The boring stuff / trip Laurel#1

Day 226

I left several things hanging in previous posts, because I ran out of time. Usually I write my posts either going to work or traveling home. I try to squeeze everything in before I ‘pass out’. I have motion sickness, so if I stare at something too long while in motion I get dizzy. It is always a race against the clock.

This coming weekend, I plan to head out to PA (Pennsylvania, did I spell it right?) to do the first of four segments of the Laurel Highlands Trail. I will run a 70.5 mile race there in early June. I plan to go out at least once a month in order to cover the whole trail. The last trip there will be a night run.

This first trip will be from mile 0 to mile 18. I will stay a night at mile 18, then run to mile 6 and spend a night there. If have time and ability go to mile 0. Then on Sunday I will go back to mile 18 for another night. Monday being a holiday, I could do some more hiking/running.

Depend on the ground condition, I plan to go to mile 23 too. My car will be parked at mile 18 the whole time.

I have been checking the trail condition. There is high chance there will be snow somewhere on the trail and possibly on the whole trail. Forecast for the weekend will be cold. I checked the one few webcams there and it was showing 6 inches of snow since last week. I am expecting temperature on Friday to be 17 or lower. Up on the ridge, I can expect possibly in single digit. I have a warm sleeping bag, 10/15F I think. Got to check. I might bring a second one to double up.

I am excited. I still don’t know how I can run much with a full pack on my back. I haven’t work that part out. I am balancing between safety and weight. The less I carry the faster/more I can run but I would be endanger of freezing myself at night. Best solution would have a ‘mule’ (that what they are called in the running world of your support crew who carry things for you – having a mule in a race is illegal though) who carry all my gear to the camp and I would focus on the running aspect. Unfortunately no mule for me on this trip. Who know? Maybe a miracle or an angel will show up. My hike leader won’t be coming on this trip.

It is the first or one of the few trips I am planning on my own. It was always good to have my hike leader do all the planning in the past. All I did was show up. This trip has this added component of planning. Not that I hate it, but I like to just wing it.

I could also carry my pack to camp first, drop the pack and then do the running. But how much time do I have left for the run? I don’t know but will see.

Another option would be carry my pack there on the first night. Camp and drop pack at camp, then run back to the car (12-18 miles). Take my car and drive back to the first camp and pick up my pack and drive to the second camp. All my camp spots were already booked. Otherwise…I just camp two nights at one place. This idea seems doable. I did not think of it when I booked the campsites.

Well a 12 mile hike wouldn’t take whole day even with snow on the ground. Probably 5-6 hours for me, which means I still have time for some running before night fall. (9-3 pm, 2.5 hours before dark).

I am excited. It would be my first camping/backpacking trip with a run component.

What I will actually do will depend on the situation once I arrive.

vision & mission

Day 224

Goal: Key ideas usually come to me while I am running. I have been trying to have some kind of goals for this year. At first I was not so into the new year resolutions this year, which I usually made one in the past for all my adult life. It was probably all the ‘destressed’ /breaking in period from coming back from Chile. I was going through a time of mini depression but now better after finishing another marathon (Carlsbad). So I am back in the swing of things.

My last few weeks of training have been going great! I put up double digit back to back. It was even better than last fall when I was struggling with all the training and non-training activities, plus the stress from work. That was a mouthful.

Life was looking great! But I am not satisfied where I am. It seems too haphazard. It seems things are too random. Suddenly everything in life flows together where few months ago it was rough and tumbling.

I want control! So looking at my life, what do I really want to do this year? There is not anything ‘exciting’ I want to do. I am pretty much happy of where I am at.

This is not a resolution but pretty much a plan. I will get to the resolution later.

1. Running more ultras. I enjoys running so much and I think I am actually overboard obsess with it. Excessive is what can described about me. I don’t know why I was so down back in January. But running is what I like. This year I have signed up so many races! Incredible races and not sure how I will be able to do them all! see races.

2. I want to run fast! This should be a year I was trying to get a sub 3 marathon. However, this dream will be deferred for a few more years. I hope I can get a sub 4 marathon time or somewhere close. This will be very challenging. As of now, I am not confident if I could run a 4:30 marathon time.

3. Do something exciting! (Travel). Planning year for next year. I know I don’t have much money to travel any more for this year. But I should plan for the following year. Some exciting things are to travel to Everest! The group I usually travel with is going there this fall. A fall back option is, I would take Mt Kilimanjaro. I also want to run Rim-Rim-Rim of the the Grand Canyon. Basically you run across the Canyon to the other side and then back again. People plan this a year in advance!

4. A Hard Camping/BP trip. This is already happening but I am still quite nervous about camping by myself. A trip or few trips I want to do is Black Forest Trail in PA, Hut-to-Hut at Presidential Traverse, NH, and Andirondack the Great Range Traverse, NY. These hikes made my great leader/grown-man/women cried. I want to experience the same.

5. Be more open to people. Singleness. I am single and in many ways great because I am enjoying the single man life of running/hiking/traveling. Yet being single is not for me. It is definite a resolution item to get myself out there and meet more women who want to share a life together. My goal is to share myself more. Ah, how hard this is for me. Don’t laugh.

6. What would be good to have! Pacer. Running is mostly a solitary thing for me. As I tackling longer distances, I wish I have a training buddy, a coach, a crew and some pacers. I am actively seeking and recruiting pacers for my first 100 miler. I already put down the race I want to do. C&O ultra. I probably can do this without a crew or pacer, but it would be really nice to have one or two!

Back to topic. Yes these were what I am currently doing any way. They are in no way what I call a resolution. A resolution is something I must do differently.

As I was running on Thursday night, I realized I need an aim or focus. One thing that can give me an aim is to have a mission statement: what do you want to accomplish? vision statement: How do you see yourself when you reach your goal.

I really don’t have one written out yet. I have been running on auto pilot. Mostly to run and to run a lot and to run fast etc.

To enjoy life. To do something I don’t think I can do. I have been breaking a lot of mental barriers and did a lot what I couldn’t do five years ago!

keep going

Day 223

This post might be more a pile of things throw in together.

After my group run last night, I was able to catch up with a group of running friends I have not seen for a while. We were excited sharing what have been happening and what our ‘running’ plan for this year. Can’t believe we are already in February!

I have so many things on my plate! This month I will try to go out on the trail every weekend. I have been looking at the possibility of heading to Laurel Highlands (PA), next next weekend (President’s Day). I believe with three days I can complete the 70 mile hike/run trail. This will be the trail for my race in June. So I want to have a heads up. I hiked (backpacked) the final part of trail last May. As I was looking into camping sites, I found out the place (some part of it) are snow covered. There are plenty of ski hills around the place. Oh great! That really dampens my plan. So now I might head up to PA maybe later in the spring. I might have to divide into four separate trips doing a 20 mile segment each time instead of the whole thing in one shot.

That’s that. Apparently the campsites on Laurel Highland trail are opened in the winter! I might still head up there and do a snow camping/backpacking during the President’s Day weekend.

My group of guys texted me last night about going to a singles event. Funny thing is we ran 5ks together and we did a half marathon together. This time we jokingly said, it would be one of the most challenging event we guys are doing together. I have never attended this kind of singles event and will look forward to it.

I am looking for pacers for a possible 100 mile race in 2021. One guy gave me his OK. I am looking for a couple more. One should be enough, but it is good to have a back up. I think I need someone to hold my hand between mile 70-90.

Yes, my head is putting together a plan to tackle a 100 mile race. I am looking into signing up a 24 hour endurance race in the fall. More to come.

more house keeping – about running

Day 220

I don’t have a clear direction for this post. I have been thinking of a new year resolution (2019). A few weeks earlier I had no interest in making one for this year, but couple things happened. Last night, our church had a review on the last 21 days fasting. People were sharing how their life have changed during these 21 days.

I did not participate in the fasting this year. I have been joking around that in 2019 I fasted because I wanted to but this year I did not want to and were forced to because I was out of money.

I remembered on Jan 2, I did not even have the money to pay my rent and I had only $300 in my bank! Technically I could buy lot of food with that money but there was fear what if I don’t have enough, because $300 is just about enough money to pay for my gas and metro fare. Money came in on Jan 3 though, I received a bonus at work and it was enough to cover my rent. any way, I will end the month in black with a bank balance at least 4-5 times what I started. I already paid my rent for the next month and there are plenty of food in the fridge!

One think that touched my heart was while away on my trip in California, a friend called me and said she considered me to be one of best friends. She told me something like that back in August but I did not take to heart and her call was a wake up call. I mentioned this because looking back at my 2019 resolution, I wrote about making one friend. Now looking back, I found more than a friend. I have some issues to work out, since for couple months she was angry at me for some thing I did (see Day 200). Any way, I prompted me to take a more serious look at my new year resolution.

I never really thought friends can have an impact on my running. One of the reasons I have not been running much was due to lack of motivation and that stemmed from a personal conflict with the friend. Now everything kind of resolve and I am hitting the pavement once again.

For the last couple of days, I have been making my training schedule. It is not done yet but I scheduled couple big runs for next month. I will write more about them as time approaches. I also set up an expense / to-do worksheet. I have about a dozen of races for the year and it got hard in tracking the cost as well as whether a hotel or flight is booked. So now I have a spreadsheet that tells me all that.

Something

Day 213

Finally I did a couple short runs last week. That was monumental. All thanks to my running group. I finally got myself out of the door. It was good to be back on a regular schedule. I was glad to see familiar faces and some new faces in my running group.

up and coming – A Race! But you know, I feel like I am under prepared for an exam. All the plan I had about hitting the road running after my trip from Chile were up in flame. It was more like smothered out by the holiday season. Why I feel that way is because I have a marathon to run this weekend and basically I put in a total of 10 miles on the pavement in the last five weeks. I have never feel so under prepared for a race!

To San Diego. The first race this year will be in San Diego, for Tri City Carlsbad Marathon. I will fly out tomorrow afternoon and come back on Monday. We have a holiday. Yes another Holiday! Looking forward to bagging the state of California.

to Bolder Boulder, CO. Our running club is going to Colorado for the Memorial Weekend in May going I think a 10K. It is called bolder Boulder (city name). I just like the roll of tongue.

We got a massive Air b&b house that can sleep 30. Our group leader had that off and I gave my initial payment for it. I still have to sign up for the race and book a flight. I hope a lot of people will join, so my share for the house will go down. Currently we are each expected to foot about $200 for a three night stay.

Talking about numbers! I have been doing lot of that last week. I finally did a total of my trip to Chile and it was under $2,100. Probably the cheapest trip so far. I had to do it because I was out of money. As well as there were some fraudulent charges on my account so I had to get that sort out. My bank was very helpful. I got the last bit straighten out today. It was complicated, somehow. The representative said it might still take up to 90 days and I should continue to monitor my account. ah! I might forget about it three months from now.

I had to pull out all hat tricks for my up and coming races. I have been looking at flights for my trip to Colorado in May and another Marathon in Maine. I was contemplating which day to fly. Apparently flying out on Saturday or Sunday is cheaper than flying out on Friday. I almost decided to fly on Sunday arriving early Monday morning, run the race on Monday and then fly out immediately Monday afternoon. This way I save on the Hotel!

As for my trip to Maine, I have looking at the option to drive 10-11 hours there but the car rental, gas and toll came out to be just about break even with flying. I don’t want to use my own car.

About my car. It had been a busy week stressing out on my own personal problems. Car. In my state, probably any where else too, we have to take our car to the mechanic for a safety inspection once a year. Mine car is due for one at the end of this month. So, last weekend I took my car in for the inspection. Normally this only should take half an hour, but for me it took over three days and I still haven’t had it passed.

What’s wrong with it? Nothing and everything. I realized the tires were under inflated and I did not have coins for the air pump at the service station to fill them up. So I searched all over my hous for coins.

The first station I arrived the pump did not work. I drove to a second station. There were two cars in front of me. One of them was having the car cleaned. So I queued up waiting. Then the lady in the second car knocked on my car window, I rolled down mine and chatted. She said her car has a flat and she wouldn’t move her car. By that time I probably waited half an hour already. I ugnored her and said OK. Aftr waiting a bit more, I looked out my window and guess what! her front tire on the passenger side was indeed flat! OK she is really telling the truth, she couldn’t move her car. I had to go to another service station and got my tires pumped. As you can see, it is just string of bad luck! I spent my Saturday driving around my town looking for a gas station with a working pump! On top of that apparently there was something going on that we had gridlock traffic in my small town on a Saturday.

Unbelievable Life! That was only scratching the surface of the frustration I had. I replaced my windshield wiper. I won’t go into that. I then went for inspection and failed because some lights were burnt. I replaced those and it was a long story too juat like the tire incident. Today I finally had all the lights replace. I will take my car in for another round of inspection once I am back from San Diego.

Race schedule

Day 193

As there is only one more race left this year, I started thinking ahead of what races I will do next year. There are couple that were deferred from this year to the next. There are many new ones I want to do. Richmond Marathon is one that is calling my heart at this moment.

My goal for next year is pretty much the same. Now that I have stepped into the ultra world, I want to do more of them. I also still want to run marathons in all fifty states. I will go to California and Maine next year, and possibly Oklahoma.

Not trying to bore you guys, but here is the full list so far.

(Jan 19, 2020) (reg’d)  Carlsbad Marathon, CA. It will be near the venue of my cousin’s wedding. Two birds with one stone. I will be attending the wedding the night before. It is near San Diego. The course is like running an out-and-back four times on the road/sidewalk next to the beach. Not the most exciting thing, but it will get me California.

(Mar 7(considering) Seneca Creek Greenway Trail 50k, Germantown, MD. I volunteered there this year and it seems to be an amazing race to do. I definitely keeping my eyes on the registration date.

(Mar 28) (reg’dDC Rock n Roll, Wash, DC. $70. This was my first race and I have been coming back again and again. It is near where I live (30 mins), so not much planning is required. Simplify the supports.

(April 18) (reg’dRoanoke Double Marathon (52 miles). ($130 value as full price). I ran this race earlier in the year. They offered me a free entry for next year! I couldn’t resist and signed to do as a Doubler. The doubler will start a little past midnight (depending if the expected finish time is 5 hours or 6. The goal is to arrive when the Full marathon starts and do it again with everyone. I am excited! First time to run a double marathon. A real double marathon. What this mean is once I finish, I head back out and do again on the same day (no break)! crazy right? I think the first one is untimed and without support and self-navigate.

(May 3) (reg’d, transferred entry) ACE Physical Marathon / C&O Canal. Fletcher’s Cove, DC /8AM. I have done it couple times. It was my training race in the past. I used the course to prepare me for a real marathon. It is a real marathon but it has very little fanfare. I treated it as more a weekend long run. Low key and low stress run.

(May 8) (reg’d. May 7-9) Maine Coast Marathon; hotel booked, but have not yet reserved for flight and car rental. Another destination race and looking forward to it. I read it is scenic. I have not been to Maine but my friend described it as one of the places I should go. I have a few of those races in the pipe.

(May 25): (not reg but gave my wordBolder BOULDER CO 10K, group trip. Memorial Day! I will red eyed flight back the next day for work. It will be the first group trip with my running group/friends. Also I am very excited about this trip. We will all stay in an AirBnB but so far I think we hit a snafu. Boulder’s, CO, law won’t allow a group of unrelated people staying together.

(Jun 13) (consideringLaurel Highlands 70 miles Ultra, need to reg before Thanksgiving. depends if able to secure a spot through mail-in appl. This is probably the biggest race for 2020 if I could secure an entry. I have been following it on Facebook and the chance of getting one seems high if act fast when the race is open! I backpacked half way through the trail back in May on Memorial weekend and had such good time.

(Jun 20(considering) Highlands Sky 40. Lanesville (dolly sods, WV). Fall back option. A running friend recommended me (He won first place many years back). Dolly Sods has been on my heart for backpacking trip and finally I went there late summer. To run there is just mind blowing.

(Jun) (probably won’tEastern Divide Ultra. Pembroke, VA, conflicts with Laurel Highland and Highlands sky. But Another fallback option if I don’t get into either of them. I have done it this year. It is a good race to do again and is a good fallback option. Also someone I raced with commented that was the easiest 50k she did. I wanted to go back to challenge my time. 7 hours seems unacceptable to me.

(Jun) (probably won’t) SF Dipsea race. America oldest trail race. believe reg open in Dec. Too far to get to. I am having it on the planner but probably won’t do it because I have too many good races already. This one is expensive. I will only do it with a friend. Also the distance is kind of short. I think it is like a 10k or something.

(Sep 5) (not regIron Mnt Ultra – IMTR, labor day weekend. highly likely. I missed it this year due to sickness and TN Roan Mnt trip. I will want to do it next year. I have not chosen a distance. They have 30, 40, or 50 miles. 40-50 miles is what I am eyeing. I read it is rough terrain.

(Oct) Grindstone 100. Likely not going to do it yet but this has certain appeal to me because the race will take place on one of my favorite hiking trails (The Wild Old Trail). But 100M is a lot to ask for and my confidence is low whether I will finish.

(Oct) (Reg’d, Transferred from last year) High Bridge 50K. I missed this race due to the Triple Crown Backpacking trip. I hate missing a race. Luckily the RD allowed me to move it to next year. So, I hope to finally get to do it.

(Nov) (Considering) Richmond Marathon. I am hyped about this. Couple of my friends did it last year. Many good things.

(Nov) (ConsideringStone Mill 50M. Local race. I hear good things about this race. It is hosted by the same people who are doing the seneca creek greenway trail 50k during spring.

(Nov) (Considering) Old Glory Ultra. 50k Did it this year. Possibly going to do it again because it is fun. I know, too much on my plate for November. It is a fallback option since it is likely will conflict with the StoneMill 50.

(Nov) (considering) Route 66 (Tulsa City) Marathon – Oklahoma (fall), My goal race for 2020!!! Was my goal race, but I already travel to three places and it would be a hard to make another trip. I have too many good races on hand, so likely will defer for another year.

(Dec) (Considering) Devil Dog 100, Triangle, VA. Got to finish the year with a bang! I might suck it up and run a 100M or drop down to 100k. A baby step. The terrain isn’t any where near brutal as Grindstone. There will be hills but none of them are over 2000 ft. We are talking at most 100-200 ft climb per hill.

week7

day 173

I lost track of whether last week was week 7 or 6. It was probably week7. There are about 7 weeks till my 50 miler. I have not trained much last couple of weeks. Running a marathon takes more than a day to recover. I would say maybe even a week.

During the summer, I thought running a marathon a month doesn’t give me enough time to recover. Now I am entering a season of a marathon a week.

I lost count on my miles ran too. I used to religiously keep track of them but now, it is kind of eyeballing and hand-waving.

I don’t remember if I was hurt or not last week. Good thing I was ready when the marathon started.

I have been resting the last couple of days. Funny thing was at the start of the marathon last Sunday, my right heel was giving me problem. After several miles, it warmed up and the discomfort went away. Now my left forefoot feels a bit unwell. It is not pain but it feels hot as if it was overly used. I have been resting.

Because of my foot, I am a bit reluctant to sign up for two marathons this weekend. I signed up a local race on Saturday and they are doing another one on Sunday. It would be an ideal time to run a back to back marathon. Yet my foot does not feel that great. I am still considering about Sunday. They say go slower on the Saturday one and I will be fine on Sunday.

Will see. I will write something, if I do a marathon back to back.

Total miles last week was about 30. Might have been 35 but couple miles do not make a different.