Some math

Day 202

I struggled with this of not having a purpose at the end of every running season. The things I do: I work. I run. and I relax.

Work is pretty much an auto-drive. I don’t write much about it. I go in, work, and I get paid. It generates revenue for me to do things. It is to me a necessary evil! I won’t describe it as real evil but I wish I don’t have to put 9 to 6 every day or any day, even if work is really good. It is a third of my life! But I do need the money. This is our world we in, and for most people is like this. There are only a handful of people in the world who don’t have to work – unless we are unemployed, retired, or can’t work. We work, so that we get paid. And we do stuff (spend) with it. People talk about investing, but that’s for another post.

I think about it a lot! I kind of need the money. In truth though if to just survive with food only, I have made enough supposingly to last for a lifetime.

How do you calculate? What is minimal calories need to sustain life? How much does that cost? Let guess $10-20 a day (first world problem I know; third world figure is $1-2 a day when I was back in school – the amount is probably still the same unfortunately). So you need about $3650 a year. I am at mid-life, and maybe will live for another 50 years, so times 50. I’d need about $187,500 to $365,000. Given it is still a big sum of money, and not many have it, but it is not unimaginably large. There are those who follow the FIRE movement (Financial Independent and Retire Early). I am not a high earner compare to my peers who are making twice or three times my salary — also a tricky comparison because there are those who made much less. For me though if I really want to, I can retire within 10 years, before my official retirement age. It is not out of reach. So it is kind of a false belief that we are tied to our work. I might have writen about this before.

Many immediately can point out, what about shelter and clothing and other stuffs we want and need. True. Hence, the reason I am and everyone else are still working. I love to drive my big loud truck and go places. A bit excessive I know. However, they are choices we make. Even my own food expense is costing me more than my estimate. Sorry to those who lives on a year with less than $600, or even $6,000 income and here I am debating if $600 is enough for food for a month. I recently watched a video on world wealth distribution and know how much wealth I have and my country have compare to the rest of the people. I am not rich, but the video has a point, I am very favorable. I know as I was growing up, not too long ago, our family food budget was between $100-200. Inflation does not account such fast growth in cost now. I spent more is the bottom line (and I don’t cook for myself). Actually I don’t know how much I need to spend for food. I really need to budget and to cook. I could do better. My shelter costs me more than food. I should aim to buy a piece of land in the wilderness and live off it! That would be a dream.

I am investing, with the hope that a day will come when I can’t work any more and when my income from investments, would be greater than my present earning salary. Yes, it is a hope, like many people. Who know if it is still true 20-30 years from now.

What else do I do? I run. I spent time running, reading about running, watching movies or videos on running, planning for next run or race, and looking up for the next race and so forth.

Then I veg’d. It may be a form of relaxation. I sometimes stop doing anything – like now. I don’t know why. I just finished a big race a week ago. I haven’t had much desire to run or do anything. So I have been laying low (literally too).

I can’t imagine a few years ago, before I took up running, I really had nothing to do. I wasted my life fulltime back then! Now I only waste it a day here or there. Well to some, running is also a waste of time. We each find what we like to do outside of work, where to others might be a waste of time. Not me, unfortunately. I do like what I do for a living, but just it is not the same as running. I definitely like running more.

I should think more on it too. Some might say I live only for myself. Is it not selfish? It probably is. I help other people incidentally but never purposefully like I am going devote my life for others. One of my friends is like that. She advocates on issues for the oppressed and of injustice in her free time. Most of us in the first world are blind or we put blinder on to ignore this (even me). Actually, that what God requires of his people, is to love mercy and render justice (Micah 6:8a).

Maybe a little time-out for me at this point in time, helps me to refocus my priority of what I should be doing in life: To not live in excess, and pursue a nobler life.

Reread

Day 139

I reread a blog post I wrote a few days back about why I run. At that time I thought my running career would go on indefinitely. I was young and there doesn’t seem to be why I couldn’t run except for lack of interest. Now looking back I spoke too soon.

I don’t think I am being taught a lesson. But immediately after that I started to struggle with my run and everything. It is like a switch is turned off.

I did many things since. Too much to recount them here.

Last weekend I had to take a break from running. A 5K was only thing I did. A consolation for me was it could have been worse. At least I finished. I don’t mind when people were passing me because at least I know I have done my best. Run used to be effortless for me. I just tapped on the pavement and I would glide across. Big steps and fast steps and I hardly breathing. Now I am huffing and puffing. It doesn’t matter if I take a big step or small step or if I run in fast cadence or slow cadence, I just don’t go any where. My lung feels like exploding and my heart really twists violently inside and a few times I put my hand across my chest to feel if it is alright. People were calling out to me, asking if I am Ok. Luckily at the 3 mile mark, I had a burst of energy. I felt a little bit like my old self and ran to the finish line. It wasn’t super fast but the feeling was the same. It was like I could fly again.

I have been fasting every Monday for the past month immediately after I got the news that I have high cholesterol. I was determine to lower it. A total life change. I went from eating burgers every day to eating none of those food. I still eat out but choosing Panera or Chipotle instead and usually having a salad or a wrap. So that I cut 15-20% of my calories. No fat or sugar either. Instead of Coke I now have vitamin water.

The result is my run now is 25-33% slower. I can’t get any slower than that. Any slower would be walking. I can walk in a 5K but I can’t walk the whole thing in a marathon. I wouldn’t able to finish within the given time. Walking through a marathon takes about 10 hours and most races stop around 6.5 or 7 hours. I used to do it little over 4. And I thought I was slow because others were doing it in 3 hours. Everything is relative.

I wish it is the other way around. If I improve on what I eat and my run would improve 25-33%. Why food matters? On the weekend I went for a bike ride. Originally I planned to ride on a trail that is 45 miles long from the city to way out in the suburb and back making it a 90 miles ride. This was before I experienced being very weak. It is actually biking to another city in the outskirt of the DC area. By middle of the week, I realized I probably wouldn’t make it out and back, so shorten the ride in half, a 45-50 miles ride instead. I did this distance a few times before. But on the day of, once I got on the bike, I knew I wouldn’t make it at even this distance either and cut it down to 30 miles. My friend was biking with me. He biked slow but he had to stopped and waited for me a few times. The first 15 miles was a struggle. I just couldn’t keep up. We got to Leesburg by lunch time, and we met up with a friend for lunch. I had a whole 14 inch pizza. It was one of a few times I broke my diet. Actually 2nd time since I started eating right. The result was, on the ride back, my friend was getting tired but I was full of energy. I felt I could pass him if I want. We ended up biking back faster than when we headed out. I was so happy. Food really helps. It was an insight.

If I continue on my vegetarian-like diet, I am thinking of taking vitamin supplements. That is a start my friend told me.