Review 20.7.250* (Quarterly)

Day 250 / Spring

It is finally day 250. Thought it couldn’t come soon enough.

I do a report or review for myself and those who only come read my stuff ever now and then. If you only want to catch up on what I have been doing in the last 3 or 4 months, this should be the entry to read. This page will be bookmarked on the bookmark page.

If you want to see what going on 5-6 months ago, you can read my previous entry (19.6).

I am debating between two different approaches, whether to do a strict review of what occurred between now day 200 and now, or do a snapshot of what life is currently like for me of this very moment. I am leaning toward the snapshot and like to digress into free-write. Here we go.

The reason for doing any of this is to allow me to take a step back and see a bigger picture what my life is like. Sometimes we are focused on the much day to day, that we miss a bigger narative – or the interesting thing that is happening in our life. I hope and want my life to be meaningful. I hope by doing this I am a bit closer to reaching my ideal. I believe life has meaning and we are building on it day by day.

As I was running tonight (last night now), the covid virus was heavily on my heart, since one of the pastors I know is infected (a good friend too). This stuff is serious. There is a chance the person might day. How that affect me? I might die from the pandemic too. We don’t want to think about that but it is a reality. Am I ready? Am I satisfied with the direction of my life?

It is easy to say, I am not worry. I have been living out in full. But am I really?

I can die happy because…of Chile.

My high point this quarter was trip Chile with my best friend and did the things I only dreamed of twenty years ago (yes, that long). The trip though truly was horrible. I could have gone with a better companion, but it had to be her. She was mad at me the whole time – she had been mad at me for three months beforehand and it all culminated on this trip, where things boiled over – the tipping point as you would call it. Why couldn’t we resolve our differences? Life is strange. People are strange. That was the back current to what was the most unique experience I had. Do I know why she was mad? She told me much later after the trip but to this day, 6 months later, I still don’t get it. Some things are just too hard for me. Sometimes, there is just no solution.

Yet the trip was also the highest point in my life for many reasons. It was such an unbelievable trip – it was like climbing Mt Everest for me. I didn’t write enough about it. (Patagonia). It is not so much what we did but what we experienced together. Traveling with friends indeed is so different from traveling alone. I am not exaggerating. I hope to do more of it and if the same person if fate allows. It is a hard call if I know what was going to happen beforehand, would I still go? I don’t know.

Then there was one month (6 weeks) of no activities. I don’t think I wrote much about it. It was one of the worse depression in my life. I really did not train seriously until the end of January (week1). At the time too, my finance situation was near melt down. For the first time in my life, I was wondering if I have enough to pay my bill and where I can get food. I was worry that money wouldn’t come in for my rent and that the check would bounce! However, last three months I have been better at controling of my use of money and finally some breathing room before this coronavirus hit. There were several entries I wrote about no money to sign up for races! That’s big when I had to give up on running in a race.

Luckily. I did run in one race in Carlsbad, California CarlsbadMarathon. It is a beautiful place. I went there for my cousin’s wedding and was able to do a race the next day. My outlook regarding life improved. During the trip, my friend who I went to Chile with, also called – we finally spoke to each other after 3 months (seriously I didn’t know).

Most of the time after that was training and more training. I was supposedly to train for a series of ultras and marathons I would be doing starting next week to the beginning of summer (previous race plan). Many of these races won’t be happening any more. The DC Rock-n-Roll and the Blue Ridge Marathon are canceled. It was funny when I planned 5-6 months ou t, no one could imagine it would turn out like this. I did couple overnight training trips for the Laurel race (LH1, LH2, and LH3/4). Both times were in snow. Interesting learning experience.

Ran my last utra before the corona COVID-19 thing got serious (SenecaCreek). I thought I wrote a report on the race, but didn’t. It was briefly referenced in my weekly run su mmary. I didn’t treat the ultra as a race but more like a weekend long run, hence no race report. Actually, the race was quite good. I should do a serious report on it.

Finally, I did some planning here and there. Nothing too concrete. I did some ‘preaching’ to myself to motivate me. I think they are fun to read. I usually borrow my pastor’s material. I call them Faith-running, that is to turn my belief and apply them to running. (transformation, thoughts, vision/goals, and resolve )

Am I on track with my goals? who knows. I wish I have a big master plan. I am more of living from day to day, month to month and year to year. Planning isn’t my strong suit.

I do try to run a marathon in all fifty states (I have done 8 so far). I am only limited by time and money. I hope too in a few years to run across the US continent (I haven’t written about this). It is a bit ambitious and requires careful planning. I want to hike the whole Appalachian Trail too (thru-hike), and that will be in a few years. My progression into longer and longer races is going on well. I haven’t run a 100 miler yet, and looking to do one either at the end of this year or the next. I have a huge race calendar on a Google spreadsheet and have been ticking off a race here and there. My goal is to do what I can do when I still have strength. It is getting harder each year at my age (true!). Aging is a reality. So I hike, run, and push myself to the max, because someday, I won’t be able to do at the level I can do at the moment.

What’s next? I hope the coronavirus won’t cause more cancelations of my races. Couple of my races in May an June are on the fence. Of course the Laurel race (70.5 mile race) in June will be my biggest race of the year. The next report will cover it if it ever take place plus some virtual runs I will be doing meanwhile.

*meta: I changed my numbering system. 20.7.250 means 20 for 2020 the year, 7 is the 7th review since the beginning when I started writing a monthly/quarterly review, and 250 is my date numbering from day 1. It goes from the significant to less significant. The day numbering usually get lost because we are not that good at counting beyond 10. Soon too the number of reviews will get too big to be meaningful. But the year, that is something fun and our brain can zero in.

Why adding in the date? It makes it looks mysterious. It is like a software version triplet.

health life running

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!


19.5 Review

Day 150 Summer / review no 5

[Last] month review (May) can be found here. Every time I write this, I feel like doing a project, except I have no idea what I am doing. I just feel it is right to write a report.

This month/quarter had me twisted in a knot but finally everything sorted out. Well kind of.

I ran couple of races. York Marathon in Pennsylvania and Eastern Divide (EDU) in Roanoke VA. And I thought, I was exhausted from those. I probably were.

The big news was my doctor told me I have high cholesterol. I took the news like I was about to die. I started fasting. No more eating out, no more candy, no more soda. I started to lower my calorie intake. I fasted from food at least once a week, on every Monday and on first of every month. My friend taught me to cook. I wanted to eat healthier. I was handling fine. At least I thought so. It went on for about three weeks, until I began to get weak, very weak.

I didn’t do less though. I kept to my running and camping. We went to Laurel Highland and I had a blast. It was one of those places I wanted to go for a long time.

I got so weak though soon I was not able to run nor hike. People in my running group when they saw me begged me to go home. I persisted but soon I had to give into my body. I was no longer could run a four miler. Then even two milers were like running a marathon.

I went to see the doctor, luckily he was quick to identify that I got Lyme disease. I was put on antibiotic and finally as of couple days ago, I finished the treatment. I regained my strength just in time for me to do the Jack&Jill marathon two weekends ago.

I pretty much back to where I was, being strong again. Granted with almost two months off from my training, there are a lot to catch up. I canceled the 40 miler ultra for August. I am now focus on my September and October marathons. The next report will probably be about those races.

I felt I have come a full circle. The training plan I had for the summer, well they had to be adjusted. It was pretty much toasted. Luckily not too many things were affected. I learned definitely where my limit is. If the body refuses to move, there really not a lot of way to force myself to do anything. I always believe mind over the body, but that only applies for short duration like during a race. It is much much harder to do it during a long illness. I got a taste of being not able to run. Really really not able to run at all when I was seemingly healthy (well I thought so was healthy at the time). I now believe people when they say they can’t run, they really can’t run. Now at least I got back a body that can.

Finally, I can begin my summer training. It is not too late.