November, bye bye

Day 201

Last day of the month. I had nothing to do today. It has been quiet in my life. No trip no run.

I have spent my day reading on my own journals! I reread my last race report at least 4 times. I have been reading other people reports too. I love it. I guess, to relive the moment. I want to read a report from the fast runners (front of the pack), the average runners (midle of the pack), and the slower / and even those who couldn’t finish. So far, I have read two of mid-pack, they finished around 10-hour mark.

I guess I have nothing to do.

I had a great race on Thanksgiving Day. I did the Ashburn Farm 10K. It was a slow run for me because I was still recovering from the 50 Miler. Apparently, my legs were good and I was faster than I thought! Much faster than I thought possible. I finished under 55 mins.

The funny thing was before the start I was trying to figure my pace. I couldn’t. I had no idea how to run a 10k any more. I went and just ran it with no idea on pacing. I know if I am fresh I could run somewhere around 50 minutes. I know during the 50 miler, I was running 14-15 min per mile. So 6 mile run, could take me 1.5 hrs to finish. I told my friend who came to watch me that I will be coming in around 1 hr mark. I did! I surprised myself.

I was a good run.

Parks 10K

Day 189

Fidelity Investments Parks 10K is one of races I run each year. Each year as far as I can remember, the weather was cold. We started at 8AM. The sun was already up and started to warm up a bit but I think the temperature is still uncomfortably cold in tees and shorts. I woke up early again though not as early as 3AM like the previous day.

Most people bundled up. I started with two layers and a fleece and took off most of them and ran in my short sleeves and shorts. Only a few of us did so. I was very cold in the end. Again took me the rest of the day to warm back up.

It got warmer later in the race and I did not regret my decision. I love running in the cold. I love running fast.

I have been running marathons lately and my average pace for those were between 11-12 min pace, about 6 mph. Finally to be able to run a 10K felt great. I ran it like it was a 5K, fast, then after the first couple miles, I started to realize this race would last an hour instead of half an hour.

I noted that I was not gasping for breath at any point the during the race. My muscles though were a bit tired. I couldn’t really push them to my max.

I thought I did very well. I finished in 54 min. However, my previous fastest time for the course was 48 or 49 mins. I had no regret about my current time, but thinking I was indeed much slower now than before. It is hard to train for being fast and also running for long distance.

captain log

Day 171 Guilty pleasure – icecream

The weekend wasn’t as intense as I had anticipated. My training fizzled out due to my own undoing. I ran on Friday, but my quad wasn’t healing properly and pain shot out after about 8 or 10 miles. I was going to do 20. Any way, I started the run very late around 7 pm instead of six or five – I was dreadful of the long run and so delayed starting it. There was no way for me to finish 20 miles before midnight by the time I actually went out. I could have finished but I didn’t really try.

That was Friday. I was hoping then to make it up on Saturday. I had a 10k in the morning. I didn’t hype this race up but this was one of the coolest 10k to do. It was sold out. We ran on the International Airport of Dulles (IAD) main runway. They closed half of the airport for us. We ran the whole runway. It was indeed long. It took maybe a mile before getting on the runway and then the runway was unending. We did out and back. I think the runway was about 2 miles long. I ran marathons but comparing to running on the runway, I felt despair.

Most people were running on the edge of the runway but a few of us got to the center where the white strips are painted. I really wanted to spread out my arms and pretended to fly. Maybe next time though, because I was running for time and I didn’t want to be goofy.

The runway really messed up your pacing when there is no reference point for you to know how fast or far you have been running. They had mile markers but still. Of course it was flat and big. Everything is far away. We had good weather. I did not see any plane landing or taking off, which kind of disappointed. We knew too because they closed the runway. I think the other side of the running was really far away, probably half a mile away where planes were land, but we didn’t get to see. Mybe they did shut off the whole airport. I don’t know. It would have been so cool to run on the runway while planes were landing or taking off on top of you.

Security was heavier than usual 10K. They had hundreds of agents and airport polices on bikes surrounding us. They had helicopters and drones flying overhead — saying taking pictures though I think more for security. We went through security check but we didn’t have to take off our shoes or go through those milliwave detectors. I didn’t bring anything in but my phone and ID, but I could have. They used the handheld metal detector sweeper on me. When I arrived in the morning the parking guard asked me: what is my purpose of being here! I said to run. He let me through. Isn’t it obvious, there are thousands other cars behind me that we were obviously there to run? We were using the air and space museum parking lot that is next to the airport. Museum doesn’t open until 10. Normally, I don’t think anyone would park there at that hours.

Would I do again? maybe. I had to get up extra early to leave the house in time for the race. And our race was delayed for a bit (like 15/20 mins) because a bunch of people couldn’t get through security in time and the organizer decided to wait for them.

After the race, I was very cold and I went home to sleep for the rest of the day until evening. Not sure why I was cold, maybe I wasn’t feeling well.

Sunday was really a lost day. I ran maybe 5-6 miles in Reston while waiting for my friend to finish church and for her call. She was waiting for me to call but I didn’t. She didn’t call me until near 1pm and my moning was gone doing nothing. If I knew ahead of them, within those six hours I could have squeezed in the long run.

Then I couldn’t get to the lunch place because my friend moved up the time and I was still out in Reston while she was in DC and I wasn’t aware until she texted me asking where am I. She then promised to bring me lunch. I wanted to decline and gool for a run but she wasgetting mad at me for skipping church and now the lunch. So I waited for another three hours at a park boat launch place, where we were to meet. I ate around 3:30 when she showed up. I was no longer hungry, but food was food and good stuff. Again if I knew I had to wait for three hours I would be running in my stomping ground around DC instead of sleeping on a bench like a hobo. DC traffic and parking is bad even on Sunday, so I couldn’t blame her for taking too long for getting to me. It took couple hours to get from one side to another. I normally run on Sunday afternoon, but since she was kind of mad at me when I said, I couldn’t make it to lunch, I dare not turn down her kayaking event. We launched around 4 pm and kayaked until 5:30. With each minutes ticked by, I knew my Sunday run was toasted but I still had hope I might be able to get some run in at the end of the day. After kayaked, we had plan to go to her house and she would cook for us. And I was hoping to be in and out within an hour since she sleeps early. However, the dinner took 2 plus (near 3) hours to cook. We watched a documentary and a movie. Ended up my whole evening was gone. I got home dead tired and before long it was midnight. Guess what! I ran into traffic on the interstate on the way back to my home so I got home extra late. And on a Sunday night! They closed all lanes but one. So no running at all. Murphy law.

Total mile for week 6 was 20-24, maybe 26 miles. I was aiming 60-70. It was the lowest mileage I put up.

I was not happy. I wasn’t mad at my friend but myself for not being more resolved to run. Dinner was good though. I brought a half gallon of icecream and wolfed down after I got home. My friend also made icecream but it was too chocolately and salty. The icecream sated my anger a bit.

Good weekend

Day 163

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

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

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

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

Last week run summary:

Monday – rest

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

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

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

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

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

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

total: 55 miles

Intensity

Day 115

I came across a training article. The concept is pretty simple and logical, but it occurs to me that it is an important truth that I have overlooked.

The concept is we train in three phases. The first is foundation. We build a good foundation and hopefully the last three years, I had a solid foundation. Then come the real deal where we pursuit after our goal by increasing the effort/power and intensity at the growth phase. Lastly (third phase) we maintain our level and perfecting our goal.

I think intensity is the key. I felt in a lot of things I do in life, I reach a mediocre level and normally stay like that with very little growth. What I missed was I have not really amped up the intensity to get to my potential. And I have gone through life/everything in a boring kind of way.

I came across the article at the right time. Intensity is what make what I am doing exciting. What drives my passion is doing more of the things I like.

I attended the talk (secret church) last week and there was segment on having a passion for God. What drive Moses to know God more? It was to know God’s glory. And the speaker was saying did Moses see enough of God’s glory already? He was a guy who spoke to God in front of a burning bush. He saw the Red Sea parted and many other miracles. What drove him to ask God, to show him more of God’s glory when he already seen more than anyone else in the world. The answer was it is never enough.

In parallel, I never experience enough of running. It is not a bit different for me to do a 5k or 10k or a marathon. Some might think (those who are not a runner) ask whether it is enough since I have run 8 marathons already. Nope. The experience of running my eighth one was just as exciting as running my first one. Related to intensity of what we are talking about, I actually want more! Some call it an addiction but I think not. I could easily be satisfied with one race! But because I love it so much, and my body is able to handle it, I am upping my races both in quality and quantity. I don’t need more race to have the same ‘high’, which is those who have an addiction needed. Any way…

Running a 10K is just as fun, except it is just too short! Haha. Sorry for those who were dying on the course when I did mine, I don’t mean to put them down. 10k might be the hardest thing they did.

Last weekend I did the Pike Peek or Peek’s Pike, whatever it is. This post was originally about this race but I got suck in on the topic of intensity from something I read.

Why I love doing 5k/10k is it bring out community. Almost anyone can do it. You will be surprised if you think you can’t run a 10k. I got it that many couldn’t do it but some, a few who attempted, I applaud them.

The race is usually open long enough so even those who walk (fast walk) can finish. That was a reason you get to see many who are not a fast runner on the course.

Runners are a friendly bunch, but with the slower crowd out, it is even friendlier.

The crowd support was great on this one. For the race, we ran down Highway 355. It has 4 lanes going each way, but they closed three of the four lanes, so that they can have more room for runners. We ran down most of the way. There was a festival at the end (Peeks and Roses). I had to be somewhere so I didn’t stay too long. I stayed long enough to see the slower people finish (last few). I think it was the 1.5 hours crowd.

That was that. I probably can go on and on. I love the race and will do it again.

Thinking

Day 98

I am still thinking how did I run a minute faster than my normal 10K time on yesterday race.

Bluemont race map

It was an out and back course. The map showed km 4 to 5 is shorter than km 5-6, where the turn around point was. I don’t think I cut the course, because I definitely turn around at the cone.

The turn around might have thrown off my gps watch.

I think on the second half I ran faster because it was down hill. I have not done the split yet because my watch was wrong (I think), so its data can’t be trusted.

Here is the elevation profile.

Elevation showing a mirror image of out-back route, second half being down hill

Bluemont running

Day 97 – race

A quiet weekend and it is just what I like. No big plan. I woke up and went to a local 10K race. It is about a hour from home. I ran a good time here every year. This was my third. While at the course, I didn’t have good vibe that I would do well this time. My shins were still hurt (been like this for two weeks, since that late Wednesday night run). Body doesn’t do well in recovery when I overtaxed it. Still a race is a race. I started at the end of the group. The race was sold out but there were about hundred of us lining up. The temperature was mild for this time 38F (5-6C). I dressed in dual layer short sleeves. shorts. It would warm up to 50 later. The sun was actual warm but we have strong wind 30kph wind. Consistently blowing.

I like this race because it is far out the city two counties over from DC, on a farm land. You can see the mountain range where I do a lot of hiking. Out in the rural life is slower. It fits my personality.

The course is only 15 minutes from the Appalachian Trail (Snicker Gap). The original plan was to finish the race and head to the trail to do some trail run, since my marathon is all about hills, and this trail has plenty of them. Ashby Hollow and Buzzard Hill is known as the roller coaster because it goes up and down many times in this 10 miles stretch. I hiked this section like four times past year.

However after the race, I was cold. I had my downs jacket on but still cold. We had after race party at a brewery across from the farm. I stayed for lunch. They lit a fire pit, and I have been next to it for the past hour. It felt so good. This is what my friend meant when she said about waking up to a warm fire and have breakfast next to it. It is definitely one of the 50 joyful things to be thankful for.

They haven’t posted the race result yet, but unofficially, based on my watch, I should PR this race, finished at 47:58, shaving a minute from my last record, but my watch also reported the course is short by 0.2 mile. It would explain why I was a minute and half faster.

Looking down the valley, near blue ridge
From Brewery Patio

Update: It’s official: I PR’ed it and finished at 47:56.