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.

Review 19.6

Day 200 Fall Review

My running season (7th) is finally over, with a cap of successfully completing the JFK. It has been an intense roller coaster ride. I went through the highest of high and lowest of low in my runs and in my personal life to get there.

My last report from Day150, was from early August. Instead of a report of every 30 days, I lengthened to 50 days, so I don’t have to write too many reports. A monthly or bi-monthly report has become a seasonal report. My one year of blogging just passed and I reflected on that recenly.

At the end of summer, I was ready for fall training for the JFK. I trained for about 9 weeks and then I don’t know what happen. I stopped. I still ran but I didn’t log my miles and basically went off the training schedule. Luckily I didn’t blew my JFK race. However, if I have kept to the schedule, I might have done better. I did well, but who knows how much better I could have done.

I wrote a race report on the JFK. The ultras that helped me to train up to it were OldGlory and MCM50k. I also did the Baltimore Marathon and Morgantown. I had a good time in both. I did couple earlier marathons (C&O1 and Altis) in September, however, I did not enjoyed those as much as the ultras and Baltimore. I thought it was an intense season, but now looking back, it was just about right.

When I was not running, I had several good backpacking trips. The whole season was a struggle between training and doing other things, which I also liked. Roan Mnt trip was pretty good. At Dolly Sods, our hiking group learned a good lesson. Our trips to Mt Pleasant (occurred in the summer) and to Wild Oaks were also memorable.

This season, I struggled with many things: my diet was totally off. I struggled with staying on my training. I don’t have a record how many miles I ran (tracked only up to week 9). I don’t think it was that much, around maybe 300 miles. I was lucky, indeed, and did not DNF on my races. I was also struggled with schedule conflict between racing/training/and other commitments.

There were always trade-offs and sacrifices. I had to cancel the High Bridge Ultra and plus a hiking trip to the Triple Crown — both had lasting effects that haunted me and I hate to have plan changed on me. One word on trade-offs, neither choice have the same value – say trading a race for a hike, or a hike for a race, may seem like doing the same thing, but is not. In life, I don’t think there is ever an equal/fair choice. I hurt those around me with my choices.

I dealt with couple times of low spirit in this season and sometimes I skipped my runs, especially the short runs. In fact I am still in the thick of it; yelp, season is over, but I still think about running. I skipped some of my races – big ones too, first time ever. I had to dig deep to find and regain a motivation to run and to overcome the busyness to train; too many things happened, things at my job at work and my relationship with other people. And even my weight training program was stopped. Only constant theme though was pushing on. I finished the JFK at a great cost. The season was a longer version of the race itself, except there is no finish line to cross and no crowd there to celebrate and no medal to receive. However, I am satisfied that the goal was accomplished and that is a reward.

Luckily I have been healthy throughout. I had short period of pain and shin splint and various ankle rolls and such, but over all was healthy. There was no injury serious enough to sideline me.

Looking ahead, I scheduled quite a few races for next year. It will be just as intense season like this one. God is good!

week 8

Day 176

My best friend is back from her trip and we had a little of catching up of what happened for the last two weeks. I couldn’t remember at all what happened except I said I have been running a lot. At least that what I thought until I reviewed my blog and noted that I have been under-trained the last few weeks. She kept asking what happened to me, like sonething major had happened because she said I don’t look too well, I just couldn’t think of anything. It might have been I just finished two back-to-back marathons and was really deficient in calories (hungry but couldn’t eat – lack of appetite).

I told her that running a marathon is not that big a deal any more. I guess that is major. Maybe more on this later.

One thought came to mind while I was on the trail yesterday doing my run was, the scenery changes every couple steps I took. I found that was really cool. I know it before. It is not something to be surprised about, but still as I ran, I was anticipating the next view, the next turn or bend. I was totally enjoying it.

Running a marathon or anything takes patience. I try not to think how much more it will be to the end during my run. I set much shorter goal, like trying to make it to the next aid station.

I did not run that often last week. I did one run during the week – a short 4 miles, but I did a lot of miles over the weekend.

Total miles ran for week 8: 65 miles

oh, my left foot was fine by the weekend. It did not give me any trouble during any of the races.

more filler

day 170

What with the fillers? I have nothing to write so I am posting random stuffs that come to mind. I know, if I have nothing worth to say, don’t say it. I usually do abide by it. I only blog when I run, because that is what I like to talk about. Running kind of bring out so many other thoughts too.

I originally started blogging writing a narative of my life, mostly focusing on my running and backpacking trips. How great they are! I know. It is my love and my passion. And all the world should know it too.

I feel proud of my progress or even the lack there of. Every week is a new adventure and a new race. In the grand scheme though, who care, right? Who care if I run another marathon?

Why tell the world? I don’t know. But thank you for reading. Writing is a medicine to me, just like running to get my mind off things, writing does too. I don’t have a lot of followers and I don’t aim to gather a lot. I do appreciate those who read/comment on my blog. You are like a friend, a real friend. I certainly treat you guys that way and maybe some day get to meet in real life. Deep down I guess I do want attention! You by reading make me feel good, somehow.

But life is messy. I wish my life is a narative with clear beginning, a good plot in middle, climax, and good ending. I have been blogging for about a year now (started last October or November).

There was no clear beginning. Beginning was when I started the blog. You guys though kind of came in the middle of it. I already have been running for couple years before then. I am about entering my fourth year now. Middle/plot: It was really up and down. I don’t see any progress with my running… yes, I ran more races, I ran for longer distances. I attempted bigger races whic were unimaginably tough (or even impossible) to me several years back. I wish the blog kind of show how I got from there to here. I don’t know. Sorry. The details were kind of messy. You readers bear through it. In between you get fillers like this post. Climax/Ending. I don’t know where this will end. My dream is certainly to run all fifty states and also to run in the BAA (Boston Maraton). I hope that would be the climax. I don’t know if I ever get there. As for fifty states, a rough estimate is it will take me 25 years to run all fifty states. I will be like 65 by then.

Life is messy in another way. I don’t write much about my personal life – the real life, though, they probably are seen or can be inferred. Unfortunately, I don’t write about the messy stuffs of my life… like my cat died (j/k). Yup, it is just only about running. True, I am running away from my real world problems, which you guys won’t get to see.

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I did 3.5 or 4 miles last night and was about to do more but various issues popped up (real world). Not really my concern but they were a distraction anyhow. Couple people were let go from my work place today and it kind of shock me. I was told about at the beginning of my run. How unreal. You just couldn’t keep quiet right? You would think!

This messed up my run concentration. Who knew running takes concentration. My friend called/texted me. Before I knew it, my run isn’t happening. I am happy to even get 4 miles in.

Not sure if I will be posting in the next couple days as I will be busy training…weekend’s coming!!

Running in the rain

This weekend was pretty intense too, but wasn’t like last weekend. Some people say I have a lot of energy.

I don’t remember what I did on Friday. Ah, I took a half day from work on Friday and went to Harrisonburg to watch my cousin’s graduation from James Madison University. They were forecasting heavy rain that evening and the ceremony was outdoor. They cut out or shorten many of the speeches and called the graduates name to come on stage at the beginning in case the rain comes and they would have to cancel the ceremony. The rain came as the ceremony was ending.

Students walking on stage to receive their diploma.

I got home at a decent time. Originally, I had expected not getting home until midnight. We spent a lot time on the road. The trip was special because I got to spent time with couple other cousins who were riding with me, normally wouldn’t see them.

On Saturday, I left for Frederick, MD. It was not too far from where I live but it was far enough that I decided to stay over night there. I had to go there early to pick up my bib for the Sunday race and I also signed up for a 5K on Saturday night. It was so cool that this race gave out 4 cans of free beer at the end of the 5K. I only took one…I didn’t want to get drunk or be dehydrated the night before the big race.

Sunday: Frederick Half Marathon is one of the big time races at a small town. I was surprised of the services and race support they offered. The whole town came out to support us.

Worse of all, it was raining buckets of water even before the race got underway. During the race, the rain alternated between light and heavy. I had my rain jacket on, and it helped but everything was wet.

I finished at a bit slow at 2:02. I got tired about at 10 miles. My ankle though wasn’t healed yet but did not bother me. I was afraid I might trip again during the race. I think I have recovered from my last marathon. I had enough breath in me. The course was familiar since I did a pre-run on the course couple weeks ago.

The reason I was slow might be because I didn’t (couldn’t) go to the bathroom before the race until the race started. I never had this problem before. I tried to go but nothing came and when the race about to start, I had such a strong urge to go. I thought it was race jittery. So while running, I hit the first pottojohns I saw and floodgate opened literally. Running with a full bladder probably costed me 5 mins.

I ran in my trail shoes. I brought a bunch of shoes with me, but decided to go with the trail because it might do better in the rain. It did.

I carried my phone with me but the rain was too much for me to take pictures.

Funny thing, I read beforehand that they asked us (runners) to leave for the starting line at least 30 minutes before what we think we should be there. Apparently I forgot. My hotel is only at most 10 minutes away, but boy, did it take me 45 minutes to get to the parking lot. There were a lot of road closures and detours and traffic. I was aiming to get to the course at 6, but didn’t arrive until 6:45. As the race started, I saw people were still pulling in. Boy was I nervous that I couldn’t get a parking spot and couldn’t start on time. Next time, read and follow directions (printed in the runner handbook).

As I ran, I saw a lot of fast runners were passing me from behind, I think because they got to the course late!

Also we parked on the grass lawn. It was Frederick Fairground. We (cars) totally ruined the lawn. Rain and car tires don’t go well together. There were cars that couldn’t handle the mud well. Smaller cars couldn’t get out the parking lot at the end of the race.

Fairground: we finished on the race track. It was special because I have never been on a horse track before. It was much bigger than what I thought. It must be exciting to see horses run on the track! I felt I was a thoroughbred as I ran on it!

This was taken on Saturday before the rain turned it into a mud pit.

What I packed. I didn’t end up wearing my swimming truck because I was afraid I might get chaffed in bad places. I was tempted though. Wool socks were good. No blister.

There were a lot of people, thousands I think. I didn’t take any picture of the crowd though.

Here 15 mins before the start and no runners willing to line up at the 7 min pace. They came later. I guess many were stuck in traffic or stayed in their cars until the race about to start due to rain. (I don’t run at 7 min pace though and I moved back to my pace group after I took the picture). Rain was not heavy at this point but a few minutes later, it really came down hard.

Really though thousands of people were there.

Wednesday

Mid week already. Life really starts on weekends. There were so much happened that it takes a week to unpacked.

I was going to write more about it. There were so much other thoughts I wanted to capture. Friday night was a high point because I attended a talk called Secret Church from an organization called Radical. This was my first ever. We had a long prayer/fasting marathon and I was dozing in and out. In the end everything was a blur. We prayed for East Africa — I forgot the name of the country. A recurring thought to me was I got to go there. There are probably some amazing hikes to do there. I wish there were more videos on the place, but time was short. The talk was entertaining though that was not the point.

The next day, I hiked Meneka peak. I thought nothing could top Friday night. A lot of interesting things happened. It was a first we got to hike with some of our good friends who complained we always doing too many crazy 20 miles hikes. We brought the intensity down couple notches. It was under 9 miles. The crazy thing happened was near the top, we ran into a group who told us some fire up on the peak. We went and checked out. My group leader didn’t find any smoke or fire. Few hours later, while I was doing my trail run on the mountain, I ran into a team of fire marshals/rangers and they were asking me if I saw any fire/smoke. I then checked every camp sites up on the peak making sure no fire. I touched every fire pit and they were cold. I did came a large log or a long tree trunk some crazy camper was trying to burn. The campers had left. I guess they didn’t completely put out the fire. Maybe that was what the cause of concern from a group of hikers we came across earlier and they called the fire department.

Sunday was also pretty amazing because I was running a race. It was a new race I never done before. I want to write a race report on it. It was a 10K. The race was short, but there were 2,500 people running it. It was just awesome. I wasn’t at my usual pace but toward the end, I got faster.

Today, I did some ‘hill’ run by running up the stairs at my office building. I realized I could only mantain my breathing up to five floors. I was not used to doing hill run.

The week has been good so far. I started working out at my work gym everyday and it feels good to be sored all over.

And lastly, there is a chance I will do a triathlon this year. I found a friend who indicated he will do it with me. There are too races I have my eyes on.

Day 114

Post marathon blue

Day 110
Not sure if it is actually real thing, but I’m suffering post marathon blue. I guess when you get such a runner high and a week later you feel normal life is too normal.

The cure is, of course, to go back out and run. I returned to semi formal training but don’t have a plan yet. I should draw one up tonight. I have run every other day this week. Been a bit too lazy to write about. We have really good running weather in the DC area. Got to take advantage of it before it get mucky and hot when summer comes.

Everything though been pretty quiet. I am still doing my work at work, cheer! That is expected of me, right? Some people want to know. I am getting my work done and nothing much to say about it.

I am frustrated on a number of things. I don’t want to share about it or know how to share them tactfully. The boiling point was Friday. I was going to run in the 5k after work to take some steam off, but as I rushed to the race course in Crystal City, there was no race. There was no announcement of cancelation. A bunch of other runners shoe up too. We were just walking around looking for race information. There was nothing posted online either. Well, that was that. I haven’t paid for it. But still I was uncontrollably mad. So mad. Not so much at the race organization, but at life itself of being so unlucky. Any way. Moving on. I did use the time off ‘from running’ effectively. I visited my family.

I did something I have never done before today by going a pre race run event. In two weeks, I will run in the Frederick Half Marathon. This morning, a local running group was doing a course preview run (they had it as 12 miles instead of the full course). It was really nice. I think I ran with 150 others who will be in the race. It was good to kind of see who is at your pace. People were very friendly. By the way I was almost hit by a car, and it was totally my fault. I ran out in an intersection without thinking to stop to check for traffic. Luckily I hear the car engine and jumped back. The car zoomed by and I was ok. Otherwise, I would have been out of this world. I’m OK.

I haven’t completely recovered from my last marathon. My muscles are fine, it is just the breathing. No matter how deep I breath, I don’t feel I get the air and energy. I feel my breathing is very shallow.

I hope to do my long run tomorrow.