Random thursday

Day 126

1. Post-Marathon Blue again. I am beat on today run. I am more out of shape than I thought. Whether it is post marathon blue or what not, today run was horrible. I ran with two guys, the same two guys I have been running with. I think their names are Jack and Chris. We are usually about the same pace. Today though they seemed much better. They had to wait for me. Normally it is I who wait for other people. I felt they were like couple minutes faster. I couldn’t keep up at all. They beated me on the flat and downhill and uphill. I thought I would beat them on the uphill portion since that is my strength. Nope! Then I thought I would beat them on the distance since I am a distance runner. Nope. I gave up on the sprint. They dominated the whole thing. I guess I have been eating too much junk food and drinking too much sodas. Or it is really post marathon decline.

That’s life. I don’t want to believe in post marathon blue but I have run 9 marathons and each time is the same. I am suffering mentally and bodily after finishing a marathon. Life just don’t go well the following few weeks. Even my best hope — in running, I am doing poorly at it. Why even run, right? So much suffering for what.

I forgot what I want to write.

Passion. At church last night, there of course was some major lessons I can apply to running. However, I don’t remember what they were. I kind of zoned out in the middle of it. Something about the river of joy inside flowing out once you believe. Ah, once you have been with him, it will be known. It can’t be contained. Pastor looked at me and immediately identified me as a marathon man. When did I even tell him I ran a marathon? We are identified by our passion. We can’t not talk about it.

A Funny story about the hike I did. Last Sunday, I was hiking from camp to camp and the Sunday was our longest hike still. I think it was between a 18-20 mile hike. The machine (phone app) said we did 27 miles – it was way wrong. But it was a long hike.

We started out at 7 am on the dot. We actually woke up at 5 and packed our tents and had our breakfast and leisurely got our things together. There was supposed to be a heavy thunderstorm and damaging wind in the middle of the day and we wanted to reach to our camp/ a sheltering place before it hit. We knew that the half way point has a shelter. So we were hiking at a relatively fast pace around 2.4 – 2.6 mile pace. I think we hit the 10/11 mile mark by 11 o clock. This was with the full pack. 35-40 lbs. I didn’t have time to weight mine.

I was calculating that we should get to camp by 4pm. My friend thought otherwise and was aiming for 3 pm.

We stopped for ‘lunch’ which was pretty much just meant taking out our lunch from our pack and continued to hike with the lunch in our hands. I was fooling around looking for a place to pee. The sky got dark and wind blew. We were back on our way without eating (my friend finished hers before I even had mine ready). I had on my rain coat and rubber pants with my sandwiches in my hands.

Boy did the last eight miles a hard hike. The two ladies pretty much disappeared from sight on the getgo. Occasionally I got a glimpse of them like whenever we came to a hill and I was able to look up and saw them way up top while I was at the foot of it.

I started to day dream. It might be a coping mechanism because I was about to pass out. It didn’t help because I was falling even farther behind. Then I abandoned all thoughts. I only think of one name, my friend K and instead of looking at the ground I strained my eyes to look straight ahead like I could almost see her way in the distance. I was probably half a mile behind by then. I kept chanting her name in my head and I was like a train. A machine. I caught up with them on the last mile and passed them.

We laughed about it when we got to camp. The storm didn’t hit us but to a place like 30 miles south of us (Ohiopyle). I was all drenched from head to toes not from the rain but my own sweat. My friend looked at me and asked if I had on a different pants because it was darker.

They were dark because of my sweat. I knew if I would stop sweating during the hike, I would go into shock/heat stroke. We laughed about it because I was really foolish/and stupid because I could have taken off my raincoat and pants and would have able to avoid all the suffering to the point of passing out and would have hiked even faster still and might have kept up with them. It never occurred to me to take off my jacket on a 90 degree day. My only thought was if I died I wanted my last thought to be my friend’s name. It was really stupid. Haha. Guys are dumb they say.

Laurel Highlands

Day 125

My friend led a four days hike on Laurel Highlands. We went south starting from the end point mile 70.

Notable things:

-we had three people going. It kept the trip interesting

-we had a little bit of storm (like 10 minutes) and we were able to stay in a shelter until it passed. The other time we were already in our tents.

-though stormy weather supposed to last the whole weekend but we happened to avoid most of it. The storm went 30 miles south of us.

-we stayed one night at a state park before heading to Laurel Highlands. We car camped and had a good meal on Friday night in Hagerstown, MD

-sleeping locations were pretty good. We made reservation for our campsites. Not many other people showed up and we basically had the place to ourselves.

-we didn’t complete the entire 70 miles but we did 40 miles. Given another two days we would be able to finish it. We plan or hope to do the rest in the fall.

Overall, we had good time.

I learn fire doesn’t just burn on its own, it will go out if no one tends it. Fanning is important to keep it burning.

Day 124

Day 124

I’m trying to get back to my run schedule. But feeling tired generally.

What happened : I had two great runs last two days, doing about 4 miles each day. It was hard to breath until couple miles in. I was easily get winded. Legs are still tired. I am hoping tonight run would be better. Overall, I think this recovery period is much better than the last. Also, my knees and ankles are not hurting. Both of my left and right ankles are strong (I rolled them two weeks ago). They were ready on race day.

Looking ahead, I have a backpacking/ camping trip (50 miles hike) this coming weekend. We have next Monday off for Memorial Day. It will be a four days trip, the longest ever for me.

Next week, I will be running the Baltimore 10 miler. I plan to run a half marathon the following day, though haven’t registered for the Half yet.

I went to church last night. It helped me to refocus and I needed it. We continue to learn about the meaning of belief, which is a strong conviction.

It reminds me to think about my conviction of my running. When I don’t feel like running, I have to go back to my fundamental belief. What do I know about running and why do I run, and what do I hope to accomplish. It is not that I ever will doubt myself, but thinking deep about it, propels me forward.

I believe the more I run, the better I get at it. I believe that I will improve and run faster and longer. I believe I could get at least a 3:30 time for my marathon. Breaking 3 though is a stretch — currently I don’t think it is within my ability but I need to grow my faith. Because of what I believe, I act upon it by going out and run.

Spirit controls the soul and body. Spirit is the mind or where ideas come from.

Two for one

Day 123 / York & St Michaels

I did a half marathon and a full marathon in one weekend. It was amazing. Looking back it doesn’t seem that hard because I have done hikes at that length over a weekend, but I was fearful when I signed up. Granted hiking and running is not the same thing.

For one there is no time pressure for hiking but with running I am on the clock! I could ignore the clock but I never willingly run a slower time on purpose.

There are too much to talk about. I won’t able to say everything. First, location, St. Michaels is a small historical town founded in the 1600s somthing. It has that quaint old feel. It supposes to be very beautiful but I didn’t get to see the harbor/ or pier where they keep their boats. We ran through some remote part of the island with a lot of trees. So only saw trees. The route is pretty boring. Whatever lacking in attractions was made up with the runner atmosphere. There were tons of people running this race. They had to use four different waves. There were thousand plus runners. So hotels and inns were all filled. I camped out and it was a pretty nice experience but I didn’t get much sleep because by the time I got to the site it was late and I slept after 10 and woke up at 3:45 to start packing. I was afraid to get caught in small town traffic with a thousand cars trying to get to the start line. The race started on time at 7:10. I finished in 2 hours.

What I got out from the race was it is good to have a coach! I was running with someone who was behind me with her trainer. It was very distracting to have the guy constantly motivating the lady. I just couldn’t run fast or slow enough to get out of their ear shot. But I wish I have a personal trainer who would tell me how fast to run at a certain portion.

That was that. St Michaels is a good race. I might go back there if they have a full marathon.

Now about the York Marathon (YMCA race), it was more than I expected because it was on the PA Heritage trail and it was beautiful. Running a trail marathon always beats a road marathon. It was flat. It was really a road marathon but on a less used trail. We hardly see any other people from the general public. The trail is 23-mile long and there are mostly farm land on either side. So it was a heavenly place for runners.

The race supports were great. They had radio team (probably there was no cell coverage), and they had profession road crossing crew. There was a water stop about every 2 miles.

The race was long because I ran slow (not by choice either because my body refused to run any faster). I kept mostly around 10 mile pace and was targeting a 4:20 finish. I finished at 4:24. I was hungry by the half way point. They don’t have food at this race only water and Gatorade. There were gummy bears at one station though I am not sure if it was provided by the race or was it from a bystander. I was too tired to care and just took them.

I hit the wall at mile 18 and didn’t really recover. There were a lot of strong runners. It was a Road Runner club qualifying race or something. We got to see some really good looking runners. Amazing!

I finished it was what I can say.

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.

19.4 Review

Day 120 / Review#4 – spring time

What happens: A review of last 30 days from March to May. I felt a lot had happened and also not much at the same time. Last time I wrote a review, there was still snow and I did the first half marathon this year then. Note 30 days are not the actual calendar days but days of that were journaled (a meaningful day). I could also use the word entry, but I like day better.

As always, the last review can be found here [last]. I am still figuring out how I want to do this, if I should write strictly a summary or provide something new focusing the present (like provide a snapshot), or both.

Here’s a look back of the last 30 days.

1) running of the Roanoke Marathon. Its training spanned through several months. The race was a foundation for all the races I will do this year. The training was long and I felt I was a beginner runner all over. More on the race is in the report [race].

My goal this year is to be an ultra runner. My first trail ultra race is only a month away (actually will be my second, but it is a first one with hills). I did some mountain running and I gotta say, it is hard. Hills are not hills,… they go on forever. Roanoke marathon showed me that.

While hiking is a fun activity, to me it is also a training. I am pleased that I was able to do a great hike (backpacking) at Tory Ridge [hike]. I also started to train on trails during the weekends. I am not there at where I should be yet. There is still much to do to get ready.

Off tangent: I probably leave my review with one point hanging. I ran out of things to say…I have stuffs to write about but I found them boring (like doing chores). I like to go off tangent.

I started to write only on the weekend because that when things are happening. I do my races on weekends. I hike, backpack, train, and everything on the weekend. I do train during the week too, but each day mostly after work, there is only limited time and I want to hit the bed as early as I can. One thing I changed was going to bed early! It was part of the over all goal to be more efficient and choosing to do what most important.

Other major events were running the Frederick Half, (too lazy to provide a link), running the cherry blossom race, couple weekend training (Easter).

I looked back on my New Year Resolution couple days ago. Some of those were on the right track. I’m proud of my training and runs. Other things like eating better…Needs much improved, to try again.

I started going to gym last couple weeks. I like being sored on other parts of my body other than the legs. I’m so proud of this. Along the same line, I found a buddy who will do a mini triathlon sprint with me. Hopefully that will get me into the Tri world. I’m excited. It is all about ramming up the intensity.

Relationship. Everything is tied to people. I would like to ignore this aspect but it is really the bedrock of everything I do. It is through people that I found meaning in all my activities. I could say run in the woods by myself but then it is because I want to able to run with people in a race. I don’t know what I’m writing here, just taking a stab at it. I like to run for the sake of running too.

I thank God for friends and a group of guys who keep me on track in life. Having this group of friends is the biggest change in the last couple months.

Last couple months, my Friend K really got me back on track. I had a defining moment! I (or she) solved one of the biggest problems since the beginning (120 days ago), which was just lurking in the back and I had no idea how to tackle head on. I was much relief. I’m speaking vaguely here but really, it should change my life. Of course my relationship with K, and my perspective of everything changed. More to come. I now have more intensity and life than ever before!

[Last] https://antin.blog/2019/03/06/19-3-review/
[Race] https://antin.blog/2019/04/15/roanoke/

[Hike] https://antin.blog/2019/03/31/torry-ridge-bp/