off running

Day 209

Since getting back from the trip a week ago, I only ran once and that was about one to two miles during my lunch break.

I really have to give to the two holidays…no wonder people talk about gaining weight and messing up their diet during this season. I did not have as strong a resolve as I did in the past. Xmas and New Year really throw a wrench in my running plan. I was hoping to immediately started back on my running regiment once I get back, but now I have been off it for unimaginable long time (3 weeks).

With the new year tomorrow, I hope to finally get back into it again. Maybe I should start running tonight!

First real run

Day 142 & 152 / Mt Pleasant & Dolly Sods

This post was written back on Day 142. The past weekend Day 152, I had similar experience. I went camping at Roaring plain (Dolly Sods area). I did a run too which allowed me to compare my performance of the same course I ran three weeks back.

I had my first real run with my heart rate above 110 BPM. It stayed near 180-190 the whole way and I didn’t feel like I was having a heart attack. My pace was around 10:15 min mile, much much faster than any of the runs I had in the past three weeks. It was a 4 mile run. Previously the best I could do was 12 min mile.

I am extremely please. I could really rebuild myself and it might be even in time for the 7/26 race. My heart finally let me run as fast as my legs can go. It has been so hard to get my heart to beat faster than 110 the past two weeks. Finally, I felt the shackles were removed from me. I can run.

What changed? I think it is really about food. My friend K was right. I wasn’t eating right and wasn’t eating enough. Over the weekend, she cooked all my food for this week about 12-15 servings of high calories and good hearty food. I ate them for two days now and couple with protein shakes and vitamins supplements and I started to see results. This run has changed drastically.

There are other reasons too. I rested plenty, haven’t been running since a week ago.

I went to church, a reason in itself. I haven’t gone to church for worship since April. I am very much believe in miracle. Going or not going to church affects my running.

This Sunday there was a miracle prayer about dipping oneself in the Jordan river figuratively 7 times to be healed of one’s leprosy (Naman’s account). I wanted to be healed! And I dipped myself when the pastor offered the altar call. I put myself first in line. I felt I was healed and I ran on Sunday’s evening right after worship at the first chance I got.

What it means? This is or was my crises. I have experienced a bad recovery after my first marathon in 2017, my knees gave out on me that time. But I wasn’t as afraid as this time. Every week, my performance got worse and worse until it was clearly something was wrong when I couldn’t run a single step. That was the weirdness feeling I ever felt. I always felt I can always run if not fast run slow, but to be totally not able to run, without a clear sign why other than being out of breath and feeling awful inside was a first for me.

It was a very humbling experience. I couldn’t take it for granted. Now I am almost back at my old self, to run fast and to run as long as I want! I couldn’t feel any better.

What other things been happening? My mind has totally been focusing on my run / not run but I had an good weekend. I might wrote about it in a previous post. I went for a low mileage backpacking trip and that kicked my butt. I was slower than the newbies we brought along.

1. I got to lead for the first time. On Wednesday night I took a newbie in the woods. We arrived late and it was not my choice. My friend K already led her group to camp a few hours before us. It was pitch black and no other people were camping or in the trail head parking lot. I knew the way in because K has told me where the trail was but I still had my doubt. When you are alone (newbie didn’t help), I have to rely on my map and knowledge – it was just one path once you get on it. Still, for that first half hour I had to experience everything I learned from past trips. It was a very good experience, from doubt to confirmation.

2. When we got to camp, I was much relief. K took charge of everything for the rest of the trip. First night we didn’t sleep too well. I shared tent and it was my first and I forgot to pack some earplugs. It would have helped. I was up all night. Not a single z.

3. The next day was pretty normal. It was a low mileage hike (7 miles at most) to the next camp site. We took many breaks. I had a stop to use the privee at one of the AT shelters. That was amazing (for me) because I couldn’t imagine myself digging a hole in the woods and I needed to go. The hike was my limit that day. I found I was sored in areas of my body I didn’t expect. My IT bands were stretched till I felt they would pop at any second. I was huffing and puffing. I was dead last. Every hill was a challenge.

4. The third day was much better. We hung around in the morning watching clouds and sunrise. I had a breakfast on the outcrop. I hiked fast without much breaks out of the mountain and surprised myself to find strengtg.

5. I slept at home the third night but went back out on the fourth day (Saturday) since most of the group was still out camping. I didn’t arrive at the camp early enough so I basically met the rest of them near the trailhead. I got some hiking out of it (couple miles). My friend K was ecstatic to see me. We hiked Crabtree Fall together and had lunch at Harrisonburg.

6. I drove like 7 hours that day, more time spent in the car than in hiking. It was unavoidable. Not much was done for the rest of the day except to unpack and clean up. Once arrived home, I felt asleep early and slept for 11-12 hours, after eating three bowl of Trader Joe’s fried rice.

7. Sunday was another highlighted day. I visited K church. The dipping thing and the Sunday run. I was pretty excited. I time tested myself on the run and felt I was on the road of recovering, finally.

St Michaels and York

Day 122

Finally, attempting my second marathon for the year this Sunday at York, PA. It should be smooth sailing. There is no rain. The temperature is at a comfortable zone , not too hot and not too cold – Spring time weather. There is no rain forecasted. We have overcast. It should be one fast race.

As for training, I took a random person’s (a running friend really) advice of running a long and couple of short weekend runs. I think my training is pretty good. I did not train for speed though. It would be interesting to see what time I will be getting. I am targeting a 5 hour finish (I know this is under-achieve for me) because I still have a few more marathons left in the year and doesn’t want to over doing it… Running at a slower pace also helps me to prepare for the Ultra next month. But if somehow I finish under 4 hours, I won’t complain.

To prepare for the ultra, people were telling me that I have to learn to run when I’m tired. For this reason, I am adding a Half Marathon the day before. I have never done this before. They call this the goofy run (Disney Marathon made it popular, a Half followed by a Full). So, I will be running a Half at St Michaels, MD on Saturday.

This race has stressed me out. It is not because of doing the race itself but the logistics of getting myself to the course. First of all, I signed up on the week of and so the registration price was through the roof. There was a $10 discount for last minute sign up but I didn’t get their promotion email until after signing up. Boo. I guess they want me to recruit others to run.

Second, all the hotels within 50 miles were booked, or mostly booked (prices are beyond what I think is acceptable). I actually booked a hotel but it was on the wrong day (Saturday instead of Friday), not sure why I made such a rookie mistake. When I realized it, I couldn’t rebook it for Friday because the place was sold out. So now I will be doing some camping out on the night before. There is a hotel available…but I didn’t want to stay there.

I don’t mind camping, but it is just the extra logistics of booking a camp site, and don’t know what to expect. Will the other campers be loud? How is the facility? Could I have a good night sleep? There are a lot of uncertainties. Also the camp site is about an hour away, plus the race organization asked us to plan to an extra hour to account for parking and traffic near the race site. I learned all about traffic in a small town in my last race at Frederick. What this means is I will be waking up at 3 AM to prep and travel to the race location. I plan to be there by 5:30. I might as well be sleeping in their parking lot!

There are still a few more stuffs I need to take care of today. I need to plan for my nutrition and fluid (ah, probably just stop by McDonalds on the way). I’m kicking myself for not doing this the night before. There are some McDonalds open at 5 in the morning, except the place I will be running at is a bit remote.

I’m tired even before the race.

Quick post

Day 121

I know my pastor probably doesn’t like to be called a motivational speaker but I felt that what we received last night and I want to write it down before I forget. He didn’t talk about running, but about knowing God. However, kind of off tangent, what I received was about running.

He reminded me to not think about what is possible but to think about the impossible. Only God can do the impossible. True. Yet we are limited to think in term of our ability. He used the example of Peter stepping out into the water. Sometimes we have to keep our eyes on the objective and step out onto the water with nothing to hold on. Logically, we would sink. Faith, is reaching that unknown and faith will support our feet.

Why am I saying this? I have been setting ‘obtainable goal’ – I read about making some hard goals, some medium effort goals, and some easy goals. I sorted my bucket list accordingly. However, there is not really any impossible goal on my list. I haven’t really stretched myself. For example, I set running a Boston Qualifying time as an impossible goal. True, I’m not there yet, and it is impossible right now…But I kind of have a plan of how to reach this impossible goal by running hard, and running long, and be patience and one day, I hope I get a bit closer and maybe even get to touch it.

Another point I got was about having a mental shift in our thinking. It is really related to thinking on the impossibility. Remind ourselves to change our thinking on a daily basis.

The key word is belief/believe. Our beliefs come from our upbringing of what is acceptable and unachievable. We got to break out of this mode. Every day we are bombarded by messages from those around us, and we are affected by their thinking. We have to evaluate what to keep and what to reject. It is an active process. If we become complacent, our old belief system would take over and get us into an auto drive mode. We don’t want that.

Nothing really new here, but it reminded me to be consumed by one thing that I am passionate about and reach and strive toward it. Ask yourself to do big thing. Envision it.

Do I ask the higher power for my running? You bet. I will ask anything if it helps me run faster. I know I have to train my body to run faster too, but I think a lot of training is mental and spiritual as well.


Last night was much warmer than I anticipated. Maybe I was overdressed again. I had expected howling wind and subarctic temperature, but instead it was balmy and calm fall weather. I still layered up like on Monday night. I didn’t need my jacket. This time I had my micro spikes on and I felt so good of crushing those ice and snows beneath my feet. I still waked though because icy snow piles were uneven to run on. Th temperature was warmer than Monday. I think it was +4C instead of -4.  Might have been even warmer than that.  Continue reading “Reload”