my food around 8:30. I went and did grocery shopping and I think I didn’t get to eat until 9-9:30. Then with stretching and showering and cleaning up, it was midnight by the time I went to bed.

The worse thing was that late afternoon coffee kept me up until 2 AM. I don’t know when I felt asleep, but I felt I was awake the whole night. Luckily I was fine the next day. I was a bit tired in the morning but it was a satisfying run.

Watch data with map. 7:47 hrs and 31.5 miles

[Marathon] https://antin.blog/2020/03/29/day254-virtual-run2/

Categories
running

Day286 Night Run

Sometimes I have a lot on my mind and running helps sort those out. Tonight was the opposite. I wish I have something to think about but my mind was peaceful as a calm lake.

The run finished quick. It still took over two hours but I didn’t feel it was a drag. A night like this I could run forever. I always like night run.

When I started running in my neighborhood few months ago after the stay at home policy went into effect. There was some trepidation about running alone in an empty street. It took some time to get used to it. I used to run in downtown DC and there are always people no matter how late. But it is different out here in the suburb. Things get quiet real fast after sun down. I kind of like it now. It is just me and the pavement and occasionally a car passes by.

Most sections are dark. In some neighborhood there are street lights but not everywhere. There are places like interstate exits or entrances or under the underpass, there is no street light. There is a section where it is completely dark. I can’t see anything. So I have my handheld flash light and sometimes I double up with a headlamp. I found running in the dark is kind of cool because I know there is light at the end of the tunnel. No matter how dark, I will reach a place where there is light soon. That kind of thoughts cheer me up.

Is it dangerous? Sure it is. On couple occasion I tripped and fell. It hurts for sure. I never fell real bad though. Another kind of danger is being run over by car. This is more a problem during day time than at night. Cars do not really see runner. I have many times crossing the road and a car would turn right in front of me. I had one time being right in front of one and the car drove on. I was quick to leap out the way. Most drivers look to their left instead of right. So I would be in their blind spot if I am crossing from their right to left. This had happened quite enough time now I would stop at the intersection and wave at the driver to make sure I have their attention.

Tonight run was short. I have double up the mileage after couple days of rest. It felt good to able easily handle a half marathon each night. A year ago, it was unimaginable that I could do that.

Watch data: 13.14 miles in 3:10 hours.
I stopped at my mom’s place for dinner. The watch kept going because I don’t believe in pausing the timer.

I was able to ponder on the pastor yesterday message but it will take too long for me to write it out. I will save it for another post. I got to say, I love virtual church. I attended the Bible study class yesterday night while outside running my half marathon. I wish to be able to do this from now on. Save so much time. It was a zoom video meeting call too. I kept the phone in my pocket though.

Categories
running

day284 weekly run summary

Monday-Sunday. 0 6 6 6 6 12 31

Total for the week: 67

GVRAT: 229

I am so near to 270 miles. Hopefully by the end of this week, I should get pass it because it means there are only 1000 miles left on the challenge. By Saturday there are 100 days left on the challenge.

Runing about 10 mi/ day will get me there. The current projectory is about Sept 3, 2020, when I will finish.

I’m debating with myself if I should run today. I felt sleepy mostly but my body seems fine now.

I ran a 50k. I was still fresh and wanting to go for a 60K but dinner got in the way. It was still early too, only 8 pm at the time. I felt I could squeeze the last 10k with 2 hrs left in the day. I didn’t. Instead I did food shopping and cleaned up and ate. A reason I don’t usually have the long run day on a Sunday, I feel I won’t get enough rest afterward.

watch stat. 70 miles of weekly total. I rounded down on my set
Categories
running

day283 run

I was trying to run a bit farther yesterday, but my body gave out after 6 miles. I have been conditioning to do 6 miles every day and yesterday it bonkered on me after 6 miles. I dragged it out to 12.

watch stat: 12.5 in 2:37 hrs

It was hot even at 6 pm! Last weekend I was freezing and this Saturday I was near melt down. It could have been worse.

Categories
running

day280 Fall plan, 24 hr run likely

I got another email of a race being canceled or moved to a virtual race. I elected to do it virtually.

This race, Parks Half Marathon, is scheduled for early September, but the race organizer couldn’t secure the necesssry permits for it at this time due to all the closings. It is possible that by September, things start to ease up, but when you plan a race, it is usually a few months to a year in advance. As of right now, the location of the race is on MD park and MD recreation and parks has no foreseeable date on the reopening.

This is in a way a good news for me because after signing up for the Parks Half Marathon last year (I signed up my races a year in advance too), another race director, whom I truly enjoyed his events last year, revealed about hosting a 24 hour race and I really wanted to do it except that it falls on the same weekend. I follow the policy of first come/first serve to avoid all the ‘drama’ of shifting dates around – so if a race is on my calendar, I try not to move it. I believe if you move it once, you gonna move it twice, so it is better not to move it in the first place. I have gazzillion races on the calendar, moving one will neccessitate of moving a bunch of other stuffs, someone will cry when that happens.

Someone will definitely cry. We (couple of my running buddies) have an annual 9-11 memorial 5K run that weekend too, so if I am shifting my races around, I won’t be making to that run either. We will see. That race draws a huge crowd, and so it is likely to be canceled too, then I have a perfect excuse to skip town 🙂

The cancellation of the Parks Half Marathon opens up for me to do the 24 hour race. I am excited because I always want to test my limit and I have not done one before. I am on the wimpy side and need my sleep every night. I too am easily fall asleep, even if while standing up. A 24 hr will indeed be a challenge for me not to fall asleep. The race director even offers saying there will be a ‘resting’ area for those who want to take a nap, that is just too tempting.

Other fall plans: Run the JFK 50 again. This time I am not scare. People have started to train for it (24 weeks out). Another race is the Philadelphia Marathon on the same weekend Nov 22, I think. My running buddies are doing that and very tempted to join them. I am also thinking of Gettysburg Marathon on Oct 18. Very tempted to sign up. In the past, I would already have done so, but now, with the virus around, all traveling plans are on hold.

Categories
running

Day279 weekly run summary

Indeed a week already.

I ran so much I lost count in my head. Luckily they’ve all been tracked and logged. weekly Total 103 mi. GVRAT: passed 160 miles. My goal is to get to 270 miles, then there would only be 1000 miles left.

Monday – Sunday: 6, 6, 6, 7, 4, 62, 12

I have been writing every day about my run, even though I promised only to do it once a week to avoid you readers of getting bored with me going on and on about the same thing, but I just can’t help myself.

I am doing about almost the same number of runs as before. They are really training runs. Yet last two months has been a struggle to get my training in. All sudden this virtual race came on. It was not like other virtual races which were like a consolation price for not able to do the actual race, but they have too many medals around and had to do something about them. This virtual race is the first of its kind. There are so much energy and passion in this one. Many people from around the world join in. We met in Facebook and posted on our runs and stories daily. We Virginians are well represented. I am proud to put in my run numbers.

High numbers too I put in. I ran my first 100K over the weekend. It was killing two birds with one stone. I have beem wanting to do a 50 mile / or a 52 mile (double marathon run) since I scheduled both of these two as real races but both were canceled. The double marathon was initially scheduled for April 18, and The 50 miler was initially scheduled for May 3. I have been attempting to put in a 50 mile run over the last 3 weeks but chickened out usually at the last minute.

One thing about running is it is the hardest to taking the first step, which is so true for me. As long as I get myself out the house, I can run, but before then, I hate thinking about how hard it is going to be and how much time it would take, and ended up, I ended up sleeping in instead of doing the run. 50 mile run needs a lot of time 13-15 hours for me. I don’t want to start at 10 o’clock and come home at 1 or 2 am in the morning. It has been a struggle for me to get myself out of the house before 10.

However, the Great Virtual Race Across Tennesee (GVRAT) changed my mindset completely. I can’t wait to run out of the house every morning. By 7, I am out the house, some day it was cold, but still, I was out there. Some day, I was too tired, but I was out there. Sometimes, I dare not wait to change into to ‘run outfits’ for fear I would change my mind on the run. I rushed out the door in the clothes I’d worn to bed the night before. Only thing matter was to run, and to record the run.

How is my body holding up? I think it needs a blog post all to itself. I have not broken anything. It was nothing I couldn’t handle. I had a blister from last week. Still I hadn’t taken care of it. They say you have to pop it. I hate popping thing. So it has been with me on one of my toes. It bothered me on my run sometimes, but I can tolerate it. I don’t claim I have high tolerant for pain, but this minor thing, I can stand.

It is still too early to evaluate how my body is handling thing. I hope to come back at the end of the month and check again. So far body is strong. After a sleep, it recovers. Sunday has been rough, the day after the 100k long run. I slept the whole day to recover and only got up for my meals and slept again. Only until the evening came, did I got up for good and put in the day run (12 miles). The funny thing is all the tireness gone as soon as I started running, and came back once I stopped. I guess I could keep running!

So my body is worn. Every time I move, my bones crack. It is like cracking the knuckles. It felt good afterward. I know when joints crack like that is not good. My hip cracked when I moved it. My ankles too. My whole body actually. Every turn I make had noise. I like to stay in bed and stretch and hear them crack. I feel though week #2, is easier than the first week.

There are so many things I want to write about, especially on the last long run. 63 miles, there’s a lot to talk about. They will have to wait for another day. That’s it for now. Hope everyone have a good week.

Categories
running

Day278 Fairfax County Parkway Run

Run yesterday 62; GVRAT total 149

Last couple weeks I ran north on the County Parkway to Reston. Yesterday I decided to run south, since the starting of where I entered the highway is at mile marker 26. I figured if I run south, I would have a marathon distance. Doing an out and back would give me a double marathon with change.

I enjoyed my runs to the north but not so much to the south because they were hardly any people on the trail. It might be because yesterday was kind of cold, 34 F (near freezing) in the morning and later got up to the high 40s.

Amazingly the cold and blustery wind didn’t bother me that much. I dressed well, with gloves, and face buff.

Some sections of the trail need to be repaved because roots are starting to take over and creating uneven surfaces. I saw bikes rather go on the road than on the trail. Also some places need better signage. Most of the trail has no street lights, making it unfavorable to ride on it at night.

Enough said, I felt I was the only one on the trail. Not that it bothered me, it is better to run alone. Yet I felt mostly bored since the scenery was about the same. There were no businesses, no house, and mostly devoid of people. The 20+ miles were hardly developed in term of businesses unlike the northern section. There are some rich estates. Maybe that the reason they like being in the remote area and away from the bustling of city life.

My goal was to get to Springfield from the County Parkway. It was a long way. I followed the mile marker until at mile marker 5, so technically there were few more miles to go. The trail was diverted to somewhere. I didn’t try to find out. I reached where I wanted to reach, that is, what used to be called Springfield Mall, now it is Springfield Town Center. The mall of course was closed due to the shelter at home policy. I had lunch from a nearby Thai carry-out.

After my late lunch (4:30 pm), it was a long way home. I didn’t reach home until 15 mins before midnight. I have been out on thr road for 16+ hours. My mind and body was about to shut down.

County Parkway southbound. It was an euphoric moment to reach this point where the highway split, because in the past, I have always driven here in a car and have found the trip long. So here I was that I ran the whole way!
The County trail diverts into the local neighborhood from time to time. I have arrived at my final destination, Springfield mall, which is about a block away, along with the Metro station (light commuter rail). My family was asking if I am taking the rail back home, now I ran 33 miles.) I told them I plan to run back on my return trip.
On a normal weekend there won’t be any parking spots available. There are some cars now and they got my hope up that the mall was open. Unfortunately, the mall was locked. Cars were probably employees of from the restaurants there, because they can still be open for take-out orders. It was an anticlimatic as I turned back around and run 7 hours back home. I was hoping for some good food at the mall.
Around 8-8:30 pm now, and I was happy finally to reach this part. This is the exit off the County Parkway toward my old house. I was getting off here too. I think the mile marker is 20, there is about 13-14 miles to home. The rest of the way, I could run with my eyes closed.
The picture was taken on an earlier as I was passing by and heading out to Springfield. These new homes are built on what used to be a church. One thing I like to do when I am on a run is to look at the architecture. It saddened me that the church is no longer there as I was looking for it. Granted it is not any 200 years old church like in DC, and there is no law requiring preserving this little history. I felt a bit of my childhood is lost. The neighborhood is transforming. Our county is growing at 16% in population per year, and there is not enough housing. Only way is tear down the old and replace them with the new.
watch stat. 16 hrs. I got lost for 2 hours. It should be one straight way of out and back, but you see on the map a bulge in the middle section. I was wandering about at that point looking for the trail and for a place to eat. A future goal is to do 100k under 14 hours.