Day307 1000k done

Even before I started out for the run I was not sure if I would finish tonight. I had only 16.5 miles left, which is a 0.5 mile less than the previous day, but it was not an easy 16 miler. The original plan was to split the run into two, a morning 5-6 miles and a 10-11 miles at night. However, I did not feel like running in the morning.

I didn’t feel like running either at night. I know I want to finish. 17 miles is not easy to do. I experienced it the night before. You have to push and pull yourself toward finishing. It is a half marathon plus a 5K. That 5K at the end is always a killer.

I was dreading the run. 6:30 came by. I still hadn’t eaten dinner. So I ate, not much in the fridge since I didn’t do my shopping. I had only rice left and yogurt. Mixed everything together. I needed the energy for tonight run. I also wanted to eat light nothing too heavy. I learned, a heavy meal makes it very difficult to run.

After dinner, still didn’t want to go out. In the afternoon, they were forecasting heavy rain. The weather got better by 7. The T-storm didn’t come. I waited a bit. The forecast changed to misty drizzle for the rest of the evening. I was still loitering around.

It was 7:30 now. If I did not go out, finishing the 1022K would not be happening tonight. I had only 4.5 hours left before midnight to run 17 miles. Yes, it was still plenty of time, but I didn’t want the run to be a life and death struggle of beating the clock by midnight. I had nothing in me for that kind of run nowaday.

So off I went. The first half mile was unpleasant. Just like yesterday, my feet lost the feel. Everything was so stiff and robotic. I hated it. You know when you can run and when it is not happening. I couldn’t give up. This was the day I would finish. Luckily the body relaxed and I got into the running feel after half a mile.

My feet were still heavy. I didn’t have the light gait that I like. I took whatever my body was offering to me. It was heavy deliberate steps all night. I felt like a bear stomping about the neighborhood.

I took almost the same route as the day before. Nothing fancy. Tonight was to finish. I was not out for sightseeing. Music came into my mind by mile two and three. I felt better. The rain got a bit heavier too. The forecast is always off. I was wet yet not soaked. That came later. I think mile 4 and 5 the rain became heavier still. I regretted of not wearing a hat. The water made it hard to see through my glasses. I had to take them off.

My speed got better. I reached the Fair Lakes Loop, I decided to do two loops early on because I might be too tired later on to do the loop on my way back. I hate running loops but got to do them tonight. I know my body. It always tries to cheat when it is tired. Sun has set. I am only at mile 8. I continued to press on. Rain had stopped. I hoped I would get back here by mile 12 ish then it would be 5 miles to get home to make 17 miles. So my goal is to get another 4-5 miles before heading back.

I did a quick math in my mind. If I reached the end of the road it would be about 2 miles. I planned to go to a 7-eleven near there, Greenbriar Shopping Center, that would be another mile. So I believed out and back to a 7-eleven might give me a 7 mile.

Tonight since I was heading to 7-eleven, I might just get food. I was hungry by now. Not extremely hungry but I could feel it. Yesterday, I tightened my belly, but not tonight. The night was young. I needed food. I got there and brought a slice of pizza. It was not very good. Dried. Left too long in the heater. But I needed the fuel. I brought also an Aloe drink. Then headed back. I was at mile 10 by now. The distance was less than anticipated.

The return trip was uneventful. I stopped checking on the distance, but my mind was alert and would let me know how far I ran without looking at the watch. My thought was to push for home. I got back to the Fair Lakes Loop and still felt strong. I was at mile 12 now. Finished the loop with an even stronger pace. Just like the previous night, my energy kicked in after mile 13. It was a short burn. Still 3 hours for a half marathon is dismal by my normal standard. I slowed down a bit by mile 14. I knew I was doing this. I got to another 7-eleven. I didn’t need to stop but I did. I brought a Coke. Ran into my roommate as I was heading out. I joked, could you drive me back? Technically, I could call it a night. I checked my watch, I just made 16.5 miles and that could mean a finish.

I was still couple miles from home. So off into the night I went. It was anticlimatic. I struggled here and there. Got to the last mile. Arrived at home. I checked my watch again if it was a little short, I would run to the firestation. Nope, it was 19.1 miles in 4 hours. It was good enough for me tonight.

There 1000K race in 48 days done. The actual distance ran was 1022 km.

GVRAT. I will try to get another 1000K over the summer. For now, I am going to enjoy the moment while it lasts.

The Biggest lesson learned since I first attempted it on May 1st and was telling myself, no way I could do it, was you don’t know what your body is capable until you try. Not only that I did it, but have done it in less than half the time that I had thought. I underestimated myself.


day284 weekly run summary

Monday-Sunday. 0 6 6 6 6 12 31

Total for the week: 67

GVRAT: 229

I am so near to 270 miles. Hopefully by the end of this week, I should get pass it because it means there are only 1000 miles left on the challenge. By Saturday there are 100 days left on the challenge.

Runing about 10 mi/ day will get me there. The current projectory is about Sept 3, 2020, when I will finish.

I’m debating with myself if I should run today. I felt sleepy mostly but my body seems fine now.

I ran a 50k. I was still fresh and wanting to go for a 60K but dinner got in the way. It was still early too, only 8 pm at the time. I felt I could squeeze the last 10k with 2 hrs left in the day. I didn’t. Instead I did food shopping and cleaned up and ate. A reason I don’t usually have the long run day on a Sunday, I feel I won’t get enough rest afterward.

watch stat. 70 miles of weekly total. I rounded down on my set

day283 run

I was trying to run a bit farther yesterday, but my body gave out after 6 miles. I have been conditioning to do 6 miles every day and yesterday it bonkered on me after 6 miles. I dragged it out to 12.

watch stat: 12.5 in 2:37 hrs

It was hot even at 6 pm! Last weekend I was freezing and this Saturday I was near melt down. It could have been worse.


Day276 the other side

total 7. GVRAT total 83

I thought it would be a quick one. I had on road shoes today instead of trail. For six days I wore trail shoes (my usual get to), but I have been running on road (sidewalks). So today, I said why not switch it up, let wear the road shoes since I am going to be on the road any way.

Lo and behold, my impulsive self decided to head off to a different direction and I ran in the park instead. It is mostly paved but there were sections where there was the creek crossing and mud and of course trail. I haven’t been back to this neighborhood park for couple years. It was actually big enough to get lost in. I laughed at my own irony of wearing a pair of road shoes and running on the trail. Afterward it was just a muddy mess. Ruined them.

I had fun and ran relatively fast. I felt fast though my clock said otherwise. I think running is a mental thing. I no longer care what my watch says any more. Every year it says I am getting slower, but my brain is saying I am running fast. It is an area I rather not let science / data telling me what to do 😉 Let not follow the data here.

The park is beautiful. I didn’t know Centeville has something like this. I always we are a bunch of herd they tried to cramp as many people in a tiny area. Yet there this big parks with many acres of land with nothing but fields, streams and trails. They do have big mc mansions around. Ha, I didn’t know Centreville has those either. The park is like their backyard. Probably is paid by the county too. What a deal. It is the other side of Centreville!

Body wise: It is getting better. It heals up rather quickly. I am not that young any more, and I am glad to see it snaps back. Now I have to do this over again for the next 14-15 weeks until I reach 1270 miles (Note I found out the actual distance is 20 miles longer than I thought).


day275 normal run

Day 6 into GVRAT. Put in 10k this morning. GVRAT is about 76 ish. I lost track. There is a site to log all this. I am aiming for 1250 miles, so it is still couple weeks away to reach 10%. I passed the 5% mark!

I tried not to look at the ranking or streak. This is an individual race and challenge. I am dropping on the ranking now because other ultra people are putting in 15-20+ miles everyday. That was my earlier goal, but it is hard to do.

I’m no longer at 75th or even 125th. I might drop down to 500 or lower. I knew that. I hope to be part of the 10% group. With 17000 people signed up so I am looking 1700-2000th place, which is good enough for me.

I am barely maintaining my miles. Supposingly to average about 10 miles a day to make it to the finish line on time. So far day six with 70+ miles in is good. I hope to build in a buffer in case I need to take a day off or so. I hope to have a day off every couple weeks.

My body starts feeling it. This morning though, I didn’t need a booster to get me out the door. I woke up and ran out the house.

However, afterward, was more a walk. I did run some. I tried to run more on the uphills.

The body is trying to recover from the weekend run. I hope it will be soon, so I could put on another high mileage weekend. We’ll see.

It is a four month affair, so pacing is important to get myself to the finish line.

I plan to go on location for the last 100 ish miles either in July, on 4th weekend, or in August, Labor Day. Will write more about when the time comes.

Mile 4 of my 6 mile run. My lovely neighborhood. Nothing much to see, but it is breath taking to look at after a run up the hill and you can see the valley kinda of all the shops in Centreville. Cloudy today with a bit of early morning mist

day274 run and rocket

run 6 mi; GVRAT: lost count ~70 I think

Today run was in no way easy. I remembered the encouragement from the race director who wrote something about getting the first step in and it gets easier once you started.

I didn’t want to leave my bed this morning. I am no longer a morning person. I like to stay in bed as long as I can. And can sleep until noon everyday if allowed to. However, real life won’t let you stay in bed.

So, I got up and ran, admittedly it wad not really, something I have to do, but I needed to get it done so I can do everything else. Off I went. It was 10 degs cooler, probably like 5 for the rest of the world using Celsius.

I walked the first mile. My bones and all my body felt worn. I skipped dinner last night and instead had two bowls of icecream. They didn’t give me the carb I needed. It was not until mile 3 I felt my blood flowing and my legs freed up.

There’s always consequences. They say runners can eat anything. It is not true. Not having the energy when you need it is not fun.

I was thinking about rockets and stuff, maybe influenced by a blog I read in the early wee hours. I like rockets. I like the tremendous power it needs to get a lift off. In highschool Physics class, we calculated the benefit of having the boosters separated at different stages, and each time it does so, the rocket gains speed.

So I felt like at mile three, my booster finally came off. I was flying uphills and downhills. It was not my fastest run but I like the feeling of flying.

I like running in that during that brief moment everything in life became clear. They became less important, the only thing matters is the steps in front of me and even that came effortlessly.

watch data. 6 miles on the dot. time 11:40

day273 weekly run summary

I figure if I post about my GVRAT run every day, my readers will have blog fatigue, so I will go back to my old format of posting an update once a week, like I did for my training run.

So this week so far, (Friday to Sunday) total 58 miles.

So I will go back to posting maybe a weekly update. I stopped training for my June race, which was canceled or postponed until Fall. I don’t know if I will run it then.

I did run maybe once or twice last week but I didn’t log them, until Friday when I signed up to run across Tennessee virtually (#GVRAT).

Friday: 6 mi

Saturday: 43.7 (recorded 42)

Sunday: 10 mi. mostly walk. It took me couple hours to finish.

Live tracking of where I am with the GVRAT. I am somewhere between Oakland and and Somerville. As you can see there are a thousand runners on my tail.


day272 recovery run

Run#3 distance 10 mi, GVRAT 58 mi.

I got lazy of measuring the distances on Google Map. I don’t know how to do it from the phone. There is some problem with the live tracking website, so I am running blind now until they fix it.

Today run was kind of hard as expected. I walked most of the way.

On ranking, 13000 people started. My ranking goes from 150 to 75 ish bouncing up and down. I have some fierce competitors. Usually in a big race like this I do fairly well. I think I will be at the top 10% or higher.

Narative (fiction). The first day was off to quiet start. There was no rush to get to the finish. Maybe a thousand some odd people lined up to start at 1 minute after midnight, the race official start time. It was a massive wave start. Basically people start as they arrived. I needed my beauty sleep, so I was not there when the first wave went off. Actually I didn’t sign up until the day of 12 hours after the race official start. At that point, many already had left. The check in was easy. I threw on my running clothes and shoes and off I went.

I didn’t really plan to be on the road for the next four months. It was really a flash in pan operation. I had no food on me or drink for the matter. I figured I would go until I drop. Winging it. So I started running. Along the way, I saw people just stopped and hang around. This was one of most casual race I am taken part in. I guess they were done for the day. As I ran I saw more and more people. I caught up with the crowd around mile 5 ish and I plodded on for a few more miles. Most have started to camp here or there for the day. I decided to go on further. There were about nearly 6 or 7 thousand of us, so finding a place to camp could be a challenge. Luckily there were enough land on either side of the road. The neighbors were friendly and welcomed us to camp on their front yard as long as we clean up after ourselves. Not a problem. I have gone camping enough times to know the Leave no Trace principle. (Edit to add: Ah, most took a ride back to Memphis for the night, and I didn’t know and roughed it out)

This is pretty big deal to have a first ever a race across the state. We have people from around the country and the world joining in on this event. Hey, with the summer Olympic canceled, this is the next best thing. Best of all this race is open to both the elites and the every day joe like me.

Everyone just chose an area and chilled. I don’t remember seeing any trees around. So people just scattered about. The mighty Mississippi is nearby. I imagine some went fishing. Some were barbequeing. Man, I left my camp stove at home.

I explored a bit and went to the post office about half a mile away and dropped off a postcard home.

The first day though, I survived on bananas from the race aid station and candies from the crowd. We were still in a remote part and there is no store around. I didn’t know at that time that the city is about 20 miles away. If I ran for another 5-10 miles or so, I would have reached ‘civilization’.

Oh well. The next day was a slow start. I was not a morning person. Might be because I went to bed too late the night before. I wanted to plot out a course to take.

I had a long day and was out until sunset, for a total 11 hours. I really put in the distance. With still 600-ish mile to go, I had to pace myself better. I immediately felt asleep.

The third day now. I started to feel hey this won’t be over soon. I did not want to go today but realized I can’t stay here. The race just started. I remember back when I was in Patagonia, each morning, we got up, we packed, and on our way. So this is the same. Just keep on treading and repeat. I put in just a nice 10 miles. I started to see some regular faces around me. Hopefully, we will all arrive at the finish line together.

The next portion of the run will take me away from the city. I don’t know if the battery on my phone will last. So there might not an update until I get to the next town.


day271 long run

#GVRAT run 2. today total 42. Overall total 48.

I am a bit tired so might not be thinking straight but there are 100 ish more entries so if I don’t put it up, it will passed by and be forgotten.

The longest I ever ran was back in November for the JFK 50 miler. Today was close. I wish I got out couple hours earlier and I would have done a 50 miler. I was just 8 miles shy. Any way, it would have been too much pressure to run a certain number of miles. I prefer free lance see as we go. If it is too hard cut back, if it is too easy, extend a bit.

I did not started out wanting to run 42 miles. I didn’t know how many miles I would be running, in my mind, I was hoping to do at least 26 miles and maybe at most would be up to 30 miles.

I did have in mind to revisit Reston, where I was almost there the last time but was just a few miles short. So today I wanted to get there. I also noted that the Fairfax County Parkway Trail connects to another famous trail, W&OD at Reston. I wanted to explore it a bit.

So that what I did and it ended up being 42 miles. I came prepare this time with a flash light, so I could find the path after sunset.

I got to Reston Town Center

A closer view of the fountain. Reston is the running mecca of Northern Virginia. Many of my races are held here.

W&OD is a rail to trail. Vienna was one of the train stops. Mural. See viva Vienna. I got to Vienna around 6 pm.
8 pm now. Trying to get home as quickly as possible. I already put in 30 miles by now. Here is the apt I grew up in (and recently had a dream about it). The neighborhood has developed all around.
Just a shopping center, but it meant a lot to me. I am now halfway of the final 12 miles, about 6 more miles to go. I have a habit of counting down when I am exhausted. Say if there are only 6 miles left, I will want to cut it down by half, so I would aim for running 3 miles. The time was I think after 9:30. Also this place is near my mom’s house, she said she would be waiting for me. And I was looking forward to it. The shopping center was a milestone.

My strength didn’t falter much. I ate earlier around 6:30 pm at a Thai place called Tom Yum Thai in Vienna. It was carry out only. I couldn’t really eat my granola any more. I ordered a Tom Yum soup. I was dyhadrated, and did not pee for an entire day! I couldn’t take dry food by then. Soup was really good. I ordered a house salad. It was a good choice even though it didn’t have much calories. The lettuce was what my body need (water/liquid). I sat on the side of the road and ate. It took a while for my body to adjust (cool down) because initially, I had no appetite. I told myself, take as much time I need. I know food is important, so I needed to rest and let my body do its work.

The reason for this is our digestive system shut down during a long run or intensive excercise, to divert the blood to power the leg muscle, heart and lung. So most people couldn’t eat and even if they did, it would come back out. It is a skill to get the body to do what is not natural. Mostly happen to those who run say 100 miles, but I started to feel it around 26 miles.

So by 9 pm the food finally settled and I could feel the energy flowing in. It sustained me to the very end.

By 11 pm I finished the final six miles. It was easy to run in the neighborhood where I am familiar with. I saw many things I want to comment on, like I came across several groups gathering of 6-7 or more people outside, having a good time. The weather was nice, but social gathering such as these are discouraged to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. I have so much to say about this of people not abiding social distancing. It will go in another post.

I don’t have time to really present how my run would have looked according to the route in Tennessee. I did a partial drive by using the Google Streetview in the morning before the run, and was going to use for this write up. I know I am still somewhere in Memphis.

My watch data. Recorded 43.8 miles and almost 11 hours. I only counted 42 miles toward the GVRAT instead of 43 miles because I have used about a mile going off the course for say buying food or shopping or sightseeing.

I ran out of time here and didn’t write about my nutrition plan. I mostly drank sodas, sport drinks, and water. Apparently I didn’t drink enough. I didn’t eat enough either.

Also I learned an important about outfits . My shorts were giving me rub burn. Don’t wear swim trunk on a long run. Also some of my groin area got bad rub burn. I didn’t apply oil or lube up before the run. A lesson I should learn if I am considering doing even a longer run.

I am outside of the city of Memphis, but still in its suburb, I think

meta: various edits. added a link to my progress page.


day270 here I go – rat race

run1 – 6 miles this run. Total traveled for GVRAT so far 6 miles.

I found myself something to rally around for next few months. When my Facebook notification popped up from one of my former race directors – with something like this: would you like to run across Tennessee?

At first I was skeptical. Ya you go run yourself across TN. I am interested but I’m not there yet in my ability.

Then I saw the word “virtually”. I’m sold. As long as I could sleep in my own bed.

Take my money. Please. I insist. Take a few dollars more for some good cause.

I paid my entrance fee and off I went during my lunch hour. I am running off to TN for the next three months (virtually) in small cap. Whoo hoo.

As I ran, I started to calculate the feasibility. Sure, in 100 days, if I do 6 miles a day, will get me 600 miles. 1000k is 621.4 miles. I need about 4 more days. Gaah, I should do about 10k for the next 100 days. It is definitely doable. I can add in 13-14 days of rest (give me 114 days). It will take 3 months and 24 days.

Here is where my first run ended.

6 miles, finished at the fire station
Our humble sign: Welcome to Centreville. I have been looking for this sign for ages. They should put “population: 71,135” underneath (2010 figure)

My progress is being tracked somewhere on here. You can still sign up for the race [1]. They say they will give a map of my progress by tomorrow. I am doing my own map with some wizardry from Google and images from there to give a sense where I am in Tennessee! Actually after consulting the map, I am in Arkansas. Pretty awesome.

Virtual run summary. I started at about 4 pm GMT, local time was probably 11. Many probably were there in the early wee hours, maybe 5:00 or 6:00 AM GMT and were already on their way. I didn’t see anyone myself, but knowing the field now have over 12000 entrants, I will bound to run into some. People can still join until August 1. My plan is to start putting in some heavy miles to give enough buffer and maybe if I still feel up to it I will run back to the start in a month or so. Hopefully I will get to the front of the pack soon.

Today though, I am just easing into it and chose to stop after a brief jog. I did about 6 miles starting from the Mississippi River and running along the levee. And ended somewhere near a post office.


so here is what I am supposed to run with the help of satellite image from Google map.
Day 1. Ending point. Landmark. image of what is there. US post office. About half mile from today stopping point.

I wish I can find some images of the mississippi River of the starting point.

This is a lot of work to pull images off the web, not sure if I can keep up like this every day. But I really wish to see more of Tennessee virtually through the run. Can’t wait until I get to Memphis or any bigger city!

There were a lot farm land.

If I am doing it for real, I would have to find a place to sleep for the night. I wouldn’t have stopped in the middle of the road and call it a day. Today though, being near a PO is good enough.