In the previous post, I was very sleepy while typing it up and I really had not finished my thoughts before falling asleep. Any way I meant to finish up the post. After couple days though, I forgot what I was going to write.

There were some “insightful” thoughts while running the Devil Dog race. I really enjoyed myself out there. It was not just the race itself, but the days leading up to it and following it were so much “blessed” because of it.

*already mentioned was the race was harder than I anticipated due to the muddy/”hilly” terrain. It was not really hilly. We are talking about 50-100 ft and not thousands of feet. Maybe I was just not good at trail run. It was a race that took more out of me than what I imagine a 50K would. I believe it was even harder than the 50 miler Stone Mill I ran a few weeks back. I felt I needed more effort for this race than the previous one.

I think Eastern Divide was pretty tough. Morgantown Marathon was tough also. JFK50 too. JFK is in its own class. I just don’t have that much previous tough races to compare to. Devil Dog ranks just a bit below these.

*I already mentioned on lack of preparation coming in the race might be a factor in the previous post. It was not physical preparation, since I just did Stone Mill and I was still relatively fit. It was the mental preparation. I did not give the race much thoughts. I was going to just show up and wing it. I know I would finish it. I view 50k just like a “puny” marathon. By the way, no marathon is insignificant. I thought could finish one with my eyes close. Yet even in the first loop, I wish I could quit after one loop. Of course it was silly for me to quit as long as there is time on the clock. I did want to though.

Funny story was while in my second loop I tried to calculate the required pace for me to do to reach the end of the loop to start my final loop. But in my mind the race had 4 loops while actually only three. I was panicking that I would not have able to start on my fourth loop before the cutoff. Then somehow later realized that the next loop (the 3rd) would be my final loop and I would be an hour ahead of the cutoff. I was laughing my head off for the blooper.

What got me was the speed. In your mind, you have certain pace or time you expect yourself to be able to run. Like I know, generally, I could do 5-6 miles in an hour, depending on the terrain. Devil Dog terrain was not that technical. There are a few challenging sections but most of the trail are smooth and easy to run on. There was an expectation that I could do it in about 5-6 hours once I got started. However, the reality was much different. By the third loop, I was basically dead or half dead. My pace was 2-3 mile then. The jarring difference kind of caught me by surprised.

I am not that into my performance. To me, it was just a long run that I need in order to build my body up for the 100 miler. Yet, what is kind of telling is a 25 miler run is only the first loop for a 100 miler. So basically I was done running after 25 miles. What worry me is how will I run the remaining 70-75 miles and not DNF. I had a probably unrealistic expectation of my body to handle the recovery aspect both during the race and after the race. Yet even that, I need to get my body ready for the much tougher run.

I used the Devil Dog race as a limit test to see how far my body can take it. I saw my limit reached. We have limit tested it.

What I did not go into in the previous posting was the very next day, I went up to one of the mountains in Shenandoah National Park to do a hill repeat run with couple other people. But instead of running, I was basically walking it. I am telling you, it was super hard. My legs just would not move. I did 12 miles of it and gave up. But it was kind of embarrassing seeing my friends effortlessly running up the hill/mountain while here I was huffing and puffing walking up.

After I got home, I crashed on my bed and slept to the evening (then wrote up the Devil Dog race report and quickly felt back to sleep). I was completely knocked out.

I haven’t had experienced that totally drained of energy for a long time. It was fun but yes tiring. I had expected more from my body.

After a few days of rest I was finally recovered.

I really forgot what I was going to write. There were some insightful things I was hoping to bring the previous post to a nice conclusion instead of just dropped off and said that’s all. I’m not trying to that here. I only hope I can recall them.

Why I love running long races is – it takes my mind off things. I love the moment when it was just me and the woods. I could run forever carefree. Pure running. I wish and really deeply inside if I could have heaven be just running to eternity. I like Devil Dog for that doing loops after loops. Runners hate loops, I do too, but once you get into the motion you don’t want to stop. Races are good because I don’t have to worry about the essential things like ‘safety’ and food and water. Those were all provided. All I need to do is just run.

*There is eventually an end. Weird about a race is while you want to run ‘forever’, you do want to reach an end. I would be pretty disappointing if I fail to finish (DNF). I run with all my heart to reach the finish line. I was miserable on the third loop when in my mind the finish line is so near, yet took so long to reach it. It was like every step I took, the end was just been moved a bit farther away because my pace was slowly down.

*Another idea I observed is I hate mud and water, but usually the few ‘nasty’ races I did I really enjoyed it. Same with cold weather running. I hate the cold but once I am in it, I love it. Usually I run my best (a few of my PRs were) in nasty conditions. Is that weird?

Finally, hopefully kind of tying everything is when after all the dreads about running a longer race, is seeing you actually did it. This is more about the Stone Mill race but could apply to any. I was dreading running the 50 miler. Yet it was just one step after another and eventually reaching the finish line. Looking back, it was a cinch.

Addendum. For real, last thought, A race is so much more than a training run. I do a lot of training runs, but when you do a race, it has a different feel. You feel you accomplish something. A race gets to be memorialized.

That’s all. I ask you…what things are you dreadful of but find you enjoy doing once you are looped into it 🙂 hopefully not chores.


Day389 Race

I might be biting off more than I could chew this weekend for I am beat. I have slept whole afternoon on Sunday to recover.

First off, I did the Devil Dog 50k puppy/corona edition. I first heard of the Devil Dog 100 last year from someone at the Eastern Divide. He did the Devil Dog in 2018.

Second of all, I wanted to do some hill runs on Sunday in the Shenandoah National Park, However, ended up I did not have the energy to run it.

The name Devil Dog itself is scary. I was reluctant to sign up to run it – first of all it would be a 100 mile (previous year, 100 mile is their thing) and I was not (still am not) ready for it, and second it is happening in the winter. I hate running in the cold and being miserable. Never in my dream to think running the Devil Dog.

This year we had a break. Distance wise the race was reduced to a 50K, which is like 30-31 miles, so it is within my range of able to pull it off without stressing myself out. Second, even though it was forecasted wet and rainy, the rain came early the night of and did not rain during the event. Cold? not really. I could tough it out.

The course though was wet and muddy. Less than a mile in we already had to run through big puddles of water across the trail. There was no way avoiding them.

The race itself for me was anticlimatic. After doing Stone Mill nothing really scares me. I went to bed at the usual hour. Though kind of still awoken every hour (I set 3-4 alarms too). By 3AM was pretty much up. The race started at 7. I left the house a little after 5 and arrived at the race place at 6, when it was still dark.

We had 4 wave starts of 20 person per wave at 5 minutes apart. I was in the third wave.

People in my wave quickly disappeared. I was overly dressed for the occassion. Less than half mile in I was already overheated. I dressed the way I did because I was expecting rain and blustering 20mph wind with a windchill around 32F. However, the wind did not really come and the temperature was in upper 40s and might have reached into the 50s. So I ditched my long sleeves and was wearing the tees the rest of race. It was cold though whenever I stopped running.

The course was a 10 mile loop in the Prince William forest (a National Park). It was a five mile out and a five mile back with some changes in between to make it a 50K. We ran the loop three times.

There were couple “big” climbs. Big is relative of about 150 ft according to my watch. There was a long climb about maybe a mile long at the last mile of each loop. The first loop I ran up that hill but subsequent loops, I walked it. I walked most of the third loop anyway.

My goal was to finish by 7:38 (hr:mm). This was according to my mental math I did while at the start. We did the first loop at a very fast pace (I think I went out at a 9 min pace). People in my group joked about “you know we are going out too fast right?” Indeed. We would be running for the trophy. I finished the first loop under 2 hours.

10 miles in two hours does not seem to be that fast. However, one commented that the course seems deceptively slow. I was scratching my head what does this mean at the time. We seem to be moving slow, but we are actually was doing it pretty fast. I wouldn’t mind to have 2 hr per loop.

During the second loop, I was maintaining my blistering pace (I was following #72 who was running at 11:30 min pace). At the time, what scared me is with 20 mile to go, meaning only 230 more minutes (about 4 hours) to finish. No way in my mind I said I would finish in 4 hrs. I was actually aiming between 7-8 hours finish.

I did slow down though not because I didn’t want the 6 hour finish but my body couldn’t keep the pace any more. Those hills get to you. My hope was to reach the third loop by 11:00am. I didn’t arrive though until closer to 12 pm, 50 mins before the cutoff.

I started my 3rd loop moving very slowly. I knew I had 3 hours to do it, but my feet refused to run. #72 passed me about a mile in and I did not see her again. We were pretty much at the same pace until then. A few others passed me too. At first I thought they were running fast, but in reality I was slowing down. I think I reached the halfway loop Aid Station (mile 25 for me) at 1 pm. It took me an hour to do that first 5 miles in the final loop, but about 1.5 hrs to do the last remaining 5 miles.

I hit the wall. I think the main reason for that was I did not have a big hearty breakfast. I had some oatmeal but that did not give me enough calories. I was hungry through out the race. Aid Stations had sufficient food but I just couldn’t eat that much on the run. I seemed to be full at the Aid Station, but while alone on the trail, my stomach was rumbling.

I finished at 2:30 pm. 8 minutes before my expected arrival time. I did not reach my stretch goal of finishing under 7 hours. But I take it.

The race if based on the finishing time, would be my hardest 50K by far. Mentally, I don’t think it was that hard.


Day388 some boring stuff

boring stuff to most but me, I checked out some spring marathons last night. Hey it is that time again where races are on sale.

I would have to defer the One City. Finally there are words from them. It will be a virtual event. I am no longer enjoying running virtual marathons, so I will defer this to next year. No flaming on the organizer. It made perfect sense to have it virtually since Covid cases are rising everywhere and the fear that cases will overwhelm the health system is real. If they had it in person otherwise, people like me would be considering traveling hundreds of miles to run and likely increase the risk of bringing the virus to them/taking it back home to my community.

Charlottesville Marathon. Kind of eyeing this. They will be hosting it outside of the city since the city itself has a maximum limit of 50 people per event. When there is no running races in 2020, any races in the spring is selling like hotcakes.

Roanoke Double Marathon. Also eyeing this. This one originally on my schedule last year, but Covid canceled it. The same organizer. We are facing the same circumstances. Likely it will be changed to virtual again. Know this, I’m still kind of wanting to sign up. I can save $35 for the early registration.

Dirty Kiln in PA. Also eying this race. Because it is outside of my state, I will need to be tested for Covid before running. PA requires visitors to be tested for Covid within 3 days before arrival or quarantine for 14 days after arrival. I think this is a sane way. So no more sneaking into another state to run a race. Well I think everyone should be tested before running a race. Weird they think other states have more covid cases than they do. I read on FB many runners before running the JFK went and got tested. I guess this is likely will be a trend in the running world.

That’s all. I am about to get up to run the last race of 2020. The race is at 7 AM. About 2 hours more. The wait.


Day387 ride around town

It has been some time since I took the Metro (our subway). Today my car is in the shop so I took the Metro home from work. I’m lucky because the station is across from my workplace and the bus station is also within half a mile from my home, so it is not a problem of not having a car.

Time being on the metro allows me to write my journal. I love it so much I forgot to get off once it reached the destination and I rode it back to my workplace. Dogdangit, I had to made a second trip.

They didn’t let me get on the bus at the front of the bus, instead I had to use the door at the rear. Covid. I made it home before even finishing the blog.

I have nothing to say/tell the world about. I have been slacking on my training the last two weeks after finishing the 50 mile ultra. I have been slacking before the ultra, really. That was an excuse to ‘taper’ off my runs before the ultra. And after the ultra it is called reverse tapering (recovery run). And I really tapered and reverse-tapered by not doing any run. So from end to end, I have not been running much. I know, I wrote about the 48×48 challenge and VDM. Those were exceptions.

Instead I have been watching hours of videos on ytube. It knows me through and through. It keeps pushing me stuffs I really like watching. Yes, I have been following along the Minecraft Dream’s SMP saga – of my favorite streamer Technoblade – Let the Revolution begin. awesome I got to say. It was very entertaining.

Now, I have been watching people play a game called the Amazing Cultivation something something and watching mr. (ic0n) and several other people playing it for hours. It’s really a boring game but I couldn’t help watching them play. It was almost like watching the paint to dry. I’m on episode 4.

I don’t have Steam or a computer, so I can’t play. If I do, I might be on it every night, instead of watching other people play.

Then there was The Simpsons. I have a deprived childhood. Haha. I didn’t have time to watch it when I was little and I just can’t stop myself watching them now. O my.

I watched a lot of League (League of Legends) videos especially, The greatest support of all time GASM mr. i0ki stream. I played like season 2/3 and now it is preseason 11! Even though I don’t play any more, I like watching other people play.

Yup, me getting fatter day by day instead of running. We have very nice weather here for the last couple weeks. Good running weather. 50s. I heard it will be winter this week. It will drop down to the 30s. I might be in for some cold weather running.

Oh I watched some videos running too. Mr. Yang from California. There was also the guy who did the Rocky Raccoon. Another guy, local here, who did the Seneca Run this year. I was there! But I didn’t meet the guy. I love his video. I think his name is running with Zach something. Those got to count toward excercising.

What’s next? I once said after the Stone Mill run is over, I will be focusing on Rocky Raccoon. Now it is time.

There so much I got to do. Need to reserve the campsite and also my air ticket plus, requesting days off work. It is the first week of Feb. I haven’t done any of those. Also possibly two-week quarantine time. Hope there is no quarantine requirement for the arrivals or I be screwed.

This Sat. I will be running probably the last race of 2020. Devil Puppy (Dog) 50K. Am I ready? mentally…um maybe.


Day386 VDM

I did the real VDM – Vicky’s Death/*Delightful March, a run by the local Virginia Happy Trail People. What I mean by real is that I ran one like it back in October, almost two months ago (here), except this time I did the full loop instead of skipping Hawksbill Mnt. I know about Virginia Trail runners since I started running but somehow they never fit into my plan because I am mostly a road runner. They are really the old school trail runners – most of their events are free and self supported and you run and responsible for yourself out there. They are hardcore runners.

I am used to the paid 5K and 10K where people prepare everything for you and run and get a medal and pictures and everyone go home feeling good. There is none of this stuff with trail running. It is the adult version running. Today 25 miles is like road running 5K. There is no pat on the back of good job – because we are expect to be able to run miles, plus elevation, and not get lost. Totally hardcore running. I am happy to finally say I am there at that rank now. 25 miles on the mountain is easy for me. It was like stretching my legs.

Trail running was not for me until recently after doing ultras and most ultras are out in the woods. So I have been trying to connect to the trail community. This year has been quite good. I connected to people in PA/WV, that has been amazing. The stuff they did are just crazy. Of course PA hosts the Eastern States – which is like the Western States – one of the “majors” for trail running competitions. We don’t have any famed races here in VA. Old Dominion used to famous but now people get old and it does not have the same draw as PA. If I could join a running club I would join the PA one (Allegheny Trail Running).

Recently I connected also with the Montgomery County RR after doing their Stone Mill trail race. VA Trail racing club people are still pretty weird, though we are all together – the Virginia people helped out with the Maryland people – everyone knows everyone. My prejudice against the VA trail people is still pretty high. People in the DC area are weird and you just get use to it when you have live here long enough to know because we are super rich and we (many) have access to high level in the government and we can’t talk too much about our jobs. So people here are just too snobbish and standoffish. This shows on the trail too. That is why I could get along so well with trail runners outside of DC but not people here. That is fine though. I run my own race. (PA people can attest to what I say).

There were like 30-40 people showed up today on our run today. This is a great turn out, since it was an unfunded – free run for 25 miles with 7000 ft of climbing. Yes normal people would not come out to run this. It is just so demanding. Time wise etc. People rather run a real marathon than doing this kind of runs. So this is only for people who really like trail running. There is no prize either. We all started at 7:30 and everyone run their own pace and find their own way.

I was ‘stroke’ about this run for weeks. They traditionally host it the day after Thanksgiving (on Black Friday). This year, they moved it to Saturday. This just fits so well. I prepared for it like a real race. I went to bed by 9 ish. I had everything ready. Clothes, food, set alarm. I woke up bright and early. I was out the house by 5:55 and Got to the trail by 7:15.

We had warm weather – all relative. 42-45 was warm for me. I ran in T shirt and shorts where normally this would be too cold for me. It is all relative.

This time I am determined to do the whole loop. Last time I skipped out a few miles – like around 5 by skipping Hawksbill.

This time, the group I was with was slower. Much slower. We walked like 80% of the time. They were really slow. It might be that I have gotten much faster and stronger. I just did a 50 miler two weeks ago, so my body is still relatively fit. So this run was super easy.

I was with my group the whole time. It was zero stress. I was only one who brought food with me. I ran with a footlong sandwich in my hand. It was too eye catching in our group. A weirdo running with a long bread/Hoggie the whole day :). People were saying when am I going to eat it. The sandwich really helped. I had enough calories and was happy. None of them brought food because they expected food at the halfway point at the visitor center. Unfortunately they did not have food when we got there. That was a bit a bummer for them.

I did quite well. Last time while climbing up on White Oak Canyon I almost fainted. This time none what so ever. The climb did not affect me. Also I did not roll my ankle. So everything was good.

My body finally is strong enough to do something like this and not get super tired. I have been doing a lot of hiking these past four years. I have been running marathons – probably more than 10 now. But in the past, I am half dead after finishing a big run. But now even doing a 50 miler does not affect me. I see a qualitative change. I am just happy about this. It means I can go on to the next phase of running a 100 miler.

What I want to say is it open a big area. Now I can do trail running. It is like freedom. Things that were impossible now is possible. Things that were hard are no longer.



closure maybe.

Being alive meaning having ambition and drive. I can do this and that. I have a trip this weekend and a race next week. I also have work to do before I leave. Work work. Company stuff. My mind immediately returned to reality after the burial of my grandmother. I took the day off but I could work too if I wanted to. That to me a different being alive and dead. We have our worries.

But for the last few days I have been lack of motivation to run. Not sure why. I am healthy and all. Just nothing there.

I was not there when grandmother’s passed on. I could have been there. I was only couple miles away. I had the feeling and prompting the night before. Anyway. What’s done is done. She has passed on. I have a kind of phobia for sickness and death.

We had a funeral yesterday. It was outdoor and we had two ministers with us. The rest who came were all family members. There were 25 of us. Plus a photographer/translator – a family’s friend. The service was conducted in chinese but translated to English for the youngers (us) who are not chinese proficient (plus a few of us or our spouses are not even chinese).

There is no profound truth about this whole death business as I spent the last week reflecting on it. We all will die one day. A good funeral is someone will remember you. My grandmother had a good and simple ceremony. There was not too emotional shown as we all know – she is indeed in a better place. She has been suffering with poor health for as long as I could remember 20+ years maybe? Death is a relief and she was shown mercy to have apparently a painless death.

We had the service. I am glad for Covid because we were restricted to only 25 people or else we would have the whole church there (200+). It was intimate. I hate crowd. But if I am dead, I won’t care what people say about me, whether good or bad. There was no eulogy given at my grandmother’s funeral — I think we were saving it for a memorial service that will take place at a later time due the covid pandemic happening now. Our service, everything included the burial was restricted to one hour. We stayed for two.

It was mainly for us who are living to reflect on the meaning of life and to go through the grieving process when the person you love is no more with you. It is an emptiness. My mom was saying even their dog senses grandma was no longer with them. The dog is moody.

2. It costs money. Our family through this had made arrangement on their own burial. It was a pratical decision and nothing morbid about it. I think we have like 6-8 burial plots. Those who are 60 and older did it. I don’t have my plot of land yet. They do not want to place much burden on their children.

3. I was thinking I have a lot of things and loose ends so to speak. If I die like suddenly or even if I have a week or two of advance notice like my grandmother did, still it is not enough time to get my crap together. No clue what it means to get ready for death. My grandmother did not have much but they have spent days going over her medications (now can be safely discarded) and her tons of papers and documents. They have been managing her affair but still, she has left behind tons of those.

Sad, when I heard of how my grandmother passed away. It was cheerful but sad. She was surrounded by family (night before and also at the moment of). Always someone was with her. However, the last two weeks, we could see she was growing weaker and her life was epping away. She slept and was not able to wake up. She was fully conscious probably to the moment of. Her breath became shallower and then stopped. We already arranged for hopice care so there wouldn’t be resusciatation. Her eyes were wet when family called her. We were almost certain she was gone. It could be just the brain auto-function when processing the sound. Yes, we did call the doctor who came and pronounced her dead. There was no struggle with her. They had everything ready though if need be – morphine and all kind of pain/muscle relaxant medications. She did not need any, except for one that clear the phlegm in her throat. She died peacefully. I wouldn’t able to stand watch the last moment struggle. Yet it was still sad to see that the life flowed out of a body.

4. Memorial. Death is laying down toils and suffering of this life and (hopefully) we go on to a better place. I guess this is the same message at all memorial services. We will be reunited with her there.

We sang traditional Amazing Grace. Not so much the words by the familar melody was comforting. I couldn’t even aware of what I was singing. I tried but the words did not register to brain. It was just blah, blah, blah. The next song In the Land By and By was more meaningful. There is a land where sorrow is no more when we wake up. Same the third song for closing was Because He Lives and empty grave is there to prove pretty much echoing the same message.

How to close this entry? We think of legacy. Will. Transfer of assets and heritage. Our family does not have much tangible items. What my grandmother left behind was her love, her strength, characters, and her faith. She has lived 87 years. It begs the question, what do we leave behind for others. Currently we (or me, really) don’t really care and do not think a lot about. The sad truth is I have nothing much. Maybe this blog. Sorry if this puts a damper to your day. Need content. clout. subscribe. 🙂


Day 384

I am back to my usual of trying to scape together enough content for a post.

I finished the 48 hours run. It was not much to say except for the lack of sleep – but I cheated a little with an hour extra sleep one night during the graveyard shift. I think running a marathon is harder than doing this 48 hour of running. Actually it is only 44-45 hours because you don’t run at the final 48th hour. Because I was able to catch some snooze, I was not too overly tired.

I think for me, what would be the right level of challenge if it was running a 10K every 4 hours for 24 hours straight or 24 hours of 5K at every hour (Pembleton — I really want to try that next year).

Anyway, since I finished the 48 hour challenge, every 4 hours there is the residual urge to go out and run. I woke up at every 3 hours thinking, oh, did I miss a run and told myself no, go back to sleep.

Not feeling any particularly tired today. Yet I told myself, better be safe than sorry. Even though I could run today, I decided to stay put and rest up. Monday is my normal rest day. So I have to force myself to rest.

Nothing particularly insightful gleaned during my run. Time just went by quickly. Run, then changed, clean up, record the run, eat. do laundry and rest about couple hours and then start the cycle over. So I remember was Run, Eat, and Sleep. Time went by so fast.

It was a run I always want to do. It was like a mini camp for running. I read about people (two highschool runners – forgot their names) went to Kenya and ran with the elites there. They wrote about everyday was running. I was jealous of them to have such an opportunity. So the past weekend was like that for 48 hours totally gear toward running. I had a total 13 sessions. It was great. It was 13 sessions of tempo run. It was like a dream comes true.

Though I ran 50+ miles over the weekend, I was not exhausted. That I found fastinating.


Day383 training cont

I started this fad training since Friday that has been a circulated the running community this spring called 4 by 4 by 48 (4x4x48) run. David Goggins, a famous ultra runner, (he did many other notable things too) came up with the idea of running 4 miles every 4 hours for 48 hours. Rumors had it that he himself used it for his ultra trainings.

I was training for my 100 miler and I thought why just as well to try it. The run itself was too easy for me since I am now am able to run a 50 miler without dying. This 4x4x48 basically spreading a 50 miler over two days. So this is too easy.

What I found challenging was waking up in the middle of the night to do the midnight and the 4 am run. I started the run at 4. So all my runs occur at the 4, 8, 12 interval. The first night I already was struggling with the 12 am and 4 am. The second night I totally blew the midnight and 4 am run. I set alarms for them but over slept the 12 am by an hour. As for the 4 AM one, I heard the alarm but couldn’t will myself to get up. It was a battle of will. Finally after half hour of self talk and struggle, I convinced myself to get up and got out to run it. It was not bad once I started running.

Lucky that the second night the temperature was much milder. I hate cold. The temperature was around 50F instead of 42. So once I was out the door, I was not freezing to death. It was quite comfortable to run.

Another thing I found about the graveyard shift runs was I was hungry most of the time. But when I got back inside, I was too tired to eat anything but went straight back to bed. I slept on the second night. The first night I couldn’t sleep but second night, I needed all the sleep I could get. Constantly feeling that sleep deprivation.

I don’t know if I will do it again. Night runs are fun but they are too brutal. This kind of thing is not for me. I rather run in the day time than to miss sleep to do night training.

So my sleep dep training did not work out as I would expect because I went to bed. As for the 100 miler, I am not too worry because just losing sleep one night is not too bad. I can pull it through. But for 200 miler, not sleeping on the second night will mess me up.

Just few more runs today and I am finished with this 4x4x48. The hard part is already over.


Day382 training

I have not been training specifically for the Rocky Raccoon 100. I like the name. I have been calling it the Raccoon Race. I wanted to have a plan for training this race. I downloaded one from the internet but have not followed it.

I know I am much behind on many runs. We when training have certain miles and goal to reach for each week. It supposes to build up your fitness and endurance over the course.

I know I am not in too bad a shape since I have been running on and off. I did a marathon not long ago in October. I just did a 50 miler. It gave me a sense of where I am. The 50 miler was supposed to be a limit test. I was hoping to see how it compares to my strategy of doing the first 25 miles in 5 hours and the next 25 miles in 6 hours. Total of 11 hours.

My 50 miler was great I finished in 12.5 hours. Not great in term of my strat for the Raccoon but it is where I am right now. During the 50, the two guys in front of me were blocking me the whole way, especially near the end, so I did not really able to go full out. However, I do not regret about it. We should not go full out unless it is the one race (which Rocky Raccoon will be). Reason being is I am still in training. The Stone Mill Ultra was part of that training. They say don’t go full blast or else it takes a long time to recover. Those two guys helped me to perserve my strength for the Rocky Raccoon.

This weekend I am doing the Goggins 4x4x48. I miswrote in my previous blog saying it is 48×48. 48 miles in 48 hours. Same thing. 4 miles every 4 hours for the next 48 miles.

I started early at 4 pm. I already did 3 runs. The next run is in the middle of the night at 4 am (an hour away). I can’t fall asleep so I might as well blog.

First run went well. It was cold initially. I think 62 deg was cold, but it got warm as I started running. I did four miles no problem. It was nice doing it before the sun set.

My second run was after I got home from work. 8 pm. Again, I felt cold. The temp had dropped 10 deg to 52. I warmed up in no time and had to shed my layers. I finished it a bit faster. It took a bit more time though because of traffic lights.

My third was at midnight. I really did not want to do it. I had gone to bed early. By 10 ish I usually am sleepy. So I slept till 11:30 and forced myself up. I was cold again. The temp had dropped another 10 degs, now at 42 and will stay steady through out the night. I went out reluctantly. Once I got going it was not too bad. There was no wind and night was calm and brisky. I quicky warmed up and had to ditched two layers. I was down to a Tee and it felt good. I love the cold. I finished it a bit slower pace at 12 min mi. Not bad.

And have been waiting for my 4 am run since. I tried to catch some close eyes but not happening.

I started to feel the fatique in my muscles. There is still long way to go (2 more days – Sat and Sun) before finishing.

4x4x48 really tested the sleep deprivation and how the body adjusting to the reset.

That’s it for now. If I have time, I will update on my progress


Day381 reset

After a big race, I need some time to reset. A bunch of thoughts colliding inside or still fermenting that are not ready to put into words yet.

Life for me is hopping from one high point to another. Now it is like I’m in a peaceful valley.

My mind is still pretty much being still in the race. It was one of the best race I had. I say this almost for every one of them I did. I rarely had a bad rotten race. They were all great.

Racing for me – running in general, brings so much joy and goodness. I think of it as a feast. I was anticipating it months ahead. First the idea of doing something I never have done before. There is the unknown. I was wondering whether I can do it. A lot of them, the first thought is no I cannot do it. I am not there yet. Not even not there yet but it is impossible. Thinking back three years ago if you would say I will be running a 50 miler, it is just incomprehensible. It does not matter how many miles I could train for it. It just cannot be done. Even last year after having done it, to do it again in a year, you got to be crazy. That was pretty much how I felt this spring.

In my Bible Study class, the leader said imagine what heaven is like a feast. I couldn’t really grasp it at the time. I ate good meal before, but nothing bring me more joy than being outside and run, esp run in a race. It is not so much about the competition but just knowing it is preformance time, just kick things to the highest level! I wish if heaven can be anything, I like to run and hike/camp all the time forever.

For me, racing is testing the limit. Yet there is the idea of let try it. It is hard but let overcome that fear. I did not say that just to prove myself. No it more like it is going to fun. I signed up somehow. The excitement only built up. By then I knew my ability that I could run it but whether I could do it within ‘spec’ that is within the required time for the course, that is a whole other issue. I did not know that even on that day I stepped on the course. Too many factors in play. I mentioned before that to finish within the 13 hours I needed to run near perfect race. Meaning, having good race condition, not tripping over roots as I am frequently do, healthy, and not getting lost. They all came together perfectly.

I know my body. I know my speed. I did many test runs beforehand. Usually it is not as good as I wanted. I was having the feeling of not able to do it for weeks leading up to the race. You feel the body just does not want to run. Also it has become colder and night comes earlier. The week before my race, my right hip was causing trouble and my right knee was also showing sign of weakness – I had hard time climbing stairs. Not good for going into a race with a lot of hill climbs. But all these problems evaporated on race day. I ran my strongest ever. I was amazed how strong the body was. I could run up hills while people around me were dying/walking up. Even toward the end I was still full of energy. At no point I was out of breath. I did hit the wall around mile 34-35, but it was quickly passed. It is amazing because usually my wall comes very early like mile 15-16. Quick is a relative word. It took me an hour to chase down people who were around my pace. There were only few low points. My finish was strong. And I am ready to do again.

I love running races. Thinking back to couple months ago, I was debating between running the JFK 50 versus the Seneca/Stone Mill 50. In the end I chose Stone Mill. It was not a wrong choice. I don’t regret it.

Someone suggested that I should do both. At the time I said no way. No way I would be recover back to peak condition within a week. Stone Mill was a big enough project. I am not tackling two of it. But guess what. A few days before running Stone Mill , I was itching to do the JFK as well. I said I will decide once Stone Mill is over. The last few days I have been agonizing over it. This time it is not so much whether I have the ability to do it. I feel ready for it! My body almost completely has recovered by now. This would be a first – to do a 50 miler back to back!

In the end (well I could still sign up for it) after a good night sleep, I decided not to run the JFK. It was more due to worry over COVID spreading in our area. The race will have over a thousand people, probably around 2000! This includes volunteers and crowd there even though spectators are not supposed to come – yet people will going to show up anyway. Events having 200 people such as at Stone Mill are already nerve shaking, JFK is 10x bigger. Of course there will be mitigation measures such as social distancing and wearing masks, but I really don’t know how to gauge the risk of attending to such large crowded event. This is all with Thanksgiving being so close too. If I come down with Covid attending the race, I would be bring Covid home too. So in the end, I did not pull the trigger.

It does not mean there won’t be running for me this weekend. I am going to try a new training run call 48×48. No it is not a piece of wood. It is to run 48 miles in 48 hours (two days). The twist is we only do a run of 4 miles every 4 hours. This means little to no sleep. My friend told me this is a good training for the 100 miler. Because it testing the body ability to reset.

That is so true. I am good with long run. I could run 50 miles withput pause. But if you ask me to run 4 miles and then 4 hours later to do it again, yike! So 48×48 means doing it 12 times. (I am thinking of adding 13th to it to make it over 50 miles, to compensate missing the JFK.)

My goal is to start on Friday night after work, with my first run probably at 5/6 PM. The graveyard shift will be tough. I will try to catch some snooze between the runs. Saturday-Sunday night probably the worse. I have to do it till Sunday 5-6 pm for my last run. Oh this starts tomorrow!

Hopefully I have some time to tell you guys how it was next week.

Other things on my mind I hope to jot down in the future because with post being too long already, is the news of my grandmother’s passing during my Stone Mill run how that effected me and my thoughts on death. It is a lot to think about. Still too much to wrao my head to it. My brother in law said death is like a race, actually life is and death is the finish of it. I see it too, I like that, because death is not sad, but a celebration of life. My greatest joy in a race is when I finish it – the moment stepping over and celebration that follows. I am still festive.

But I know this weekend, there won’t be time for much thinking. 48×48 is a tough one.