Another day likes one before. I am not ready for a random Friday 🙂
Weekend starts soon. I have my fingers crossed. Tomorrow will be busy because I have a bunch of things to do to get ready for Saturday.
I won’t likely be posting a Random Friday post on Saturday morning as I have done the last couple weekends because this weekend I will be heading to Skyline Drive to do some hiking with my hiking lady. Well she is leading a big group this time. There probably 10+ people — note we are still required to wear masks and practice social distancing. No comment on the group size. She said those who are afraid should sit out on this one.
I will be going. There will be a fast group and a slower group. I haven’t decided which group I want to join. I probably with the fast and high mileage group. We will be doing at least 17 miles in about 6 hours. Decent pace. The slower group will be doing 8-10 miles in the same amount of time. The bigger group will do a loop hike while the slower group will be doing a out and back and they can control when they want to turn back.
I am thinking of heading out a few hours beforehand to do trail running on the Appalachian trail. It has been four or more months since I last ran on a trail. I am so excited.
I need to go to bed early tomorrow. No more midnight or 2 AM kind of stuff. I will be in bed by 9. And Need to be up by 4. Trail/Park opens at 5. So I want to be the first one there. I guess my run will go from 5:30 – 9:30.
This means I have to fill up my gas tank tomorrow. I need to do some shopping. I need to prepare for my 1st, 2nd breakfast plus, 1st and 2nd lunch.
Remind me to bring water and a bottle of soda. I need my water filter too.
I’m still in a holding pattern, being lazy to do anything on everything.
Next Next Friday is supposed to be my June race in Pennsylvania, which was already canceled, but I plan to go and run the trail any way. It is supposed to be very hard.
Yet, I have done zero planning. Where will I sleep and when will I sleep. How long will I run. Where will I get food. The whole 70.5 miles trail is in the woods far from any stores, so only way is to stash supplies along the route. Water and food. More importantly water. I have done absolutely zero on thinking it through.
I signed up also for the Atlanta race. I know, I need to buy a map and sit down and draw out turn by turn and have it memorized. Yet , I am sitting on my butt. If I am driving down to Atlanta, I should think about the scheduling. 10 hours going down and 34 hours running. I need 2-5 hours resting. Then 10 hours back. 60 total hours of required operation time over a four days weekend. Plus have to build in 8-10 hours of sleep. Not sure if I can pull it off. Yes, need to think things through. 60 hours is 2 and half day. Technically it is doable. Ya you don’t want me to be on the road driving a 10 hour trip back after 3 days with very little sleep. A recipe for disaster. I was thinking about flying … but possibly corona infection is a concern.
I like doing things and thinking of the big picture, but when planning for the operational stuff, I get paralyzed and indecisive. Simple decision like plane or drive…is taking me two days thinking about it and still no solution. Ya, I know, best if not go at all.
Third trip. I wanted to head down to Tennessee to finish my GVRAT race. I have 200 more miles to go. I think I can run the final 100 miles over a weekend. Yet I am paralyzed with when to do it. The thing stopping me is I don’t want to do it myself. The drive would be long 6-7 hours, one way. Run a 100 mile and drive back 6-7 hours. 50 hours operation. Not including sleep. Need minimum three days to do it. Technically, could leave work a little early on Friday, and do a long drive. Start the run at very early on Saturday, Will finish by noon on Sunday and make the long drive back before midnight. Very tight schedule and also very little sleep. 2-3 hours on Friday. And lucky if 2-3 hours before the drive back on Sunday if I finish the run early. Wish I can get a friend to do the driving for me.
Prepping for a self support run is a lot of work. You have to think way ahead of where you will be at any given moment, to plan for contingency – bail out points, support points. Emergency and stuffs, but I’m so lazy of doing the homework.
Tennesee trip would be a go if I have it on the 3rd weekend of June. This is planning. I need to set a go-no go poll.
Anyway. My hiking buddy is asking if I am free the second weekend of June for some backpacking. I miss backpacking. Yet I want to do the running too. She found another guy to do the hike with, so my interest in it wane a bit. I know the guy. Not jealous or anything, but it was more like ‘a polite or formality’ in asking me, and like I was expected to decline the invitation. I am in a holding pattern. I wanted to go, but didn’t give my yes. Any way, I should do the PA trip myself since it was ‘planned’ since who knows when.
I wish I am more decisive. If it were not for the pandemic, I would have all my weekends planned out…with this race and that race and I hardly have to decide on anything. They all fall into place.
There will be probably a bunch of fillers from here on out to Day 300 because I just need to fill up the gap and there is not much going on.
I guess those in the US all focusing on the civil unrest taking place. I have not much to comment on it other than I need to watch out for my own safety. I have been feeling safe in my neighborhood, as you readers know, I take long runs that sometimes last whole day 8-12 hours or longer. My usual daily run now typically last 3 hours, doing somewhere between 12-20 miles. I run from both sunrise to sunset and to late hours into the night.
I have been feeling pretty safe. But now I have to watchout for myself. People don’t care if I am a runner. I might get caught in bad situation. Also law enforcement might not care if I am just a passerby, I might get identify as one of the rioters. I have seen even a CNN reporter was arrested on TV for doing nothing, but reporting the situation.
I haven’t been out to DC at all. I have heard protest been going on for 5 days and police trying to clear the people out.
Our president was trying to gather the troop as a show of force, but seems to fail spectacularly. Virginia has refused to send their national guards for the task. This is unheard of. I have never seen chain-of-command being failed to honor. The commander is chief is calling his troop and his soldiers refuse to obey. This is unheard of. I see a lot of politic going on. Virginia governor doesn’t see the protest in the capital a threat to the nation survival.
But any way, I said my piece. I think we as a nation is comical to the world.
Tonight run was one of my best run. I put in 18 miles. I was light. The first mile/first step always was hard for me. Before I went out I felt very sleepy and I laid on the sofa and slept until past 7 pm. Normally I go at 6. Maybe the nap help. I was an energizer bunny and was out on the road until 11 something. That is 4 hours!
I feel very awake now. I could probably run another 3-4 more hours out there.
During the run, my mind was mostly on the protest. I read many different things. Racial tension is not something new in this country. It relatively new for me. I remember growing up hearing about the Rodney King’s incident. Subsequently other similar stuff took place, and many more occurents in recent times. Charlottesville incident was something closer to home for me. All this was crazy to process.
I thought back to my trip in Chile. There the protests were much more frequent (daily) and much worse. They had the popular support. Everyone would bring out their pot and pan and started banging.
I don’t see we here will get to that level soon. This time there are a lot of popular support but it is not at anarchy state like Chile.
I see America is changing. The constant theme of the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. This is so much more true today than when I grew up. I have seen reports supporting this. Real wages stagnant while expenses and cost of living go up. We have people now working two jobs and still could barely make end meet. At one point it reach a breaking point and society will unravel like in Chile.
Today, I was talking with my manager at work. He was telling me how in China they don’t have credit card. People can only spend what they have. They now switch to digital currency similar to bitcoin. He said we can’t have something like that here because it would kill all credit cards. Our economy would collapse without credit in the system. But then it is matter of time – like inevitably we would switch to a digital currency. He said that is a scary thought.
I don’t know what to think about that but he is right on one thing that we as a society rely heavily on the availability of credit.
That’s it for now. I will think of something to write tomorrow.
I don’t remember which days my runs were on, so this summary is kind of a joke.
ah Monday. Normally a rest day but it was too good not to use it for a run. Did 26 miles on Memorial day. Wrote a blog about the run to my former high school. It was a hot day.
Tuesday. Short run 14 k. So about 9 miles.
Wed-Friday. Work got busy. Friday put in couple miles. Weather was too humid.
Saturday. Just plain lazy. Watched the shuttlerocket (SpaceX Falcon9 capsule Dragon Demo-2) launched. Ended up it took whole day and didn’t run.
Sunday. out of guilt ran 20 miles. I orginally intended for 26 or more, but started out way too late. Just too much to do to get ready for work again. Great weather though nice cool 65 ish.
GVRAT progress. I reached more than half way. At 380 miles. There are about around 250 more miles, to be considered “finished”. I haven’t run that much in a month, 380 miles! Normally that about how much miles I do for the whole season!
I finally signed up another virtual race and it will take place in Atlanta. I am a bit nervous because it will be my first 100 miles. We have until the end of August to do it. The event itself has a 34 hours limit (yes, it is a 100 mile event).
I am nervous because I am running on an actual real course and it is far from here. I am thinking on the logistic right now, like how do I get myself down to Atlanta.
The curfew and rioting there is not helping. I plan to do it on the July 4th weekend, but nothing is concrete at this point except that I have paid for it already. Hopefully things will calm down a bit.
I joked with a coworker sometimes saying I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. A joke because I am an early riser and I do well early in the morning than late at night. More importantly I don’t always sleep on a bed. Sofa or floor would do for me. I love hearing her retorts to me, saying I don’t sleep on a bed.
My body usually automatically bounces up the next morning. Do I ever get tired the first thing in the morning?
For me, I need coffee at night and not in the morning.
Today though, I feel like I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Just feel tired and groggy, but I can’t sleep any more. I slept in a bed last night though.
I am out of food too. Need to go to the store later. What I really want is a big steak dinner, but meat rarely goes on sale now. There are rumors of meat and fresh fruits shortage possible because the workers are infected with the coronavirus and cannot work. I need something deep fried. mmh.
I went for my first Chinese takeout on Thursday, for General Tso Chicken, deep fried. Yummy. I had a craving of it for almost three months since the coronavirus started.
Another coworker said I am being unreasonable (racist) of avoiding Asian stores all this time. I said you can never be too careful, indicating without proof that the virus is more prevalent in the Asian community. I wish I can reason with her that it is not that the virus is discriminating, but that social factors are creating that the poorer and the ethnic minorities are ones bearing the blunt of this pandemic (including those who work in a chinese take-out). Always it is difficult to talk to this lady. She always thinks I just argumentive. I only do it with her, because she is my match. She is Chinese Asian and she can’t stand me and she felt very offended by my statement. She countered that Asian community are the first ones to have their masks on in public. I don’t talk about this though with others. Just trying to act according to what I think is safe. So now I think the virus is spreading more widely…there is no point in avoiding take-outs any more. Just be safe and well mask.
Related to food, I learned something new with food and running. I have done couple of long races and each time I tried to eat my own body weight of food during the race. That is a reason I still have my love handles in spite of all the running I have been doing. But I read a comment from a race director saying too much food would hamper a runner’s performance.
The lightbulb lit up for me. I have been eating too much on my run. They say, the pro eat just a tiny bit only enough to sustain for the moment. This way you could still run at your maximum speed without fatigue setting in.
This is so true. I need to readjust my fueling strategy. I need to carry just enough fuel to get me through to the end. Ultra people is pushing their body to the limit by how little they carry on their runs. I am not at that level yet and there is so much to learn.
I don’t feel like writing today, but I did it, here for just checking in.
I felt when I started this project, it was more or less a journal for myself or a letter to myself. I didn’t expect to have an audience who would follow my stuffs.
The people who I expect would follow don’t — I mean those real life friends and family or coworkers. Not that my online friends are any less real.
Today probably a good day to go back on the stuff, which I was putting off couple days ago, that is, my pastor’s teaching and how I might benefit from them.
Pastor was speaking on the call by God (Jesus calling his disciples the first time and their responses) during wednesday service. This all related to discipleship, and transformation. I might not able to tie all these ideas together, since I was running at the time of the meeting and couldn’t concentrate 100% on the message.
One idea was we hear the call — those who hear, responded immediately to the master’s call. They would leave everything to follow.
I saw similar parallel in my life. You can say I got my calling of running. When I first took up running, I dove right in without hesitation or give a second thought. It was natural. I didn’t look back. I was 100% committed, because I love it. It is easy to do thing because we love it.
Time spent on training was not a cost at all. Racing though is expensive but I was more than happy to pay for it. I couldn’t wait till the next race. Usually I signed up multiple races way ahead of time and training for them was automatic like as a matter of fact a natural conclusion.
Calling involves turning our back on what we once considered important and leave everything to follow our pursuit.
There were much more to the discussion. I took the first point and run (pun) with it. There is the idea of repentent, counting the cost, denying own self, following the master, being committed to the end, and on. Jesus said, come follow me, I will make you into a fisher of man.
If any man comes after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Mark 8:34. (ATV – Antin’s garbled version) Some version has if any wants to be my disciple.
(This was written a week ago, I was hoping over time, I could remember other points and flush them out or make them related to my running, but life got in the way, and I even missed the pastor 2nd talk the past Wednesday on Discipleship. So, here it is, before this blog get burried and not see the light of day)
[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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I wasn’t going to post anything today since it was a nice day off. I had a good morning run, and did not have more to add. However, I came across this nicely done video that captures my mood for today and usually how I would feel when I am out in the woods alone. It is about a guy visiting a crash site of a WW2 plane in Pennsylvania. I don’t know the guy myself, but based on his Youtube handle name, it might be the “expert” who posted a lot about hiking The Laurel Higlands Trail, and I relied on his information, when I backpacked part of trail last year on the Memorial Day weekend, coincidentally.
[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.