Categories
health running

Day344 A second attempt – about to start

I am a few hours away from starting the run. As of right now I just woke up and still am very comfortable on my bed in the hotel near the airport. By the way, after having been of other city airport hotels, this is one of the best! It is comfortable and inexpensive and you don’t hear the take offs and landing or airplane flying over. How do they do it? I found out they originally were a Motel 6, but they renovated it and upgraded all around. It is on the level of Comfort Suites. It is part of the Quality Inn chain, but the quality I am getting is way higher than all the Quality Inns I stayed at. I just love the hotel and want to sleep in. I paid for four nights, but tonight I won’t be there!

Ideally I should have started the run yesterday because it was cooler and the chance of encountering rain storms during the run was lower (30% chance only), but today and tomorrow, my chance of running into a storm is around 50%. They are leftovers from Cat 4 Laura that made landfall in the Texas/Lousiana region couple nights ago.

However, I was not ready yesterday. I had not reviewed the map then and had not decided on the starting time. Since the starting time would determine the ending time, it needed to be chosen carefully.

Last time, I started in the evening at 6 pm and was aiming to finish at 4 am two days later. I thought of doing so again and maybe moving up the starting time by a few hours.

I woke up late and had company’s work to do. It was my day off but I didn’t finish those stuff on the day before my trip (computer issue kept me from doing them – it decided to run an update when I tried to do my work before my flight! My frustration level was through the roof). So I spent the morning doing my work. I was not done until 2 pm. I then went for lunch. I knew the run was not happening because I had not packed yet! I got everything laid out, but still did not have my runner pack in a final ready to go condition. 100 mile requires careful consideration of what to take a long.

Then I decided to go to Walmart to get a watch (you know the cheap one that have a stop watch feature?) but as I got there, I forgot all about getting a watch but instead got a lot of stuff for dinner and food for the run and food to eat after the run! I brought $30 worth of junk food. I probably wouldn’t finish them all – 7 cans of spagetti, lot of fruit cups, oreo cookies, packs of juicy fruit candies, instant cup noodles, package tunas and more. The watch would let me calculate the interval (time of a shorter distance, say 10 or 20 miles) during the run because I don’t want to mess with my main watch since that will track the overall 100 mile distance. Not having a spare watch is not a problem. I could still do it in my head and with paper and pen, it just a lot burdensome.

When I got back to the hotel, I separated the food that I will take along into 6 ziplock bags. The goal is to eat a bag for every 6 hours (6 bags for 36 hours). I counted up each bag to have around 850 calories. I have six of these. This is much better than my last attempt. Last time, the whole run I only carried about one bag calories of food and ended up only eating about 10% and the rest of my calories came from sugarly drinks and I felt it affected my performance. First not enough, so I was dying halfway. I remembered my heart was racing crazy from the energy drink yet I didn’t have the power to run, and I was drained. I was so scared that I didn’t want another Powerade. It was not fun when your heart was about to explode and the lung was collapsing. Breathing hurt that time. I hope to avoid that mistake.

Because I will be carrying so much food (6 meals), I am bringing my big bookbag. They won’t all fit in the smaller pack. It is a daypack from my hiking trip. It is heavy. Very heavy. I don’t like running with such a heavy pack! But I need the food, unless I have someone to carry them for me. This is why I wish I have local support crew (aid stations). Otherwise, I could leave all the food/drinks with my crew and they just have to show up at a given interval and give me the food. Last time I was hoping the stores along the way would be my aid station. However, drinks were easy to come by but not food! They had candies but no real food. Real food were out of the way and I didn’t want to take a detour.

I think the food I am bringing along will be enough. It still is less than what my body will consume though. Every 6 hours my body will be burning 2000 calories and I am giving back only at most 1000. I plan to buy muscle milk and yogurt along the way, they will add couple hundred of calories. No more sodas this time around. They have to be high caloric drinks. I know I will still shutdown after halfway, but at least I hope it will give me enough to press on.

I checked the map afterward packing. I am not too worry. I wish still I had memorized the turns. We do what we have to do.

As for start time. I’m moving it up real early to 9/9:30 AM with the aim of finishing at 7:30 pm on Sat night.

That was the main reason I couldn’t set off yesterday. I was already behind the start time once I figured I wanted a morning start instead of an afternoon/evening start.

Having an extra day, physically was a good thing. My poison ivy infection is getting better. My left leg is almost completely healed of the ivy reaction. My right leg started to get worse on my flight to Atlanta and yesterday the bumps (30+) started weeping/oozing, that is good, it means they will be healing soon. It was what I was concerned about that the blisters from the ivy will break during my run and the friction from repetitive foot moment will agitate the wounds and they would get infected. Now they broke while I am still at the hotel. I washed and cleaned them with the poison ivy specialty soap. I should be ready for the run. I believe they will dry out during the run.

Only last concern is my cardio aerobic performance. It degraded a lot compare to last time. Those who have been following my blog know I was struggling with my runs. My feeling is I can only do 13 miles at most and probably drag it out to 26. I don’t know if I will even reach 50, much less get to 100. That is a realistic assessment. I know it is bad luck to envision failure even before starting.

I do want to get to the 100. It is a long shot. Even when I was in my peak, that was very hard (in the realm of impossible) thing. Now I am four times worse. Only way to find out is go out and try. I am very nervous.

food: My main secret to get through the run
Categories
health life

Day293 Checking in

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.

Categories
life

Day 219

Buy one get one free got to me this week and spent over $70+ on grocery and it is only Tuesday.

I brought three loaves of bread! Normally one loaf would have taken me three weeks to finish. But it was cheap!

I cooked a pound of beef Sunday night. Ate most of it. It was supposed to last for a whole week. So I went and got another pound of ground beef. I made Chili last night and had them with my bread.

What caught my eyes last night was chicken breast was $1 a pound. I spent $12. I am rich with food. I cooked all of them last night and it is like a pot of meat! I will be eating chicken sandwiches till kingdom comes.

The rest was mostly fruits. I had avocadoes, oranges, banana, asparagus, strawberries and lot of lot of Jello.

Can’t believe I went through two pounds of ground beef in two days.

random: what to do for Feb 14? Who want to head into the woods?

Categories
life

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.

Categories
health

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.

Categories
life

Amnesia

Day 129

I got home relatively early last night and for the first and longest time to see clear sky and a beautiful sunset over my beautiful city. I don’t remember when was the last time I was there in that moment. The last time I saw a sunset was while camping two weeks ago. I don’t remember when was the last time I was not busy on a Monday. Maybe I have been too busy training the last six months to notice the sunset. It finally dawned on me summer is here!

I might have suffered amnesia – not the real clinical one but still some kind of memory lapse. Monday has been my rest day for the longest time. So it should have been a regular occurrence that I would be home early on Monday. I don’t recall what I did for the last 52 Mondays but yesterday I went to my favorite eatery place. I felt I haven’t walked into the place for three years. I ordered my favorite dish they have there. I don’t know the name of the restaurant or what the dish is called. But I love it. I felt I haven’t eaten like that in a long time. I was still hungry by the time I finished. They were about to close so I didn’t order a second. I had ordered a second in the past, and usually the people would be shock, what that was not enough?

The time off allowed me to wandering aimlessly. I got home early and felt asleep. I woke up with what should I do now. I am not so clear what races I should run next year. The couple races I picked earlier for next year no longer appeal to me. Currently there is only a few I want to do. Maine Coast is highly on my list. Route 66 Marathon is too. And Richmond Marathon.

I signed up for the Iron Mountain Trail Ultra just a few days ago. There is still one more race /event for this year I haven’t registered – Salvage Man Tri, MD (I am eyeing the sprint distance).

Well not sure what I am doing really. I am looking for the drive that will move me forward. Usually signing up for races will do that.

Categories
running

First run

I had my first run after the marathon, a short 3.5 miles. Everything felt great. I had everything back in place. My right hip and right knee