week7

day 173

I lost track of whether last week was week 7 or 6. It was probably week7. There are about 7 weeks till my 50 miler. I have not trained much last couple of weeks. Running a marathon takes more than a day to recover. I would say maybe even a week.

During the summer, I thought running a marathon a month doesn’t give me enough time to recover. Now I am entering a season of a marathon a week.

I lost count on my miles ran too. I used to religiously keep track of them but now, it is kind of eyeballing and hand-waving.

I don’t remember if I was hurt or not last week. Good thing I was ready when the marathon started.

I have been resting the last couple of days. Funny thing was at the start of the marathon last Sunday, my right heel was giving me problem. After several miles, it warmed up and the discomfort went away. Now my left forefoot feels a bit unwell. It is not pain but it feels hot as if it was overly used. I have been resting.

Because of my foot, I am a bit reluctant to sign up for two marathons this weekend. I signed up a local race on Saturday and they are doing another one on Sunday. It would be an ideal time to run a back to back marathon. Yet my foot does not feel that great. I am still considering about Sunday. They say go slower on the Saturday one and I will be fine on Sunday.

Will see. I will write something, if I do a marathon back to back.

Total miles last week was about 30. Might have been 35 but couple miles do not make a different.

Mountain boys

Day 172

I will try to make this short. My race report usually goes on and on. The past weekend, I went to West Virginia and did the Morgantown Marathon. Boy, was it hard. To compare to previous marathons I ran, this was an ultra level marathon. I was knock out by mile 19. I walked then for three miles and finally picked up running again but was going at 15 min mile, very very slow jog. By mile 25, I walked to the finish. I finished at 5:10; the orginal target goal was 4:40-45. So I might have gone out a little too fast in the beginning.

The course could have been tougher but I saw at many hills, the race path was diverted to an easier path. In my mind, I was thinking, thank God I don’t have to go up that hill. Though the course was made easier, it didn’t mean there was no hill. The whole course was hilly. We are in West Virginia, where there is not flat ground! There were hills that go up for a mile long. Mile 25-26 was like that. A whole mile of uphill. They had to put it at the end! Some people mention mile 20 as well, but I was walking at that point and do not remember if it was a hard climb.

One thing I noticed was even walking was tough. You would think if you couldn’t run, you would walk to catch your breath, but while walking, my muscles felt like they would not want to take another step. At that time, if the snag wagon came by, I would have taken it and gave up on the race. I never thought walking was hard before, but in this race, walking was hard for me.

The race organization was great. It started on time. They managed it like a 10,000 people race even though there were only 2500-2600 people registered and only about 250-260 people ran the full marathons. There were lot of food, water station, and after party. They have a pace vehicle! I thought I was running in the olympic. I couldn’t catch up to it though. There were many road crossings but they had crossing guards through out. We ran on closed roads for most of the race. There was one point though, I think one or two cars broke through a roadblock at an empty stretch. I know some people did not like us running on the road.We were in West Virginia, and to my mind, it is the wild wild west (their state slogan is ‘wild and wonderful’, indeed).

crowd support: It was not like other big races, but some neighbors came out. I am thankful for the frozen grapes at one of the houses. Unfortunately, no one offered me moonshine on the course. I was kind of hopeful to get some moonshine in WV.

Final word. They say run to conquere Morgantown, but I think the mountain boys conquered me.

How I pick races

Day 168

There is a famous math/computer problem in which a salesman is trying to visit every city on the itinerary, going through each city only once and doing it in the most efficient way (in a shortest path/time). There is probably a solution to this optimization problem.

Well I thought my attempt to run in all fifty states is a traveling salesman problem and I stayed up many nights trying to come up a best way to do all fifty states in some logical order, until I spoke with my good buddy – a wise woman, but it shows how foolish I was. She immediately pointed out, that after each race I always come back home each time instead of traveling directly to the next state and this makes my problem really simple.

It doesn’t matter the order of states I choose to visit because the overall cost of visiting every state will be the same.

So because of her word, I would continue to pick any state to run each year as long as it is not one I have been to!

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I did a short 3.5 miles run yesterday. Legs are still sored. I felt my body is recovering fine. It is after all from running a marathon. I felt all those things about tapering and reverse tapering do not really apply this time. Got to get back into training.

I have been searching online about how to run a faster marathon… don’t we all? It is kind of boil down to of how many miles ran during training.

Marathon and a half

Day 167 (race reports)

three races in one weekend – SHF Abebe Bikila Intl Peace Marathon, Arlington 9-11 5K, and Parks Half Marathon

Total miles ran for the week was 46. Mostly all on the weekend. I did 4 miles during the week. I was mostly recovering from my backpacking trip. The tumble at the end of the trip injured me more than I initially realized. My lower back was out of wack for couple days and my left ankle was not so good. On top of it all, I woke up one day, with a knot in my neck/upper back (I couldn’t turn my head to the left, making runing difficult). Luckily, they all went away on race day.

This week should be either the 4th or fifth week of my training, but last two weeks pretty much no running due to the Roan Trip – a week of preparation beforehand and a week of recovery. But even with very little runing, it was pretty satisfying to run a race.

Here is the race report – three in one. I signed up to run a half marathon and a 5K, which is no big thing, but at the last minute (last Sunday or Monday) I went and signed up for a full marathon on top. I have been on the fence about the full for maybe a month. On paper, that was the amount of mileage I was supposed to run any way, but it seemed daunting because I never run three races on a given weekend before.

I got to say even after running so many marathons, there were still lessons to learn. It all came down to preparation. I should have packed the night before and I should have slept early.

I had about four hours of sleep the night before – my own undoing. The race didn’t start till 8 AM. Some started as early as 6, with the Race Director’s permission. The bulk of us, started at 8.

I left my house around 6 but my head was a bit whoosie. I don’t even get up this early for work or church.

I swallowed some oatmeal and got to the course with plenty time to spare.

The first half of the run was pretty much on pace. I ran a 2:01 (hr:mm) for a half. Then I started to unravel after that. I lost my water bottle. It felt off from my hydration vest and somehow I never noticed when it happened. I was pretty much out of it from lack of sleep. I really didn’t need it since water stop is at every two miles but still, I am one of those guys — if something is out of place I would think about it all the time. So for the rest of the race, I was scanning the course for my water bottle.

I caught a second wind by mile 17-18 when I was being chased by another runner (#840), well not sure if I chased her or sh was chasing me. She chased me for couple miles until the turn around point (between mile 19-20). I stopped. I needed to stop. I was out of it.

The first half, I didn’t need to stop but second half I stopped at every station. My stomach was not doing too well. Later, I think it was because I had too much sweet (starburst candies).

Then it was pretty much a struggle to the end. My underwears were giving me rash burn. It never happened before in previous races. It was uncomfortable. I tried readjusting them throughout the race but it stuck to my left thigh and cutting into it. I wasn’t wearing the stretchable one. So every step was painful as it rubbed and cut into me.

Then my shirt too was burning me. The right sleeve was cutting into my arm. There was nothing I could do about it. I didn’t bring any cream or lotion with me in my vest — they were left behind in the car. I felt the heat and rub burn with every swing of my arm.

I kind of find my tempo on and off between water stations. I probably could keep my tempo if I didn’t stop for water. I wasno longer running for time but to finish. So every water station was a stopping point. I picked up the pace on the last mile and finished it. Somehow, a marathon always seems so long but eventually, the finish line comes into view, there is a sense of relieve.

That was my first race of the weekend.

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My second race started at 6 pm. It was a 5k. I kind of take it as a joke. A 5K, I could run it with my eyes close. Unfortunately, my body didn’t take it the same way. I had on compression socks and so I didn’t feel much from my legs.

However, my breathing was another matter. I couldn’t breath. I think there was too much lactic acid in my chest. Every time I suck in breath, all my chest cavity hurt. I hoped I was not having a heart attack. I am so young to…

Any way, I huffed and puffed through the first couple miles. That was the most difficult 5K ever. The pain didn’t go away until the last mile. I put on speed and rushed to the finished line. My time was little over 30 min, averaging near 10 mins mile.

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My third race was on Sunday. This was much easier than expected. I ran on tired legs, but after the first few miles, I was used to it. My breathing was under control. I didn’t start too fast. I built up my pace with each mile. I was expecting a large hill and hard climb at the end, however, the hill was smaller than I imagined. While every one paused to walked up, I sprinted up. I think it was less than 100 ft at mile 8. I ran this course last two years, but it was not how I remebered it. I had so much left in my tank this year that I blazed through the last mile. The course finished on a downhill. I used that to my advantage.

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Aftermath.

I was sored the whole day and next. I couldn’t squat down. My quads took a beating. Not sure when I can run again. I will try any way.

Looking back, I enjoyed the three races. The mileage was high but it shouldn’t be something that I couldn’t do. I think I am ready now to do a back to back marathon – it is no longer beyond my ability.

Also, I ran two of the races this weekend with my friends. Though we all ran at our own pace but we celebrated together at the finish line. The race was much more enjoyable because of them.

quiet

day 164

I started the week with high hope that I would run all the miles like last week. The week is almost over and it look unlikely I am any where close. I feel like a big failure this week.

Total mileage so far is 4. The goal is around 60. Why? I think the reason is … it is so hard to get the run in. Just a little lack of discipline derailed my week. Like Tuesday after my club run, there was happy hour after. I know I should have skipped it but couldn’t resist the temptation.

Wednesday instead of running, I spent the time preparing for this weekend trip. I looked at the map, entered the coordinates into the gps unit, and read the trail note. By the time I finished it was late.

Today, I could have run in the morning but didn’t. In the afternoon, I am traveling to my campsite. Starting tonight my friend and I will backpack 50 miles on Roan Highland. We won’t be back until Monday night. Hopefully, I could put some mileages to make my running goal but likely will not.

Good weekend

Day 163

Sunday came and went and I did everything that was needed. Nothing too spectacular to write about except that I did all my runs.

It was a good weekend, with a morning 10k race, then made it to church worship (plus Sunday School – Adult Bible Fellowship) which orginally, I thought I wouldn’t able to go, then a lunch event and a movie in the evening. All these I normally wouldn’t do because no one (the right friends) to do with and also they were time being away from running and getting things ready for another week. It was one of those few times or it might have been the first time I spent a weekend with my friend K doing other things than hiking. I wrote about the sacrifices to make in order to put in my runs and these would have been them. In the end though I didn’t have to choose between running and friends. I did all my runs (hard ones) before the events, so on Saturday and Sunday were like strolling through the park. It was anti-climatic. Maybe I became more efficient over night!

I enjoyed the 10k race though. It was my forth time running it (I did it every year since 2016). It was an emotional race because it was my first race I ran that started me down the path of running a marathon. I set my personal course record, though it was not my fastest 10k ever. It was one of the races my former girlfriend and I did together. I know every turn and hills there is, yet it was still a suprising race. I was running on tired feet but I didn’t know I still have it in my at the end (last quarter mile) to gun for the finish line. It was that burst of speed that helped to shave off couple minutes. Any way, it was a good race for me. I wanted to run a perfect race and that was pretty close.

Looking ahead this week, it would be a challenge to get all my runs in for this week because of an upcomming backpacking trip starting Thursday night to Monday night. I will have do grocery shopping on Tuesday, or even pack on Tuesday. There doesn’t seem much time left for running.

Last week run summary:

Monday – rest

Tuesday – 8 mi. I think it was a hard and hot run

Wednesday 0: birthday event. I slacked off and didn’t run afterward but it allowed my legs to heal (from shin splints)

Thursday: 10 mi. I stopped in the middle of the 3rd loop and couldn’t reach 12 mi. Time constraint

Friday: 20 mi. It was a breeze looking back and very happy I did it

Sat: 11 mi. Night run. glad I did it but I sufferred the next day in my 10K.

Sun: 6 mi. The 10K race, and my legs didn’t want to run that hard. I wanted to put in couple more miles in the afternoon but didn’t get a chance.

total: 55 miles

short post

day 162

I will keep it short as I have to sleep soon. Thank you faithful readers for reading my stuff. I don’t think I am that entertaining but it is encouraging there is someone out there reading my rants and complaints.

I am about to finish my second week of training and looking back, I did rather well. I complained about my runs much less than the first week. I think I found my groove now (I stopped using the word rut). I hope by week three I will fall into some kind of routine.

I survived the Saturday. I am glad I moved the long run to last night because it is virtually impossible to do it today. It was hard to squeeze in a 10 miler today.

In the morning I helped my cousin move. I was kind of upset because I felt I shouldn’t have been there. They had enough people. It was very disorganized. There was no one taking a leadership role. There was no clear goal what to move and by when. It was because they could move bit at a time for probably the next month and they were in no rush to leave the old place. Nothing was packed. There was no moving truck. They tried to arrange one at the last minute and they couldn’t secure it. The whole morning was to find a rental truck while everyone was just standing there (at least I was). I felt the day was wasted. I moved two no three biggest things off my schedule just to be there to help, and regretted it.

I left at three while a few remain till the evening moving still bit by bit of things to their personal cars and transporting them to the new place. I got to go. Not my style. Nope, I am not sharing my truck.

Oh, and I got my truck waxed and vacumn and shampooed today. It smells good. like brand new.

I started my run at 7 pm. I had 11 miles to do. It was not as daunting as last night. Amazingly I wasn’t sored. My shin splints didn’t return. All healthly. I wouldn’t say my legs were fresh but it was not dead weight that you feel when after running 20 miles. So it was a good sign.

The temperature was moderate 65-70 (around 18-20C). There was a lady I passed, she was wearing long sleeves. It was a good run.

I didn’t use my garmin since I didn’t charge it since last night. It is about dead. I ran a set route I know is 10 miles. I use the garmin for the eleventh mile since I can’t eyeball a mile by distance. I finished around 9:30.

I had a profound thought on running while I ran but now I have forgotten. I will write about it if I remember again. I think something about if I have a life outside of running. I thinl I do. Yah, kind of morbid thought when you are running alone in the dark and you think why am I out here.